Methodist Church voices support for UN ahead of anniversary

The United Nations will celebrate the 58thanniversary of its inception this Sunday 24thOctober.

The UN has been under great scrutiny since the beginning of theIraq war, but Steve Hucklesby, Methodist Church Secretary forInternational Affairs, said:

"We need the UN today as much as ever. In 1946 the first GeneralAssembly of the UN was held in Methodist Central Hall Westminster.The aims of the UN arise from faith in equal rights for men andwomen and nations large and small. It is committed to maintaininternational peace and security and establish the conditions underwhich justice can be exercised.

Today's conflicts are more complex than ever and the UN has notstood still.  The UN is not without criticism but in today'sworld only an international body such as the UN can hope to commandthe respect of diverse cultures, languages groups and faithcommunities. It needs the support and respect of all to be able towork effectively.

We are concerned that the UK defence White Paper 'DeliveringSecurity in a Changing World' published in December 2003, makes toolittle reference to the UN.  We are concerned too about theexpressed need for the flexibility to build 'coalitions of thewilling' to deal with specific threats when necessary.  Suchcoalitions should not be allowed to weaken the peace-keepingmandate of the UN and must be in harmony with the spirit as well asthe letter of international law."

Martin Dent, Chairman of Religious Advisory Committee of the UN,said recently: "If disunity and the 'scourge of war' are to bedefeated, the principles and potential of the UN need active andinformed support. We believe, therefore, that religious communitieshave a role to play in ensuring that the governments of UNmember-states act in good faith in meeting their obligations underthe UN Charter in matters of war and peace, disarmament, humanrights, economic and social justice, environmental protection andall aspects of multilateral co-operation."