Rights and Duties of UN States

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The Genesis of the Resolution

I can't claim credit for a lot of this material. The original draft of this document was a very lightly adapted copy of an early draft from the real world United Nations, called "Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States." It started with 14 articles, including a significant one on human rights and quite a bit more on the topic of war.


In this topic, several nations provided input and suggestions over a three day period. My especial thanks go to Greenspoint, Monocia, Nibbleton, Heru Ur, New Eriu, and Oppressed Possums, for their input and assistance. We ended up stripping away the human rights bit and adapting it more to the world of NationStates. Shortly afterwards, I completely rewrote the descriptive bit at the top (removing at least four "Whereas" statements, and updated the entire section on War to adapt to the fact that NationStates wars are fought only by mutual agreement. I rearranged it into the three relevant sections, and posted the final version.


Later that evening, I submitted the reformatted proposal, and posted this topic. Unfortunately, I made a strategic blunder in timing and campaigning, and it died with a respectable but unsatisfactory number of approvals. Foolishly, I repeated the mistake for the second pass, and it too died with perhaps double the approvals of the first attempt. But the third time, we'll make it happen, by golly. Thanks to some timely aid from Mikitivity (and the North Pacific forums), the nations of Nibbleton and NewTexas, and any number of encouraging forum posts and telegrams; we managed to get the word out. Thanks also to Francos Spain, who pointed out that I misspelled the word proper grammer in my campaign telegram. Dang it.

Frisbeeteria in the UN Forum

Text of the Resolution

Rights and Duties of UN States
A resolution to restrict political freedoms in the interest of law and order.

Category: Political Stability Strength: Significant Proposed By: Frisbeeteria

UN membership in NationStates is a choice, not a requirement. Those of us who chose to participate have certain responsibilities to ourselves, each other, and the entire NationStates community. At the same time, we as NationStates have certain rights and responsibilities that we do not willingly give up when we chose to join the UN. It is therefore vital to clearly delineate what constitutes sovereign law versus UN sanctioned international law. This document will attempt to enumerate those most basic of rights, as they exist within and as defined by the United Nations of NationStates.

A Declaration on Rights and Duties of UN States

Section I

The Principle of National Sovereignty:

Article 1

§ Every UN Member State has the right to independence and hence to exercise freely, without dictation by any other NationState, all its legal powers, including the choice of its own form of government.

Article 2

§ Every UN Member State has the right to exercise jurisdiction over its territory and over all persons and things therein, subject to the immunities recognized by international law.

Article 3

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to refrain from unrequested intervention in the internal or external economic, political, religious, and social affairs of any other NationState, subject to the immunities recognized by international law.

Section II

The Art of War:

Article 4

§ Every UN Member State has the right of individual or collective self-defense against armed attack.

Article 5

§ War in the World of NationStates is defined as a consensual act between two or more NationStates. Any and all NationStates may, at their discretion, respond to declarations of war on NationStates who wish to avoid war. The recommended method is a barrage of I.G.N.O.R.E. Cannons.

Article 6

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to refrain from fomenting civil strife in the territory of another NationState, and to prevent the organization within its territory of activities calculated to foment such civil strife.

Article 7

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to refrain from giving assistance to any NationState which is acting in violation of Article 5, or against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

Article 8

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to refrain from recognizing any territorial acquisition by another NationState acting in violation of Article 5.

Section III:

The Role of the United Nations:

Article 9

§ Every UN Member State has the right to equality in law with every other UN Member State.

Article 10

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to carry out in good faith its obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law, and it may not invoke provisions in its constitution or its laws as an excuse for failure to perform this duty.

Article 11

§ Every UN Member State has the duty to conduct its relations with other NationStates in accordance with international law and with the principle that the sovereignty of each UN Member State is subject to the supremacy of international law.

Votes For: 15,083
Votes Against: 3,395
Implemented: Tue Feb 24 2004


An Appeal in Defense of Defense

Originally Posted by Lord Evif of Goobergunchia 
As somebody who has had a resolution adopted by this body, I would recommend that the delegate from Frisbeetaria ignore their telegrams and be prepared for a lot of facile argumentation when their resolution reaches the floor.

"Lord Evif, Delegates, Members, and Guests.

Thank you for your warm words. Frisbeeteria is delighted with the respect and lauds this yet un-passed proposal is garnering. Still, we are not satisfied.

