16 June 2008
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
In this issue:
I. R2P References in the Committee on Senate Foreign Relations
1. SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
2. EDWARD LUCK SPEACIAL ADVISER TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL
3. STEWART PATRICK SENIOR FELLOW PROGRAM ON INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
4. MARK L. SCHNEIDER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP
II. Crisis in Burma and R2P
1. THE END OF INTERVENTION CHINA RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
2. HELPING THOSE WHO DONT WANT HELP
3. ALBRIGHT- SAVING LIVES WHEN GOVERNMENTS WONT
4. THE END OF INTERVENTION
III. Crisis in Darfur and R2P
1. THE GENOCIDE CONTINUES
IV. R2P and Zimbabwe
1. WE HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT ZIMBABWE
2. WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES LETTER TO UN ON ZIMBABWE
3. SHELVING STATEMENTS, LEADING THE CHANGE
V. R2P in the News
1. HOW TO THINK ABOUT THE ESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECTr
I. R2P References in the Committee on Senate Foreign Relations
The Following statements were presented before the 110th Congress Second Session of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The Discussion is entitled: nternational Disaster Assistance: Policy Options with Senator Robert Menendez presiding. Panelists included in the discussion are Senator Robert Menendez, Dr. Edward Luck, Mark L. Schneider, and Dr. Stewart Patrick.
1. Statement of Senator Robert Menendez Subcommittee Chairman
17 June 2008
We are here today to discuss international disaster assistance, and in particular, the policy options when political obstacles prevent the assistance from reaching those in need. And first, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones in the cyclone in Burma, the earthquake in China, and for that fact, here at home in the floods in Iowa. These kinds of disasters, unfortunately, will continue to take place, and therefore there will always be a need to respond quickly to alleviate human suffering and reduce the loss of life. (...)
So as we focus on humanitarian assistance, it is important that we recognize the significant weight it carries. So I say again that humanitarian assistance is much more complex than dropping food and water out of an airplane.
It requires standing up and monitoring a distribution network. Such a network requires access, and access is controlled by governments. (...)
One framework that has been under discussion for several years is called "the responsibility to protect." This concept, which grew out of the 2005 world summit outcome document, focuses on the so-called, quote, "right of humanitarian intervention."
It asks when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive action, and in particular, military action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk. And I especially look forward to our second panel of expert witnesses to explore this further.
This option becomes especially interesting as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently characterized the Burmese junta's response as, quote, "criminal neglect." While this characterization doesn't appear to rise to the responsibility to protect's border line or either genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity, it seems to me that it merits an organized, collective, and swift response. (...)
Source: Congressional Quarterly
2. Statement of Edward Luck Special Adviser to the Secretary General United Nations
17 June 2008
Today I will address three issues that have generated widespread public interest and media commentary along with no little confusion and misunderstanding: one, the evolving notion of the responsibility to protect and why it does not appear to apply to this particular situation; two, other principles, practices, and norms that do seem to be highly relevant to this case; and three, why the UN was able to respond vigorously and decisively to these events without explicit action by the Security Council. Responsibility to Protect as adopted unanimously by the 2005 World Summit and by subsequent resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, the responsibility to protect (RtoP) rests on three pillars:
-- First, an affirmation of the primary and continuing legal obligations of states to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, and from their incitement;
-- Second, a commitment by the international community to assist states in meeting these obligations; and
-- Third, an acceptance by Member States of their responsibility to respond in a timely and decisive manner, in accordance with the UN Charter, to help protect populations from the four listed crimes and violations. "Populations" includes all persons on a state's territory. The emphasis, therefore, is on state responsibility, to be bolstered by international assistance. The concept of RtoP, moreover, is not intended to detract in any way from the much broader range of obligations existing under existing international humanitarian and human rights law, refugee law, and international criminal law.
