Liberal Democrats call for greater UN powers

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The Independent Online
THE UNITED Nations should have the power to override national sovereignty in pursuit of peace, human rights and environmental concerns, the Liberal Democrats said yesterday.

In a discussion document, Beyond the Nation State, to be presented to this month's annual conference, the party called for the creation of new rules under which the UN would be 'justified in challenging the national sovereignty of member states'.

Areas in which UN intervention could be prompted include 'gross and persistent denial of the provisions of the UN Declaration of Human Rights; denial of the right of peaceful co-existence of nations and communities; and widespread and lasting damage to the global and regional environment.'

The document said the forms of intervention could include 'selective trade constraints, sanctions, restrictions on the provision of investment capital, and, in the last resort, military intervention'.

Sir David Steel, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, told a Westminster press conference that he believed the UN should have 'controlling interest over what goes on around the globe'.

Military intervention, to guarantee implementation of UN rules, would be undertaken by forces drawn from a permanent pool of national peace enforcement units, and Sir David added: 'If you had this sort of world order in place, then you would not be doing so much fire-fighting; you'd be doing much more fire prevention.'

The document proposed the creation of an environmental 'Geneva Convention' that would outlaw deliberate acts of environmental destruction, and improved funding for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Audit Beyond the Nation State; Liberal Democrat Publications; 8 Fordington Green, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1GB; pounds 4.25.