We have no intention or desire to avoid a floor fight on this resolution. In fact, we relish the thought as both an intellectual challenge and a worthy debate. In that spirit, we are hoping to set an example to all who would propose resolutions before this august body.

If you are unwilling to stand at this podium, proposal at hand, as angry UN members shout questions and demand answers, then why are you wasting our time proposing them? This proposal started as an adaptation, went through a revision committee, was submitted and failed twice before finally passing, and now stands on the threshold of passage. Are Frisbeeterians proud of this accomplishment? Of course we are! How can we do other than stand FOR this proposal against all who would oppose it?

Lord Evif says this is a rare occurrence. I would ask, "Why?" Every proposal should be a labour of idealistic fervency; firmly and totally supported by its authors. Is this some child's game, that we throw scribbled notes on a page, toss them in front of these fine Members, and slip away into the night? I say thee, "Nay".

Let this be the start of a New Era for the UN. Let idealists gather in smaller rooms and collaborate on shared concepts. Let the committees meet for a day, a week, or a month; until the rough edges are filed away and the major objections answered. We are seeing this already, in studies of weapons, courts, and the use of space. There is ample room and credit for all who are willing to devote their time and effort to the success of their ideals.

Perhaps when the UN demonstrates that it has put childish practices behind it, the nations who have chosen to shun this body may in fact return to these halls. Share this dream with me, with Frisbeeteria, and with the world of NationStates.

I thank you for your time, and attention.

MJ Donovan, CEO, The Conglomerated Oligarchy of Frisbeeterian Corporate States

Discussions on Rights and Duties of UN States

From the UN debate

On Sovereignty

Originally Posted by A Regional Delegate 
Sorry, but I'm opposed to national sovereignty proposals. They would take a lot of fun and intrigue out of the UN, whose purpose is precisely to be a game of national sovereignty limitations, if passed.

I appreciate your statement, and understand fully if you chose to not support it. Still, as a United Nations Regional Delegate, I'd still like your approval so that the rest of your Region (and others) could have the opportunity to vote. I've taken the position that I'll approve well-written proposals even if I personally oppose them, as the approval process isn't voting on the merits of the bill, but rather of the merits of *debating* the bill.

I'd like to think that I left plenty of room for precisely the sorts of intrigues that make NS fun, primarily in Articles 2, 3, and 10. While this is an adaptation of a document from the RL UN, I tried very hard to leave it open-ended. The statements on War provide ample opportunity for role-play scenarios, and "The Role of the United Nations" section makes it quite clear that the rules of the UN do indeed apply to all members. This is nothing new - the NationStates UN has a mandatory effect on its member nations.

This really isn't a National Sovereignty proposal, even though at first glance it might appear to be one. It's my opinion that this proposal isn't adding anything inhibiting to the world of NationStates. It is designed to state in clear and unambiguous language where the roles of the State and the Role of the UN intertwine. It's my hope that when passed it can be used as a cornerstone for other nations to build new proposals upon. It's also my hope that you'll help me in this quest.

Article 1 says nobody can dictate my form of government, but that last resolution changed me from an Inoffensive Centrist Democracy to a Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. That's Sovereignty manipulation by the UN!

Nope. It changed your government description. Your government is what YOU define it as. Frisbeeteria shows up as a Left-Leaning College State, but we're actually a Corporate Oligarchy with strong libertarian values. We just look like a college state from the outside.

What are those legal powers anyway. You never bothered to define them, now did you?

Nope. That's your job. It's your country, you decide what's legal. Of course you're also bound by Articles 2, 3, 10, and 11, which clearly say what you're not allowed to legislate, plus you may have treaty obligations that came from outside the UN. The UN doesn't care about those outside obligations, but your treaty partners might. I'd advise not legislating yourself into a corner there.

On Immunities

What does "subject to the immunities recognized by international law" actually mean? Again with the undefined terms.

That which is not compulsory or prohibited by passed UN resolutions is yours to decide. Lots of people have found loopholes in prior resolutions and are using them already. That's up to you.

On the Art of War

Originally Posted by Grand Atoll 
Your proposal speaks of "The Art of War." This presupposes that war can be a work of art; however, war is killing people and destroying things. There is nothing artistic about killing people and destroying things. We of the Grand Atoll suggest "The Rules of War."
art 1. a fine skill that has resulted from natural ability, practice, or study.