As defined by the Summit - and the UN must be guided by the collective decisions of its Member States, not by the pronouncements of independent commissions or commentators or the views of individual Member States - RtoP does not encompass other dire threats to populations, such as climate change, HIV/AIDs, or the effects of natural disasters. These need to be, and are being, addressed in other ways. To be conceptually coherent, operationally sound, and politically sustainable, the scope of RtoP should remain narrow and closely tied to the four listed crimes and violations unless and until the Member States decide otherwise. To help prevent such mass atrocities would be a cardinal achievement in the evolution of human rights. We should take care not to undermine the historic but fragile international consensus behind the responsibility to protect by succumbing to the temptation to stretch it beyond what was intended by the heads of state and government assembled at the UN almost three years ago. While the scope of RtoP should remain narrow, the range of tools for implementing it - whether by the UN, its regional, sub-regional, and civil society partners, or Member States - runs deep. Its programmatic dimensions include 1) capacity building and rebuilding, 2) early warning and assessment, 3) timely and decisive response, and 4) collaboration with regional and sub-regional arrangements. The stress is on prevention and building the capacity of states to resist turning to the path of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
In my view, a government's unwillingness to facilitate the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to its people in the aftermath of a major natural calamity may be reprehensible, morally repugnant, and contrary to a number of well-established international principles, standards, and norms. How to respond to such a situation deserves further discussion. However, a state's recalcitrance is unlikely to constitute one of the four crimes and violations agreed at the 2005 Summit to fall under the responsibility to protect umbrella. There has been some speculation in the press about whether such action or inaction could be considered to be a crime against humanity. That would require, however, crimes such as murder or extermination committed as part of "a widespread or systematic attack" against the civilian population.
Other Principles, Practices, and Norms
The international community, it should be underscored, need not invoke RtoP to justify a vigorous response to such a large-scale loss of life due to a state's indifference or incapacity. There are other sets of relevant principles, practices, and norms, including those concerning humanitarian assistance, internally displaced persons, and human rights.()
Source: Congressional Quarterly
3. Statement of Stewart Patrick Senior Fellow Program on International Institutions
Committee on Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection
17 June 2008
The "Responsibility to protect" and Its Relevance to Natural Disasters
Given the political impediments that sovereign governments have placed on the delivery of emergency assistance, it is reasonable to ask whether the international community has any recourse to insist upon, or even enforce, the unencumbered flow of relief in the aftermath of natural disasters. Following Cyclone Nargis, a number of observers have argued that the new UN norm of a "Responsibility to protect" provides sufficient legal and moral basis for overriding national sovereignty in such circumstances. While this argument has merit in extreme cases, it remains highly controversial globally and provides no silver bullet for improving humanitarian access following natural disasters.
The United Nations' General Assembly endorsed the concept of a "Responsibility to protect" in September 2005, as part of the Outcome Document of the UN High Level Summit. The concept recognizes that sovereignty is in effect contingent, dependent on the state's fulfillment of fundamental obligations. Specifically, when a government makes war on its citizens-or fails to prevent atrocities from being committed against them-the "responsibility to protect" transfers to the international community. To enforce this new norm, the Outcome Document envisions a set of graduated responses, beginning with "diplomatic, humanitarian, and other peaceful means" under Chapters VI and VIII, but including the potential use of armed force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The underlying motivation behind the "Responsibility to protect" concept was to help prevent new Rwandas, Srebenicas, and Kosovos-instances in which murderous regimes or their proxies slaughtered thousands of unarmed civilians. To date, the international community has found it easier to enunciate this new norm than to enforce it. As the ongoing violence in Darfur illustrates, it is one thing to declare a responsibility to protect; it is quite another to marshal the political will and the practical capacity required to implement it. Nevertheless, the new "doctrine" represents a profound normative evolution within the context of the United Nations, an organization founded in 1945 on the bedrock principles of state sovereignty and non- intervention.
Whether the Responsibility to protect extends to disasters that are "natural" in origin but exacerbated by state incapacity or malevolence is a subject of vigorous debate. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), which first developed the concept, envisioned that it would apply not only to mass atrocities but also when states are unable or unwilling to provide relief in humanitarian emergencies. The 2005 Outcome Document took a narrower approach, however, restricting the norm's application to four specific situations: "genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity." ()
This reasoning has met with equally fierce resistance. Critics raise several weighty objections: First, the effort to expand the doctrine to natural disasters could undermine the painstakingly negotiated (but already fragile) consensus on the concept's application to situations of mass atrocity crimes, particularly among developing countries with a neuralgic fear of outside intervention. Second, determining the precise threshold at which a state's obstruction of humanitarian access becomes a "crime against humanity" remains elusive. Third, the invocation of the doctrine could lead a recalcitrant regime to close off entirely what humanitarian access (however imperfect) currently exists. Finally, the doctrine implies, at least in principle, a willingness to consider the use of military force to ensure the delivery of aid, raising both the specter of armed resistance and the likelihood of casualties among the intervening force. Such military action could exacerbate rather than ameliorate the humanitarian catastrophe, and it could be tough to sustain domestically.
