6 December 2000
Dear Mr. Faessler
This is in response to your letter of 9 Novernber 2000 requesting authorisation
to use the flag of the United Nations. lt is noted that you intend to fly the
UN flag, together with the flag of the city of St. Gallen, and the EU flag
outside the city hall of St. Gallen, in order to take a photograph of the
three flags. This photograph will be used in a satirical show that you are
working on for the 200th anniversary of St. Gallen in 2003. You have
indicated that the purpose of using the UN flag and the EU flag is to
demonstrate "the fears of the political far right that Switzerland might
one day be dominated by supranational organisations like the EU and the UN".
1 should like to inform you that the use of the UN flag is subject to the
provisions of the United Nations Flag Code and Regulations, adopted by the
Secretary-General. The relevant sections of the Code provides as follows:
5. Use of flag generally
The flag may be used in accordance with the this Flag Code by
Governments, organizations and individuals to demonstrate support
of the United Nations and to further its principles and purposes.
The manner and circumstances of display shall conform, in so far as
appropriate, to the laws and customs applicable to the display of
the national flag of the country in which the display is made.
The flag shall not be used in any manner inconsistent with this
Code or with any regulations made pursuant thereto. On no account
shall the flag or a replica thereof be used for commercial purposes
or in direct association with an article of merchandise."
It would seem that your proposed use of the UN flag will not demonstrate
support of the United Nations, nor will it further its principles and
purposes. Rather, the proposed use essentially goes against the United
Nations, and also intends to portray the United Nations as a supranational
organisation, which it is not. Further, since the UN flag will be used
in a show, to which we assume tickets will be sold, the use of the UN
flag will, at least indirectly, be for commercial purposes. Under these
circumstances, and in view of Articles 5 and 7 of the United Nations
Flag Code, we believe that the use of the flag in the proposed manner
would be inappropriate.
In view of the foregoing, I regret to inform you that your request
cannot be granted.
Bruce C. Rashkow
General Legal Division
Office of Legal Affairs