Tag Archives: united nations

UN Security Council resolution 2249 – historic moment of international unity

As a party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Liberal Party before it, have always been very strong supporters of the United Nations. The 1951 Liberal Party manifesto (admittedly not one which met with unalloyed electoral acclaim) stated in a section entitled “World peace through law”:

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Tim Farron responds to UN resolution

Tim Farron has commented on the passing of the UN Resolution 2249, which had the UN Security Council recognise that

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,

Tim said:

I warmly welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. The fact that Russia did not use its veto is an important first step towards creating the broad coalition that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for as the only effective context for considering proposals for military action.

The UK should now use all its diplomatic skills to support the efforts being made in Vienna to assemble an anti-ISIL coalition including Russia, Turkey, Iran and other key states in the region.

At the same time, the Prime Minister must address the questions raised in the Foreign Affairs Committee Report when he presents to parliament the long-term strategy for any military action in Syria. That must include the planning for post-ISIL Syria, which has so far been absent amid the calls for UK planes to be engaged in strikes.

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The UK and the EU have a chance to stand up for drug policy reform


Nick Clegg made a big announcement on Thursday 1st October that has as yet gone unreported on LDV – he’s going on a jolly around Europe. Well no, not quite. He’s actually going on a tour of the EU to try to convince its leaders to stand together on the subject of international drug policy reform. Nothing like a challenge, eh Nick? But this is a serious issue, and at an absolutely crucial time. In April next year, the UN General Assembly will be holding a Special Session (UNGASS) to debate how to approach global drug policy over the next ten years and beyond, at a point where different parts of the world are diverging ever more rapidly on the issue of how to tackle the problems associated with drug use.

If the EU stands together united at UNGASS in calling for certain reforms to the UN conventions, and I sincerely hope Nick succeeds with his mission and it does, it has a much greater chance of making a positive impact. But what reforms can the EU agree to stand on? At one end countries like France and Sweden do not endorse any kind of change to their (relatively) strict drug laws, whereas countries like the Netherlands and Portugal have lead the way on liberal, evidence-based drug reforms for years. In the middle we have countries moving both ways too, with both Germany and Italy making noises about reforming their cannabis policies, Ireland voicing its support for drug decriminalisation and supervised injecting rooms and the the UK… well the less said about that the better. In fact, it has been noted that the EU can be seen as a near-perfect experiment for comparing the efficacy of a spectrum of subtly varied drug policies on relatively similar populations.

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Opinion: Pressing Israel

Six months ago Israel was engaged in action which Nick Clegg described as ‘deliberately disproportionate’, killing over 2000 Palestinians – many of them women and children – and the lives of 70 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

During the war Nick said that nothing would be solved without talking.  And now’s a good time to remind Israel’s PM Benyamin Netanyahu about that, especially given events since then.

Like Britain, Israel will have elections, in March.  The parties are trying to outdo each other on security.  Recently the right-wing foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable.”  With views like that, the likelihood of negotiations being restarted – let alone a peace deal being achieved – is extremely remote.

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Opinion: A step forward in reforming the UN

United Nations complexWe Liberal Democrats do like a challenge. From taking on Labour/Conservatives in entrenched local authorities to being the smaller party in an austerity coalition, we’ve fought the good fight for liberal values and policies.

Whatever the difficulties in national and local politics, international issues are often more intractable. Conflicts and disputes, whether frozen, like Northern Cyprus, or persistently violent, like Israel/Palestine, linger on for decades. These different problems require different solutions, but I do think that better global governance would help things along.

The UN security council is still dominated by …

photo by:
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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women

New york police  Some rights reserved by Amiga-Commodore Development Minister Lynne Featherstone spent two days in New York earlier this week at the United Nation’s annual Commission on the Status of Women. She posted a series of blogs from the Big Apple. Here are some highlights.

Day One:

I’ll be attending a whole load of events as well as talking to my counterparts from around the world to ensure the CSW negotiations lead to a

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “The world’s children deserve our protection”

This week Nick reflects on two speeches in two weeks: the first to the party’s conference in Glasgow, the second to the UN general assembly. In one he announced free school lunches for the youngest children in English schools; in the other he announced an extra £100m of aid to help Syrian refugees. As Nick says, “We all hate the idea of a child going hungry. Be they a refugee on the borders of Syria, or the neglected child of a troubled family in an inner city: the world’s children deserve our protection.” You can read the letter in full, below…

libdem letter from nick clegg

Last week, I was at our party conference in Glasgow. This week I’m writing to you on a flight back from the UN in New York, where I spoke at the General Assembly and discussed Syria, Iran UK and arms control.