Practical Steps to Improve Humanitarian Access following Natural Disasters
There is ample scope for lawyers to debate the boundaries of the Responsibility to protect, including the threshold at which the doctrine kicks in. These debates should not however distract us from considering practical approaches to improving humanitarian access in the aftermath of natural disasters that fall well short of full-fledged military invasion. ()
(7) When considering military action to ensure humanitarian access following natural disasters, the United States should adopt the following guidelines: ()
d. Be prepared to own the aftermath of any armed intervention. Experiences of the last twenty years suggest that "impartial" intervention is a delusion. Armed intervention for human protection purposes invariably involves not only delivering life- saving aid but also taking sides. It is also likely to unleash unpredictable consequences (which may include regime change) and may require a significant, long term international presence. The "responsibility to protect" involves not only a responsibility to respond, but also a "responsibility to rebuild" once the shooting stops. ()
Source: Congressional Quarterly
4. Mark L. Schneider Senior Vice President International Crisis Group
17 June 2008
() The World Summit Outcome Document, September 2005. Heads of state and government attending the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly agreed as follows: "138. Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability." ()
The concept then accepts in paragraph 139 a collective responsibility where states fail, through intent or incapacity, working through the United Nations, to react, when conditions reach the point of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.. The concept calls first to use the whole array of peaceful tools---diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, special rapporteurs, commissions of inquiry, arms embargos, targeted sanctions on the responsible government officials, economic and financial sanctions, even preventive deployment of military forces-for instance EUFOR on the Chadian border. ()
In fact, the Responsibility to protect encompasses three finite components: the responsibility to prevent, the responsibility to react, and the responsibility to rebuild, particularly the latter if the military force has occurred. ICISS and Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his report to the 2005 Summit, entitled .In Larger Freedom: Toward Development, Security and Human Rights for All,. embraced that multi-faced nature of the Responsibility to protect. ()
Crisis Group also is helping that process as one of the founders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to protect. which was launched in February with a strong statement of support by Secretary General Ban. He urged the Centre, based at the Ralph Bunche Institute at CUNY, to help the international community take the principle of the responsibility to protect from concept to actuality, from word to deed. ()
How () does the Responsibility to protect help us in considering the cases of Burma, Darfur, and Zimbabwe?
For Burma/Myanmar, the starting point has to be that R2P is not itself about protecting people from the impact of natural disasters. Of course they should be protected - and our humanitarian obligation as an international community is to do everything we possibly can to ensure that they are - but the R2P principle, as agreed in 2005, and with all that it implies about the possible coercive use of military force if all else fails, only cuts in when mass atrocity crimes are involved.()
So does [the situation in Burma] constitute a crime against humanity of a kind that would trigger the R2P principle? ()
The definition of crimes against humanity, most recently incorporated by the international community in the Rome statute states, covers along with widespread or systematic murder, torture, persecution and the like, other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.. Starving villages by denying food relief on a continuing basis until the residents died when such relief was available seems, on any view, to get very close to what is punishable here, although there is obviously room for lawyers to argue about whether intentionally means cold- blooded, deliberate willingness to cause death or reckless, negligent, indifference as to whether people died or not.
