Spring 2003

Resolution of the Executive Committee of the British Columbia Teachers Federation January 30, 2003

  1. That the BCTF express opposition to any pre-emptive military action by any nation against Iraq.

  2. That the BCTF call upon the Government of Canada to:

    a. seek to eliminate the root causes of conflict and find solutions by peaceful means for the common good of all;

    b. reject a military approach to problem solving conflicts between states;

    c. work with all countries, through the United Nations, to reduce and eliminate "weapons of mass destruction."

Supporting Statement

The UN General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/39/159:
"Demands that all States take no actions aimed at military intervention and occupation, forcible change in or undermining of the socio-political system of States, destabilization and overthrow of their Governments and, in particular, initiate no military action to that end under any pretext whatsoever and cease forthwith any such action already in progress." Unilateral, preemptive military action by the United States or any nation without a legally valid United Nations Security Council resolution would violate Articles 2 and 51 of the United Nations Charter and international customary law. Such action would thus constitute "the supreme international crime" according to the principles laid down by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

The Security Council is bound to act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter to maintain international peace and can authorize the use of limited force only when:

there exists a proven threat to international peace and security; and all peaceful means have failed to contain the identified threat; and use of force is necessary, proportionate to the threat and is in the common interest.

Canada's National Defence Act, R.S. 1985, C. N-5 stipulates that Canada may engage in military action in the event that Canada or a NATO ally is attacked or pursuant to an action taken under the UN Charter.

A further war in Iraq would result in extensive death, injury and suffering to the Iraqi people.

The United Nations declared this decade, 2000-2010 as the "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World" (UN Declaration 53/25, November 10, 1998), urging all people and all levels of government to seek non-violent approaches to conflict resolution and wider education about international law and alternatives to war.

To date many cities in North America have passed resolutions expressing opposition to use of military force to compel a "regime change" in Iraq, including Washington, D.C., Seattle, Washington, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Santa Cruz, California, Ithaca, New York, Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Haven, Connecticut, Oakland, California, Ann Arbor, Michigan and others. It is anticipated that the City of Vancouver will do likewise.

Spring 2003

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Lesson Plans and Teaching Ideas

Suggested Readings for Teachers and Students

Background Documents and Related Materials

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Links About the War

Teacher Groups Against the War

Teacher Resolutions Against the War