15 March 2007
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
Email: [email protected] .org
In this issue: [R2P in the News; R2P and Darfur]
I. R2P in the News
HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE TO TACKLE 'R2P' RESOLUTION
II. R2P and Darfur
1.U.S. RATCHETS UP PRESSURE ON SUDAN; WARNS OF SANCTIONS
2.TORTURE CONTINUES IN DARFUR
3.SUDAN SHOULD ASSIST IN DEPLOYMENT OF DARFUR FORCE WITHOUT DELAY': UN RIGHTS MISSION
4.SUDAN; UK'S BLAIR URGES WORLD TO SEND TROOPS INTO SUDAN
I. R2P in the News
1. HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE TO TACKLE 'R2P' RESOLUTION
US States News
9 March 2007
The University of California at Berkeley issued the following press release:
A year after the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the "Responsibility to Protect" resolution, human rights groups are pressing world leaders to act on their declaration to stem genocide and other atrocities.
At the University of California, Berkeley, next Tuesday (March 13), the campus's Human Rights Center will launch the West Coast's first conference on how to implement the ambitious U.N. principle known as "R2P." The "Stopping Mass Atrocities" conference is being co hosted by Human Rights Watch and the Genocide Intervention Network.
The keynote speaker is Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, former commander of the U.N. peacekeeping troops during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In addition to his sold out opening speech at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dallaire will speak at a campus press conference at noon on Wednesday (March 14).
() If put into practice, R2P would place the safety of individuals caught in deadly conflicts above the sovereignty of a country in determining when international forces should step in. A critical case in point is the Darfur region of northern Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in the conflict between government militias and rebel leaders.
"My generation of human rights activists has spent a lot of time trying to end impunity and bring about justice and accountability for war crimes, but the area we neglected was moving upstream to try and prevent mass atrocities from ever happening," said Eric Stover, director of UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center, who has investigated war crimes in Iraq, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Cambodia, among other places.
() The conference also seeks to raise political and grassroots support for R2P and to establish a means to implement the "Responsibility to Protect" principle. ()
II. R2P and Darfur
1. U.S. RATCHETS UP PRESSURE ON SUDAN; WARNS OF SANCTIONS
15 March 2007
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday warned President Omar al-Bashir s Sudanese government that the international community is fast losing patience with the regime's prevarication over the decision to allow UN peacekeepers into its troubled Darfur province. Rice said that unless the regime abides by its commitment to allow a hybrid UN-African Union (AU) contingent into Darfur, the international community would be forced to take further UN action. The U.K. envoy to the UN, Emyr Parry Jones, yesterday warned that Sudans obstruction has prompted the Security Council to rethink plan B; a clear reference to a possible UN sanctions regime. The past week has witnessed growing signs of an emerging international consensus over Darfur, which is desperately needed to bring the protracted conflict there to an end. China's lucrative trade relations with Sudan, especially in the oil sector, have so far proved a crucial barrier to enabling the international community to adopt a common stance on Darfur. China's ambassador to the UN described Bashir's letter to the UN chief, Ban Ki Moon, in which Sudan's president appears to be backtracking from his commitment to the AU-UN deployment as disappointing (see Sudan: 14 March 2007).
Significance: International impotence over Darfur was underlined this week in a UN mission report that branded international efforts to halt the violence there as pathetic. Despite a unilateral U.S. sanctions regime, the Sudanese government has survived indeed thrived on the back of its oil revenues, relying on the Chinese as a vital lifeline. The belated consensus being struck by the United States and China is crucial in exerting the necessary pressure needed to resolve Sudan s bitter Darfur saga finally.
2. TORTURE CONTINUES IN DARFUR
The Irish Times
14 March 2007
"Killing of civilians remains widespread, including in large-scale attacks. Rape and sexual violence are widespread and systematic. Torture continues." Darfur. Again. A United Nations human rights team report on Monday demanded immediate UN action to protect civilians from a campaign in which it directly implicates Sudan's government.
() In September 2005 the assembled heads of state at a UN summit adopted a series of global commitments, among them the novel concept of a collective "Responsibility to Protect" the world's citizens - even against their own governments. State sovereignty, they agreed, could not be used to justify atrocities or to bar collective international action to protect those citizens. The concept requires that diplomatic and other peaceful means are tried first, but where "national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity", the UN Security Council may use Chapter VII of its charter to propose the use of military force.
Beyond strongly reinforcing the woefully inadequate African Union peacekeeping force on the ground, the UN could and should seek to impose an aerial no-fly zone over Darfur. But, despite many resolutions, the UN remains unable to act in the face of a genocide potentially on the scale of Rwanda and many times that in Srebrenica, held hostage by the veto powers of two states whose record on human rights is deeply questionable. In the circumstances, democratic nations, faced with a moral imperative to "protect", must regrettably be prepared to consider supporting military action outside the UN framework as they work on the other hand to reform its inadequate decision-making structures.
3. SUDAN SHOULD ASSIST IN DEPLOYMENT OF DARFUR FORCE WITHOUT DELAY': UN RIGHTS MISSION
States News Service
13 March 2007
The following information was released by the United Nations:
Sudan's Government should fully cooperate with the immediate deployment of a United Nations-African Union (AU) hybrid force for Darfur and end the targeting of civilians, while all armed rebel movements must also strictly observe human rights laws, the UN Human Rights Council's high-level mission to the region said in its report published today.
() The report says the Sudanese Government "has manifestly failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes, and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes."
Underscoring the "solemn obligation of the international community to exercise its responsibility to protect," the report details the grim situation in Darfur, highlighting that killing of civilians remains "widespread," along with the systematic use of rape and sexual violence. It also makes recommendations to the Council itself, the Sudanese Government, the various armed rebel movements and the international community.
"The Government of the Sudan should cooperate fully in the deployment of the proposed UN-AU peacekeeping/protection force without further delay," the report states. "Sudan should end the targeting of civilians in Darfur, cease all support for Janjaweed/militia forces, and proceed with the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of such forces."
The mission also called on the Government to remove all obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the millions in need in the region. ()
The report also calls on all armed rebel movements operating in the region to strictly observe and respect international law, and ensure the free and safe access and movement of humanitarian personnel. It also urges them to "cooperate in good faith" in the pursuit of peace.
In addition, it calls on the Security Council to take "further action" to ensure the protection of civilians in Darfur, including through the deployment of the proposed UN-AU force, while recommending that the Human Rights Council should help set up an independent national rights commission for Sudan "to address the grave situation." ()
4. SUDAN; UK'S BLAIR URGES WORLD TO SEND TROOPS INTO SUDAN
13 March 2007
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged the world to get tough with Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, saying troops should be sent into the country to stop chaos in Darfur from spreading.
Defending Britain's role in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Blair said global leaders had to be prepared to intervene wherever they thought security was being threatened.
"I would today take a far tougher line on Sudan," he said in an interview with Sky television. "I don't think we are able to send troops in but I certainly think the international community should be."
"I think it should be saying to the Bashir government: 'If you're not prepared to comply with what the United Nations is saying, we're going to get progressively harder with you.'," said Blair, who is expected to step down in a few months after a decade in power.
() Britain's ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday the U.N. Security Council should impose sanctions on Sudan after Bashir put conditions on U.N. plans to deploy peacekeepers in Darfur.
() "In the early 21st century the world is interdependent ... we should be prepared to intervene in order to prevent our security being threatened in the future. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can shut ourselves away from it." ()