Even if one gets past this hurdle, there is still an issue, in any application of the R2P principle, as to whether the coercive use of military force is appropriate. () In the Burma/Myanmar context many voices were heard from aid agencies and others arguing that as a practical matter military intervention would not work, or make matters on the ground even worse for the affected population. ()
But one can certainly argue that the existence of the R2P norm-as endorsed by the UN General Assembly at the 2005 World Summit, and endorsed subsequently by the Security Council in resolutions -- on protection of civilians in armed conflict UNSCR 1674 and again in UNSCR 1706 in authorizing UN peacekeepers to Darfur-may well have been a factor in the decision-making of the Burmese generals to remove some of the obstacles to relief. () Overall the diplomatic pressure did have some effect, and the R2P argument was part of it. ()
The Committee also raised the question of the applicability of the Responsibility to protect in other situations:
Zimbabwe: If the hijacking of food relief aid continues as well as the widespread denial of food assistance to the political opposition in Zimbabwe continues, then we may well have to ask the question as to whether we are approaching a similar R2P situation in Zimbabwe in which crimes against humanity, not just lesser human rights violations, are involved, with all that implies. At the very least, reenergized diplomatic efforts are urgently called for-both with respect to the humanitarian crisis and with respect to the political crisis. WFP has said some 4 million people are in need of food aid. ()
Source: Congress Quarterly
II. Crisis in Burma and R2P
1. China's Responsibility to Protect
David C. Gompert
Think Tank Town, Washington Post
17 June 2008
Because of the world's failure to stop the butchering of 800,000 Rwandans, and other atrocities of the 1990s, the United Nations in 2005 adopted a principle known as the responsibility to protect, which sanctions international military action " should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. " () The responsibility to protect is being tested today by the Myanmar military junta's refusal to allow massive aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis, just as it has been tested by the Sudanese government's support for genocide against the people of Darfur. In both cases, the rest of the world has been unwilling to act without the consent of the very regimes that commit these crimes against humanity, and some 200,000 people in Darfur and 100,000 in Myanmar have perished as a result. Of all countries remiss in their responsibility, China bears special scrutiny because of its influence with these regimes. ()
Motivated by its thirst for oil, China is chief guardian of Sudan's government, frustrating Western efforts to sanction and pressure its client. While others fail to uphold the responsibility to protect the people of Darfur, the Chinese subvert it. They have more than enough leverage to induce Khartoum to stop the killing and allow a large peacekeeping force into Darfur.
What, then, would motivate Beijing to honor the responsibility to protect? Two things. First, it should be less fearful: The responsibility to protect sanctions intervention only to stop killing and suffering on a grand scale, not to side with separatists. Second, China aspires to be, and could be, not just prosperous and powerful but also respected globally. It could take a seat at the head table of the world's institutions, e.g., UN agencies, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Energy Agency and the G8 group of leading powers. China could join the United States, the European Union and Japan in guiding the global system in which it is now integrated and on which it depends for its continued success.
China obviously is big enough to be a world leader. But is it principled enough? It is time () for China to accept the code of conduct that befits a great power in an era of globalization. Nargis gives the Chinese a golden opportunity to do their fellow humans and themselves some good.
There are three scenarios for Myanmar. First, the regime continues to block large-scale aid. In that case, hundreds of thousands will die. Second, the United States and its allies threaten and if need be use force to deliver aid without the regime's consent. Their forces could readily brush aside or scare off whatever rag-tag force the junta could muster to resist; but they might then be left with responsibility to rebuild and manage the country. So far, not surprisingly, Myanmar's leaders appear unconvinced that the West will act against them.
In the third scenario, China fulfills the responsibility to protect. It tells the generals privately and bluntly that it will turn against them and back intervention unless they open their ports and airstrips to massive aid without delay. Were the leaders in Beijing to deliver this message, human lives would be saved, and China's reputation would soar. Nargis could mark the moment when China enters the world as a truly great power.
2. Helping Those Who Dont Want Help
The Huffington Post
Craig and Mark Keilburger
16 June 2008
It took three weeks before UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was able to convince Myanmar's top military officials to allow humanitarian workers and supplies into the country(). How long would we have waited?
A peaceful resolution should always be the goal. Diplomatic channels must be exhausted and every type of political pressure must be exerted before military force is used. But in the event of a natural disaster, thousands upon thousand of lives depend on the quick and efficient distribution of aid. ()
French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, proposed a solution days after the cyclone hit. Mr. Kouchner suggested the United Nations invoke the Canadian-developed "Responsibility to Protect," or R2P - a concept that says the international community has a responsibility to help protect people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, whenever their own government is unable, or unwilling, to do so.
The international community was reluctant to apply R2P to Myanmar, however. Certainly a case could be made that by withholding aid to its citizens, the Burmese government was guilty of a crime against humanity. But R2P wasn't meant to deal with natural disasters, and there was fear that by making its scope too broad, R2P would be rendered useless.
"It's fragile," says William Pace, executive director of the Institute for Global Policy and a member of the Steering Committee for R2P. "There are many powerful governments, especially authoritarian governments, that would love to ruin R2P, and if you make it mean everything, then it means nothing."