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Clegg pushes for transatlantic trade deal

Container Ship tradeWhen, just over a week ago, conference overwhelmingly backed motion F19, “Strengthening the UK Economy” (pdf), it voted for our party to lead the way on free trade, thanks to the following addition (in which I played a small role), which was “drafted into” the motion:

8. Increase trading opportunities by working in the EU to ensure that the success of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, doing everything possible to revive the World Trade Organisation led Doha Development Round and further integrating the EU services market.

The party’s leadership …

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Jeremy Browne MP writes… Confronting violence against women

Since the General Election, crime across England and Wales has fallen by 10%. It is now at its lowest level since the official crime survey began over thirty years ago. This is important news, and as Minister for Crime Prevention, it is my job to scrutinise these trends and to help them continue.

But amidst this positive news we must not lose sight of those statistics and stories which show we have a long way still to go. Violence against women and girls is one of those areas.

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LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – Syria shows the lessons of Libya still unlearnt

Paddy Ashdown writes in the Times today about Syria. He was, of course, the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia, so is ideally placed to comment on western diplomacy in the face of tyranny.

Megaphone diplomacy has failed. The West must let Turkey lead a relief operation.

The slaughter of the innocents in Syria is, of course, horrific, barbaric, shocking, terrifying medieval, bestial — choose your own adjective; they’ve all been used — some many times over. In our attempts to camouflage impotence we are now devaluing hyperbole.

But it is not sufficient. With the West’s moral force in tatters after the blunders

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Opinion: If Cameron won’t attend Rio+20 then Clegg should

The Rio ‘Earth’ Summit in 1992 was the “world’s biggest ever political gathering” with 108 heads of state or government. Its successes and failures on the environment and development continue to shape those debates.

In June, Rio de Janeiro will host the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a. Rio+20. A very early draft document suggests it will cover a wide range of topics, including access to food, water and energy; marine litter and pollution; eliminating “market distorting and environmentally harmful subsidies including those on fossil fuels, agriculture and fisheries” (I’ll believe it when I see …

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Opinion: How to tackle over-population for the sake of our planet

Monday, 31st October 2011, is ‘7 billion Day’, the day chosen by the UN to represent symbolically the world’s human population reaching 7,000,000,000.

In 1800, the world’s population was approximately 1 billion. We ‘achieved’ 2 billion in 1927, 3 billion in 1960, by 1999 it had doubled to 6 billion, and it has taken 12 years to reach 7 billion. By the middle of the century the best estimates are that it will be around 10 billion. (You can find the UN’s figures here.)

Medical advances and public health measures have led to much lower infant mortality and much greater longevity. …

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Jeremy Browne writes: World Day Against the Death Penalty

Jeremy Browne with Eastlea Amnesty Youth Group

Today I met with a group of students, activists and academics to mark the eighth anniversary of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, and the fourth anniversary of the European Day Against the Death Penalty.

It has been a longstanding policy for the UK to oppose the death penalty in any and all circumstances as a matter of principle. As an individual, as a Liberal Democrat and as a Minister, I have always worked hard …

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LibLink: Jeremy Browne and Nick Harvey on an International Arms Trade Treaty

Over at Comment is Free today, Jeremy Browne and Nick Harvey argue for the need for an international arms trade treaty, and that Britain must lead its creation:

On Monday the second round of negotiations to establish an international arms trade treaty (ATT) began at the United Nations headquarters in New York. These negotiations, and the need for better regulation of the arms trade, could not be timelier.

The courage displayed in the popular uprisings across the Middle East and north Africa over the last month has been fascinating and inspiring. But the shocking retaliatory brutality, especially of

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Kishwer Falkner writes… Libya: our common humanity crosses frontiers to protect those we do not know

As tyrannical regimes go, Libya is right there at the top and ranks alongside North Korea for the unpredictability of its ruler, the self-styled Colonel Muammar Gaddafy, who used to be referred to by Ronald Reagan as the Middle East’s ‘mad dog’.

