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Canada Out of Africa? Disappointments around Darfur Omens for Canadas 2010 G-8 Summit?
David Black, Tim Shaw
The Human Security Bulletin
Volume 5, Issue 3
August 2007

The following article is from the August 2007 issue of the Human Security Bulletin, which is entitled arfur: Whose Responsibility to Protect? The Human Security Bulletin is a publication of the Canadian Consortium on Human Security. Among other articles, the August 2007 issue includes he United States and Darfur: Policy from the Outside In by Gayle Smith and everaging Games: Chinas Influence Over Sudan, by Alana Tiemessen and Erin Williams.

In the course of its advocacy of human security in the 1990s, Canada animated the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) and established itself as he worlds leading proponent of the responsibility to protect (R2P). Although the R2P itself was momentarily displaced by declarations of an unwinable ar on terror in response to 9/11, the mid-decade UN Millennium Summit served to revive it and broader notions of human security in the retiring Secretary-Generals calls for comprehensive security. Yet despite lessons from Rwanda, Canada has yet to respond adequately or proportionately to the crisis in Darfur, ongoing since early 2003, where Canadas commitments to both Africa and to the R2P have been simultaneously tested by the Sudanese governments manifest failure to protect its own citizens. Indeed, regime change in Canada led to the disbanding of Paul Martins Darfur Special Advisory Team composed of Senators Romeo Dallaire and Mobina Jaffer and Ambassador Robert Fowler as Stephen Harper channeled government focus and resources towards Afghanistan.

()This essay suggests that Canadas deficient response to Darfur can be partially explained - though certainly not fully excused - by reference to other bi- and multi-lateral demands and diversions. Despite the ongoing tragedy of Darfur, Canada has continued to demonstrate a welcome degree of dirigisme in regional and multilateral diplomacy that bears, at least indirectly, on prospects for sustainable peace in the complex of regional and human insecurity of which Darfur is the starkest instance. These ongoing engagements create a foundation for sustained and renewed commitment to the protracted process of building peace.

With regard to Darfur itself, Canada has not been an insignificant player in the uneven global response to the crisis. Yet the net effect of its involvement has been to help sustain a starkly inadequate effort, especially when measured against the emerging standard of R2P. The governments humanitarian contributions through CIDA and various NGOs have been substantial though middle-of-the-road smaller than those of the Dutch and Norwegians, for example. In relation to the critical security dimension of the crisis, Canada has been one of the four largest contributors to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) the AUs hard-pressed but precedent-setting effort to mobilize an frican (peacekeeping) solution to an African problem having now committed $238 million in support. The forms this support has taken have been varied and practical, including the leasing of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft and the loan of 105 armored personnel carriers to give AMIS some much-needed mobility.

()The Darfur imbroglio underscores the work to be done in terms of building a broad coalition of understanding and support for the normative aspirations embedded in The Responsibility to Protect; the need to redouble efforts to strengthen international capacities for prevention (he responsibility to prevent); and the need, more prosaically, to think in very concrete terms about the capabilities and conditions necessary for effective responses to real-world, real-time upreme humanitarian emergencies. In fairness, some of this kind of work continues to be done by Canadian government and non-governmental officials and organizations. In the run-up to the Olympics and G8 in 2010, it remains to be seen if this important work will enjoy the firm and sustained political support that Canadians and others expect given our previous advocacy on both Africa and the R2P. ()

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