Mr. Pace did concede that the principles of R2P could be applied to natural disasters in the future, but would like to see it applied to situations it was originally intended for first, to strengthen its credibility.
But the next natural disaster won't necessarily wait for R2P to gain strength and evolve. Myanmar must serve as a wake-up call to the United Nations to create a new policy - or to make an explicit change to R2P to include natural disasters. ()
3. The End of Intervention
The New York Times
11 June 2008
THE Burmese governments criminally neglectful response to last months cyclone, and the worlds response to that response, illustrate three grim realities today: totalitarian governments are alive and well; their neighbors are reluctant to pressure them to change; and the notion of national sovereignty as sacred is gaining ground, helped in no small part by the disastrous results of the American invasion of Iraq. Indeed, many of the worlds necessary interventions in the decade before the invasion in places like Haiti and the Balkans would seem impossible in todays climate.
The first and most obvious reality is the survival of totalitarian government in an age of global communications and democratic progress. ()
Second is the unwillingness of Myanmars neighbors to use their collective leverage on behalf of change. ()
A third reality is that the concept of national sovereignty as an inviolable and overriding principle of global law is once again gaining ground. ()
In such a world, the international community would recognize a responsibility to override sovereignty in emergency situations to prevent ethnic cleansing or genocide, arrest war criminals, restore democracy or provide disaster relief when national governments were either unable or unwilling to do so. ()
The Bush administrations decision to fight in Afghanistan after 9/11 () was clearly motivated by self-defense. The invasion of Iraq, with the administrations grandiose rhetoric about pre-emption, was another matter, however. It generated a negative reaction that has weakened support for cross-border interventions even for worthy purposes. Governments, especially in the developing world, are now determined to preserve the principle of sovereignty, even when the human costs of doing so are high.
Thus, Myanmars leaders have been shielded from the repercussions of their outrageous actions. Sudan has been able to dictate the terms of multinational operations inside Darfur. The government of Zimbabwe may yet succeed in stealing a presidential election.
Political leaders in Pakistan have told the Bush administration to back off, despite the growth of Al Qaeda and Taliban cells in the countrys wild northwest. African leaders (understandably perhaps) have said no to the creation of a regional American military command. And despite recent efforts to enshrine the doctrine of a responsibility to protect in international law, the concept of humanitarian intervention has lost momentum.()
At the heart of the debate is the question of what the international system is. Is it just a collection of legal nuts and bolts cobbled together by governments to protect governments? Or is it a living framework of rules intended to make the world a more humane place? ()
4. Saving Lives When Governments Wont
The News & Observer
Bruce W. Jentleson
25 May 2008
In Burma the military government, considered among the world's most repressive, has told the international community it may come in to assist with disaster relief only with government permission and on Burma's narrowly defined terms. ()
This is a lot like the position taken by the Sudanese government on Darfur that kept U.N. peacekeepers out while the regime aided and abetted the genocide. In recent months it has finally let in some peacekeepers, but in numbers and under conditions that make their humanitarian mission difficult to fulfill. ()
How much longer are we -- the United States, the United Nations, the whole international community -- going to allow brutal leaders to hide behind the cloak of sovereignty as they kill, or let die, masses of their own people?
These are crimes against humanity on which the international community has the right -- indeed, the responsibility -- to speak for the victims. In an age in which so much killing occurs within, rather than between, states, there is no more important issue.
There is actually a name for this. It's called the "responsibility to protect," coined in 2000-2001 by an international commission formed in reaction to the Rwanda genocide and other humanitarian horrors of the 1990s. "The responsibility to protect its people from killing and other grave harm," the commission declared, is "the most basic and fundamental of all the responsibilities that sovereignty imposes."
A WORLD IN WHICH INTERVENTION IS THE NORM would not be just or stable. Plenty of rights come with state sovereignty. But so do responsibilities. The intent of intervention during crises, the commission stated, is to deliver "practical protection for ordinary people at risk of their lives, because their states are unwilling or unable to protect them."
Military intervention should never be the first resort. Diplomatic and aid strategies are preferable. But "coercive intervention for human protection purposes, including ultimately military intervention, by others in the international community may be warranted in extreme cases."
