Center for United Nations Constitutional Research

Center for United Nations Constitutional Research


Three of the founders of the new UN Constitutional Research think tank at the signing of the official documents establishing the Center for UN Constitutional Research at the Notabel notary offices in Brussels, October 13, 2016. (left to right) Daniel Schaubacher, Executive Director and President Shahr-Yar Sharei, Marjolijn Snippe.

BRUSSELS, Belgium – October 13, 2016 marks the formal establishment of The Center for UN Constitutional Research (CUNCR), founded by former DWF Board member Dr. Shahr-Yar Sharei. The CUNCR, located in Brussels, is an independent think tank whose mission is to provide research and recommendations concerning the Charter and the structure of the United Nations. The aim of CUNCR will be to achieve the Charter preamble ‘We the peoples’ through democratization, and render the UN more effective in controlling conflicts, preserving our planet Earth and ensuring the well-being of humankind and life. 

The CUNCR will be an important resource for The Promise of San Franciscowhich is a movement launched by DWF for a review of the UN Charter which is legally required by the Charter itself, but never carried out.

The Charter’s flaws have prevented the UN from ending war or resolving other serious global problems.  DWF Board members Dr. Bob Hanson, Dr. Roger Kotila, and Dr. John Sutter are founding members of CUNCR from the USA, while other members are from Europe and the Middle East.  

NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.

Taking Private Citizen Diplomacy to a New Level, From Russia to the United Nations

Taking Private Citizen Diplomacy to a New Level, From Russia to the United Nations

DWF with NGO reps in Crimea

CCI representatives meeting with local government and NGO representatives in Simferopol, Crimea.

By Roger Kotila
DWF Vice President

National governments and the United Nations stumble along, generally unable to make the world a safer and better place to live.  The Middle East, for example, has become a cauldron of war and chaos causing a refugee crisis in Europe, and bringing with it ever more terrorism. 

US/NATO appears to be provoking Russia at its European border raising concerns that a military conflict might erupt, perhaps even nuclear war.  Crimea and Ukraine are also geopolitical hotspots.  The Western press appears to be adding fuel to the fire by demonizing Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin. 

Private citizens have taken notice with a sense of alarm.  One group of American citizens, Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) takes action to reduce tensions with Russia by directly meeting with ordinary citizens in Russia.  Democratic World Federalists (DWF) goes to Brussels, capitol of the European Union, to discuss with European federalists a plan to instigate UN Charter review in order to fix the UN so it can do its job. 

The San Francisco Promise now underway

With a vision for a peaceful, just and sustainable world, DWF based in San Francisco has launched a campaign to demand a review of the UN Charter and make good the promise that was made to the nations that signed the Charter in 1945, but was never honored.   

The UN, although it does many good things, is unable to do one of its primary jobs–ending war and eliminating nuclear weapons.  One reason for its failure is the Charter itself, written over 70 years ago but with fatal flaws, such as being profoundly undemocratic and lacking enforceable world law.    

A contingent of world federalists from Canada and the US went to Brussels with a mission to develop support for a review of the UN Charter–dubbed “The San Francisco Promise.”  

A number of meetings were arranged to discuss UN Charter Review with European federalists who work closely with the EU and the European Parliament.  

Opening the door to a safe and secure world

Because the UN is not a democratic world federation and lacks a proper constitution, the UN could not prevent the regime change invasions that caused the wars in the first place.  Europe and the US are now victims of their own making– vulnerable to the blowback from the military invasions in the Middle East which have resulted in the refugee crisis in Europe, and increased acts of terrorism in the West. 

UN Charter review could be a key means to open the door to a safe and secure world for all.  For example, because it lacks a proper governing structure, the UN has been unable to prevent the wars for regime change launched by US/NATO which have devastated Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and made Ukraine and Crimea targets of contention.   

DWF with Loan Bucuras in Brussels

Our contingent meets with Mr. Ioan Bucuras, Secretary General of Young European Federalists. Left to right: Roger Kotila, Vivian Davidson, Bob Hanson, Ioan Bucuras, Shahr-Yar Sharei.

Citizen diplomats to Crimea and Russia

Nation to nation friendship exchanges between private citizen diplomats can be an important vehicle both to reduce tensions, and for fact-finding. CCI leads the way in this type of peace activism. 

Twenty American citizen diplomats under the auspices of the Center for Citizen Initiatives traveled to Russia to meet with ordinary Russians in 5 different cities.  The purpose?  A friendship exchange to reduce tensions, and for fact-finding because Western mainstream media appears to paint a false picture of Russia, Crimea, and Russian leaders.  

Rather than take establishment press at its word that Russia is bad and the “aggressor” in places like Crimea, CCI went to Crimea, a center of contention between the United States and Russia. Time and time again western media claims that Russia “took over” Crimea against its will–a Russian “land grab.”  

Is Western media falsely making Russia an enemy?

