Governments must give the UN a chance to do its job without interference, says Hans von Sponeck, who in 2000 resigned in protest from his post as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. Speaking to the United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UNA) von Sponeck said: "The public has the right to expect that parliaments ensure that governments honour and respect the independence of the United Nations. It is only then that the United Nations can carry out its mission for peace, justice and freedom for all." Groups supporting the Lobby include the Catholic Agency for Development, Christian CND, Catholic Institute for International Relations, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi and Religious Society of Friends. Mr von Sponeck was speaking ahead of the Eighth Annual Lobby of Parliament, which aims for a greater alignment of UK foreign policy with the principles of the UN. Organised by UNA, it will take place at Portcullis House, in the House of Commons Annex, next Tuesday, 16 March, between 1:30 and 5:30. Lobby 2004 will focus on three goals: * increasing democratic input to UK foreign policy * giving the developing world a greater voice in global decision-making * taking definitive steps towards global nuclear disarmament "Were the UK to demand respect for the rule of international law," said Dennis Halliday, von Sponeck's predecessor, "all three of [the Lobby's] policy issues would be addressed." Speakers at Lobby 2004 include Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development Gareth Thomas; Deputy-Mayor for London Jenny Jones; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Scilla Elworthy; War on Want Executive Director Louise Richards; and Rebecca Johnson, an expert in disarmament issues and senior advisor to Hans Blix. For more information please visit the UNA website at www.una-uk.org. Or call Veronica Lie on 020 7930 2931, e-mail email@example.com.
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