By the time the U.N. adopted the "responsibility to protect" principle in 2005, it had lost much of the strength of the original language and intent. There was plenty of blame to go around for this weakening. ()
The outrage set off by the Burmese response to the cyclone provides an opportunity to decisively affirm the responsibility-to-protect principle and take concerted action in its name. Numerous countries and nongovernmental organizations are ready to act. The junta needs to be held to the agreement recently negotiated by other Asian countries to let in some aid and relief workers, and pushed to further open up access. ()
IF THIS DOESNT SUCCEED, AND SUCCEED QUICKLY, the U.N. Security Council will need to act, including, if necessary, a resolution authorizing multilateral military intervention. China would have a real opportunity to enhance its own international image by supporting such a resolution, especially following its unprecedented allowance of foreign press coverage of its Sichaun earthquake and its acceptance of assistance, even from Japan and Taiwan.
The United States should provide strong support, but refrain from counterproductive anti-junta rhetoric. Europe () should do the same. If the junta cooperates, some face-saving can be choreographed. If it does not cooperate, the international community must deliver on its responsibility. This will be difficult. But it is possible, and it is necessary.
The cyclone's devastation cannot be undone, but further tragedy for the Burmese people can be lessened. Moreover, broader positive effects could be generated, including potentially changing the dynamics of the Darfur stand-off, if the international community finally demonstrates a commitment to strip away the cloak of sovereignty behind which brutal regimes continue to hide.
III. Crisis in Darfur and R2P
1. The Genocide Continues
The New York Times
17 June 2008
Despite the dispatch of United Nations peacekeepers to Darfur and the issuing of international arrest warrants for leaders of the genocide, the killing goes on. So does the burning of villages, the bombing of schools and the systematic rape of women and girls. And it will continue until the Security Council shows the will to stop it.
The Council needs to get more peacekeepers, helicopters and reconnaissance planes in the field, enforce the arrest warrants and increase diplomatic and financial pressure to get Sudan to stop obstructing the work of the peacekeepers. But the Council has shown little urgency in doing any of that.
Thwarted by Sudan and the United Nations own bureaucratic rules, far less than half of an anticipated force of 26,000 international soldiers and police officers is now in Darfur. That is too small to protect the population, or even the peacekeepers themselves. An additional 100,000 people have been forced from their homes since the peacekeepers began arriving in January.
The Council (and separately the European Union) must ensure that Khartoums leaders pay a price for their cruelty through expanded visa and financial sanctions against those coordinating the genocide as well as an expanded arms embargo. The International Criminal Court should get strong backing from the Council when it presents further charges next month. ()
But a minority of Council members, led by China, have let their economic interests in Beijings case substantial investments in Sudans abundant oil supplies trump their moral and legal responsibility to thwart genocide. Last week, Chinas president, Hu Jintao, used stronger-than-usual language to urge Khartoum to cooperate with United Nations peacekeepers and enforce a cease-fire in Darfur. If China is prepared to back up those words with a tougher line in the Security Council, it could make a huge difference. ()
The Bush administration has its heart in the right place on Darfur. Its special envoy, Richard Williamson, has been a strong advocate for action, and Washington has imposed stiff sanctions of its own. But whats needed is stronger action by the Council as a whole.
Darfurs plight is not yet hopeless, but without greater international commitment it may become so. As the criminal courts prosecutor told the Security Council on June 5, it takes a lot of planning and organization to commit massive crimes.
ut mostly, he said, t requires that the rest of the world look away and do nothing.r
IV. R2P and Zimbabwe
1. We Have a Duty to Protect Zimbabwe
19 June 2008
There are now overwhelming signs that the responsibility to protect, as Kofi Annans doctrine has come to be known within the United Nations, has ceased to apply. Within the past few months there have been two terrible cases which cry out for exactly the kind of action for which Annan called so eloquently. ()
The first of these is Burma, where the military junta has failed to come to the aid of its own people in the wake of natural catastrophe, and refused the help of outsiders as well. This murderous stance has been greeted with quite remarkable equanimity by the international community, including the once trigger-happy Bush administration. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Burmese have died as a result, victims of their own government.