Actually, Grand Atoll, the title The Art Of War was very deliberately chosen as a tribute to the Chinese philosopher/general, Sun Tzu. He was not describing war as being artistic, but rather was defining the fact that the rules of war are not in fact strictly codified, but rather must be interpreted according to the situation. Thus, War is Art rather than Science. If you read the book carefully, you will see that the most effective Art of War is choosing when not to fight.

Given that the Art of War entirely applies to war as fought in the NationStates, I'm afraid I'll have to decline this change.

On War in NationStates

Originally Posted by Estebanotopia 
i don't quite understand what article five is actually saying
Originally Posted by Mikitivity 
This is a good question and we'd be interested in hearing Frisbeeteria's intent as well.

Article 5 isn't so much defining the state of war as acknowledging the way wars are fought among NationStates. As you are all doubtless aware, wars between nations are generally declared in the arena of International Incidents, not far from this very building, in fact.

If (to borrow your national identities for a moment) Estebanotopia declares war on Mikitivity in the halls of the II, using the standard short form declaration, it would sound something like this: I n00k j00 with one million billion nooks.

Mikitivity has two real options. The first would be to answer the challenge with, Oh yeah? I n00k J00 right back. J00 r PWNED! War is declared and accepted, and the combat begins. The UN plays no role.

The second option would be for Mikitivity to turn their backs and walk from the hall. This begins the automatic sequence for launching the Mark IV IGNORE Cannon, standard issue to all nations, as you are surely aware. For that matter, Mikitivity might not even BE in the halls of the II, in which case the default mode of their IGNORE Cannon is "always on".

Should Estebanotopia persist with his attacks, UN members (in good standing) would be encouraged to add their own national IGNORE Cannon to the battle. As the IGNORE Cannon is the only true shield from n00ks and other weapons of mass distraction, Estebanotopia's attack is nullified.

Every UN Member State has the duty to refrain from fomenting civil strife in the territory of another NationState. : Hey, I'm a role-player, and that's what I do best. Stir 'em up and piss 'em off. You telling me I can't do that any more?

We're telling you that you shouldn't be doing that, that you have a Duty not to do that. Which isn't going to stop you from doing that, or from them retaliating by declaring war on your sorry butt. See Article 5, 7 and 8.

Frisbeeteria would like to point out that the UN role in War is to mediate and assist in Nation to Nation combat, as required under the Rules of War. The UN does NOT play a role in Regional Combat. Thanks to the fleets of automated helicopters that transport nations intact from Region to Region, there is no impact on national or international sovereignty. The nation remains intact, and thus immune to threats to sovereignty.

Regional combat is therefore subject only to transnational defense pacts, alliances, and similar treaties and organizations. The UN does not have the resources to act as coordinator for all the tens of thousands of nations, but fully expects its member nations to deal with the impact of those sorts of combat on their own.

There is one last recourse: a direct appeal to The Most Glorious Deity of your choice. Miracles have been known to happen, even in the most Neutered of cases. A bit of Divine Cogitation can indeed invoke a Tactical State of Grace.

On the Role of the UN

Article 9 talks about "the right to equality in law with every other UN Member State". What about Regional Delegates? They get a bunch of extra votes. That's hardly legal, now is it?

Equality in Law is not synonymous with equality in representation. The laws passed by the UN are applied equally to each member nation, regardless of its Delegate status. In theory, the representation issue is also equal – but it's gonna take a whole bunch of equality to unseat a Pacific Delegate from their Delegacies. Nothing stops you from finding a few like-minded friends to run off and found your own region, passing the Delegacy around on some regular basis. Are you going to have 500 votes? Not unless you've got a LOT of friends.

On Game Mechanics

Originally Posted by A Concerned Nation 
it does rather smack of Game Mechanics

I'm curious about this statement, though. I'm one of the most ardent haters of game mechanics proposals, and worked *very* hard to keep even a hint of GM out of this proposal. In fact, when you boil down the rhetoric of the proposal, all it does is define the actual rules of the game:

  • Articles 1-3 - only you can play your nation's issues
  • Articles 4-8 - war is roleplay
  • Articles 9-11 - UN resolutions are binding on UN members
One last thing: "What's the deal with the squiggly bit? ( § )" First, I've seen it in some legal documents somewhere. No idea what it means, except to be a legal bullet point. Second, if you look over the Passed UN Resolutions list, you'll notice that all line breaks gets removed when a proposal becomes a Resolution. I was just thinking ahead by including a formatting divider.

&emdash;Frisbeeteria, various posts in the UN Forum

Additional Materials