Having given up nuclear weapons he is admittedly slightly better than Kim Jong-il, but we cannot know for sure that he has also given up chemical and biological weapons. In a country where tribal loyalties prevail and where the four main tribes occupy the main positions, Gaddafi’s own tribe occupies the top posts and much of his internal repression is carried out through a myriad of different state security institutions as well as a plethora of paramilitary units, recruited from abroad.

The country does not have a constitution, but is run by a revolutionary ruling council which has been in situ for 42 years and cannot be dismissed. There have been regular attempts at coups over this period, which have been ruthlessly put down and there are no evident pointers to a peaceful succession.

Gaddafi’s four sons have long been involved in jostling for the top position and foreign governments were betting on Saif al Islam (the second son) to take over the reins, as he was increasingly the acceptable face of the regime.

Saif al Islam al Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from LSE enticingly titled “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions”. He chairs the Human Rights Commission of Libya, and lest anyone doubt that he is therefore a soft touch, he was his father’s voice last weekend displaying a similar determination to stay in power through putting down the uprising till as he put it, the last man, the last woman, and the last bullet had been expended. He appears to be delivering on his pledge.

Several hundreds have died in the last few days, hospitals are overflowing and as a crackdown has started, anyone moving on the street is shot dead. Reports say that ambulances are also shot at to deter them from trying to save the injured. The air force has been mobilised to bomb civilian residential areas, and the reign of terror has started.

So what should be done now, that the country has descended into chaos?

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Nick Clegg’s speech at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is representing the UK at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals summit in New York.

Lib Dem blogger Jonathan Calder is also there, with an international group of bloggers put together by Oxfam to report on the summit. You can read his take here.

The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan writes fulsomely about Clegg’s diplomatic experience and linguistic skills here.

Meanwhile, here’s his speech:


It is an honour for me to address the General Assembly today for the first time as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
And it is a privilege …

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LibLink … Nick Clegg et al: An appeal for the victims of Gaza

Nick Clegg is a lead signatory for a letter in today’s Observer calling on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to abide by UN security council resolution 1860 and bring an end to the suffering of the people of Gaza. Here’s what it says:

One year on from Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government continues to imprison 1.5 million Palestinians and prevent the rebuilding of its shattered infrastructure.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza, described by the UN fact-finding mission as “collective punishment”, stops reconstruction materials and humanitarian aid from reaching those who so desperately require it.

As a result

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Opinion: Pull out our troops

It’s time that Liberal Democrats called for British troops to be pulled off the front line in Afghanistan. The justifications for their continuing presence vary with the day of the week and the desperation of the advocate.  I am not convinced by any of them.  I don’t know how we would recognise ‘success’ if it were to be claimed, and I don’t believe that our involvement is making the streets of Britain any safer.

Alone amongst the three party leaders Nick Clegg has voiced concerns not simply about shortages of helicopters (in the Great War the call was always for more …

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The Independent View: A solution – world government

As the world descends and travels into the catastrophic circles of economic chaos, globalisation seems vulnerable and suffering from nationalist rhetoric. With a growing centralised global economy, with major intuitions – such as the World Bank and IMF – is it time for the United Nations to overseas global economic and financial responsibility?

This is not a winsome notion, we are reaching the next geopolitical evolutionary steps for our civilisation and global federalism will eventually creep its way on to the international stage. Of course, the general public of the United States will be hostile to any bureaucratic institution that is …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJonathan Brown 30th Nov - 6:33pm
    @Expats - I'm well aware that the link included a caveat. I think anyone sensible venturing an opinion should do so with a multitude of...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 30th Nov - 6:24pm
    @ Thomas S - it might have come sooner for the parliamentary party, but it would have been a lesser disaster and by now we...
  • User Avatarexpats 30th Nov - 6:07pm
    Jonathan Brown......The link you post comes with the caveat......" Consequently, what follows should be seen as little more than informed speculation based on limited and...
  • User AvatarPeter Hellyer 30th Nov - 6:05pm
    @Jonathan, Yes - if we & allies extend our bombing of ISIS into Syria while Assad and Putin bomb other opposition elements (including other jihadis,...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 30th Nov - 5:57pm
    It's painfully ironic to hear Syrian community reps saying that ISIS should not be attacked because the west turned a blind eye to Assad's butchery...
  • User Avatarindigo 30th Nov - 5:48pm
    ISIS - What is the real threat? The real threat occurred when ISIS spun out of Western control. Let's have a frank conversation here. The...