The second case is Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabes thugs have been permitted to act with total impunity ever since Morgan Tsvangirais election triumph in late March. Large parts of Eastern Zimbabwe, in particular Mashonaland (though the violence is now spreading), now recall Darfur when the genocide began five years ago. There are the same burning and empty villages, the same climate of fear, while the language of genocide is being explicitly used by ministers. ()
Mugabe is not simply using violence as a method of control. International aid agencies have been cleaned out of Zimbabwe as well. This is partly so that there will be as few witnesses as possible to the carnage, and partly to prevent food and other forms of humanitarian assistance reaching MDC supporters. Zanu-PF cards are now required to acquire the national diet of mealie meal in many areas: those who do not possess this kind of identification now face starvation. ()
Zimbabwe is a perfect test case for the new United Nations doctrine of responsibility to protect. There should be peacekeepers, international monitors, a roar of urgent condemnation. The United Nations, led by its feeble Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has made its choice. It has gone down the path of collaboration with Robert Mugabes illegal government as it launches war on its own people. It is important to try and understand why it has decided to hide behind national sovereignty. It has become conventional to single out the legacy of the Iraq invasion as the main reason for the failure of the international community to engage in the dark places of the world like Darfur, Burma and Zimbabwe. There is some truth in this. But other factors are at work.
Mugabe has allies who need him to succeed. Russia and South Africa are on his side. So is China, and scores of other states which fear the ballot box. That Chinese gun shipment, say Mugabes spokesman, has arrived, and its effects are already being felt. The latest reports from Mashonaland state the rampaging militias are no longer equipped only with iron bars. They have brand new AK-47s, and are ready to use them. These well-armed militias, and their commanders, are fully protected from the consequences of their actions by the United Nations Security Council. The case of Robert Mugabes Zimbabwe may come to be seen as a terrible portent of the looming new world order, and Kofi Annans prediction of new century of human rights possess a grotesque meaning he could hardly have dreamt of at the time.
2. WCC Calls on the UN to End Violence in Zimbabwe, Ensure Free and Fair Election
18 June 2008
In a letter to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed continued concern about the situation in Zimbabwe and asked the world body to utilize its resources to assure an end to pre-election violence in the southern African country and a free and fair election on 27 June.
The letter, which comes from the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, states the dismay of the council and its member churches "at the news of the brutality meted out by police and other government forces in Zimbabwe."
Referring to President Robert Mugabe's statement last week that he would "go to war" rather than acknowledge an election victory by the opposition, Kobia affirms: "This attitude on the part of the president undermines the integrity of elections and belittles the Zimbabwean electorate."
"Where the Mugabe government fails in its responsibility to protect the Zimbabwean people, the international community must assume that burden; in this endeavour, the United Nations should assume a leading role", the WCC letter adds.
Accompanying the letter is an extensive dossier compiled by the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa about the situation in Zimbabwe. The dossier was prepared under the leadership of Dr Allan Boesak of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and presents graphic details of violence as well as a review of materials already released through the media and other sources.
Kobia says in his letter that "in light of the reports we have received" the WCC is calling for a number of steps to be taken including an end to the atrocities as reported in the dossier. The council appeals to the government of Zimbabwe to assure free and fair elections, allowing for election monitors and the distribution of food and other humanitarian aid and calls on the churches in southern Africa to initiate a healing and reconciliation process immediately following the elections. ()
Full Text of Letter: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/messages-and-letters/18-06-08-call-on-the-un-to-end-violence-in-zimbabwe.html
3.Shelving Statements, Leading the Charge
Embassy: Canadas Foreign Policy Newsweekly
11 June 2008
Robert Mugabe has crossed the line from repressive strong man to psychopathic dictator as he and his lieutenants have abandoned all pretences of democracy to cling to power.
On June 4, Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson released a statement condemning the detention of Tsvangirai and another opposition leader, Arthur Mutambara.
"Canada is alarmed by the campaign of political intimidation, human rights violations and politically motivated violence," the statement said (see link after text). "We are appalled by the reports of torture and extrajudicial killings committed, overwhelmingly, by state security and paramilitary groups."
Mr. Emerson went on to demand the Mugabe government "protect its citizens from all forms of intimidation and violence" while saying that Zimbabweans deserve an "open and transparent election process."
With dozens of opposition members and supporters dead and a full-fledged campaign of violence underway, the idea Mugabe will protect Zimbabweans from intimidation and violence and deliver an open and transparent election process is laughable.