But CCI President Sharon Tennison felt that the media’s negative portrait of Russia was wrong.  Tennison is uniquely qualified when it comes to Russia, having made “hundreds of trips” to Russia over the last 33 years.  

She is alarmed that Western media falsely labels Russia and President Vladimir Putin as “enemies” of America.   Demonization leads to military build-ups, and could result in nuclear war.

As Tennison suspected, CCI’s findings in Crimea differed markedly from the negative picture presented by media.  The majority of Crimeans themselves do not see Russia as the villain;  they prefer Russia and want to stay out of the grasp of Ukraine.    

For the world community nuclear war is not acceptable, and citizens are not waiting for the politicians to make the changes that will be required if the world is to be safe.

CCI’s website includes two insightful articles by retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright who warns us about slanted media reporting, and who also describes how Russians compare themselves to Americans.    

A new level of citizen diplomacy aims for a “new UN”

Democratic World Federalists are taking private citizen diplomacy to an entirely new level with a campaign whose goal it is to create a popular and political demand for fundamental changes to the UN itself. 

While CCI’s citizen diplomacy works on a nation to nation level, DWF looks to impact all 193 nations by working towards global system change — a “new UN” which can benefit all nations and peoples.  

History of “The San Francisco Promise”

It is well known by world federalists that the failed UN Charter has been holding back the UN from doing its primary job — ending war.

It is not well known that a number of nations objected to the undemocratic design of the Charter at the original time of its signing in 1945 in San Francisco, or that it was promised that a review would be held in ten years, a review that has never happened. 

The door to the possibility of a “new UN” has opened by the findings of a former DWF Board member Shahr-Yar Sharei whose doctoral research in international law uncovered the fact that a Charter review is legally required by the UN.

Making good on “The San Francisco Promise”

Through The San Francisco Promise, concerned citizens from the Bay Area and nationwide are invited to become members of DWF. 

The citizen demand for Charter review may spark an uprising in the UN General Assembly which has long played second fiddle at the UN — treated as second class citizens without a meaningful vote in global affairs. 

Citizen diplomats are calling for a World Parliament.  Earth Federation activists are lobbying for the outdated and fatally flawed UN Charter to be replaced by the Earth Constitution (aka, Constitution for the Federation of Earth).

It is time for the UN General Assembly to step up, the undemocratic UN Security Council to step down, and for a “new UN” to emerge, one that is capable of meeting the needs for which the UN was originally established.


The San Francisco Promise

The San Francisco Promise

UN Founding in SF

By Bob Hanson
DWF Board Member

Last year the United Nations celebrated its seventieth anniversary. This documentary created just after the U.N.’s founding in 1945 in San Francisco provides a feeling for the hopefulness of those days. Since then, the UN has accomplished much good, but of course it never lived up to its potential as the organization that would put an end to war. One key reason is the veto power vested in the Security Council. A majority of the nations present at the founding of the U.N. objected to the proposal that the winners of World War II be given the power of the veto. They were told in reply that their objection to the veto could be addressed by a formal charter review that could be held no later than 10 years from the UN’s founding. So this provision was included as Section 109(3) of the charter. But this so-called “San Francisco promise” was never fulfilled—simply because the veto-wielding members of the Security Council have managed to keep it from happening. The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, and France prefer having a situation where nothing will happen unless they approve of it.  

The veto is profoundly unfair and undemocratic in that it enables the holders to prevent any actions against themselves or their friends. This power to veto is an affront to the rights of the other member-nations of the United Nations and the reason why it cannot solve many of the world’s major global challenges. The composition of the Security Council is also the subject of much legitimate complaint. Why should France and Great Britain have permanent seats, while Brazil, Germany, Japan and India only occasionally get to sit on the body and don’t have a veto when they are on it?

To improve the efficacy of the United Nations, several key actions need to be considered through charter review. These include: 

1) Form of a world parliament which could enact world law. 2) Enable the World Court of Justice to have the power to enforce its decisions. 3) Develop a volunteer rapid-deployment force (armed and unarmed) which could put out brushfire wars and do effective peacekeeping instead of relying on national armies—a provision recommended by all Secretary Generals from Trygve Lie to Kofi Annan.  4) Create mechanisms capable of dealing with problems such as climate change, nuclear proliferation  and endangered species, which are issues that recognize no national boundaries.

Another obvious shortcoming of the present U.N. is that in the General Assembly, India—with over a billion citizens—has the same one vote as Monaco, which has a population of about 30,000. When the U.N. Charter was adapted at San Francisco in 1945, no one expected it to remain unchanged forever. The world has changed a lot in these seventy years and the United Nations must change if it is to be relevant in the 21st Century. The U.N. needs far reaching reforms to better deal with ending war, preventing global warming and solving dozens of other worldwide problems. 

Remember the San Francisco Promise! 

*For more information, contact the Democratic World Federalists at [email protected] or the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research (CUNCR) at [email protected]  


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.