What is truly needed is a robust response. True, Western intervention in Zimbabwe is extremely difficult, especially since Mugabe is still regarded as the man who delivered the country from white rule, and he has defended his strong-arm tactics by declaring he is fighting neo-colonialism.
But the dangers that Mugabe poses not only to his people, but also stability in the sub-Saharan regionhich is home to almost $1 billion in Canadian direct investments in Zimbabwe and surrounding countrieshould now be apparent. Canada and the Conservative government, which is trying to style itself a defender of human rights and democracy, must do more than issue a pro forma statement. ()
The idea of invoking the Responsibility to protect may seem farfetched, but it would be a great deal easier to do in Zimbabwe than Burma, where China holds sway.
If years of misrule that have led to economic devastation are not proof enough, the campaign Mugabe and his security forces are now waging to hold onto power should have the world realizing this madman has lost the right to rule. Canada could take the initiative and push for intervention at the UN.
Given the threat Zimbabwe poses to their stability, other countries in the region could be tapped to take the lead and actually contribute troops to ensure the inevitable allegations that neo-colonial aspirations are driving the agenda are put to rest.
There are other actions Canada can take, such as providing assistance to Zimbabweans who have fled to countries like South Africa and are now being targeted by mobs. Canada provides similar assistance for Burmese refugees living on the border with Thailand. Not only will this help desperate people who have nowhere to turn, but it will promote stability in South Africa and, if done right, start building a foundation for a future without Mugabe.
But the immediate imperative is getting the world to realize that it must stop Zimbabwe's transformation into a failed state. The United States and Britain can't do this. Canada can, and should, be doing more.
Emerson Statement: http://w01.international.gc.ca/MinPub/Publication.aspx?isRedirect=True&Language=E&publication_id=386257&docnumber=134
V. R2P in the News
1. How to Think About the Responsibility to Protect
First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life
16 June 2008
When Cyclone Nargis hit Burma a month ago, killing as many as a hundred thousand people, the French foreign minister invoked the responsibility to protect as a way to override the Burmese governments intransigence and thus deliver live-saving aid. ()
One way to think about the responsibility to protect, or R2P, is to ask the extent to which the rules now being debated at the U.N. affect U.S. interests. Americans are right to ask what a notion that overrides sovereignty in principle, and may cost American lives in practice, has to do with liberty at home. The answer is that the underlying idea of a governments responsibility to its people, the American Idea, is at risk in the contentious debates over intervention. As others seek to shape R2P in their image, Americans should seek to protect this underlying principle.
What makes intervention debates so contentious, and another reason Americans have a stake in the debate, is the emergence of deep divisions on the three fundamental questions: Who may authorize intervention? When is it justified? Are states ever obligated to intervene? Contests over the very nature of sovereignty, the nature of international law, and the very nature of human rights have led to diverse perspectives on R2P.
So, what is R2P? Proponents such as the U.N. secretary-generals new special assistant for R2P, Edward Luck, take a political constructivist view and call it an emerging international norm ripe for codification. Pope Benedict recently called it a fundamental principle of the international order based on the natural law. Critics have called it everything from a license for Western imperial aggression to a ruse for curtailing American power.
Much of the resistance seems disingenuous, considering that the list of four egregious crimes (and therefore reasons for intervention) is shortome say too short. Given that it includes genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, is there any reason Americans should object? ()After all, doesnt this [the American mentality] enshrine the very idea that every person, no matter his origin, is endowed with inalienable rights? ()
The next logical purpose for the new construct, then, would seem to be the desire to create enforcement mechanisms. The authors of the 2001 report on Responsibility to protect say its primary purpose is to shift emphasis from the right of powerful states to intervene to the right of citizens to be protected by their governments. It is important to note that the term nternational responsibility to protect in the 2001 report is absent from the 2005 World Summit document.()
This leads to the final important question: Once we have stopped the atrocities, what are we offering to replace peoples suffering? Beyond a responsibility to stabilize and rebuild countries, what version of a just society is being advanced at the international level? ()
Americans can help protect the principle of responsible sovereignty from getting lost in a fracas over enforcement. The United States should shape the debate through insistence on U.N. reform and a proper understanding of authority, law, and obligation in the international context. And it can seek out likeminded regional democracies with the capacity and courage to carry principle into action. Given the countless number of people suffering unspeakable atrocities today, the task is well worth our labor.