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3 January 2007
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In this Edition: [Kofi Annan and R2P, Darfur]

I. Kofi Annan and R2P


II. Darfur and R2P


I. Kofi Annan and R2P

Amin George Forji
South Korea OhmyNews
1 January 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly of the outgoing U.N. Secretary General

As the New Year emerges, so does a new era begin for the world governing body, the United Nations (U.N.), whose Secretary General, Kofi Annan will be stepping down to give room to the South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon as the new world's top administrator.

()So, how will Annan be remembered?

()The sweeping reforms aside, Annan throughout his two terms strongly advocated for human rights and the rule of law -- a move that won him much respect globally. In fact, in 2001, he together with the U.N. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for championing the promotion and protection of human rights and development, and "for bringing new life to the organization."

As Lee Feinstein, a U.N. expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, said of Annan,
"His greatest accomplishment was to set a framework that moved the U.N. from one century to the next, the response to mass atrocities, the central role of democracy, the importance of human rights, and a priority to development.

He also spoke consistently about the humanitarian situation in Darfur, and pushed world leaders to intervene to stop the atrocities.

His greatest achievement is perhaps the doctrine of "humanitarian intervention," which he introduced to bring governments and leaders massacring their own people to account. Despite resistance from some countries, 191 states ended up endorsing what is now known as the "the responsibility to protect," in 2005.

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Ramesh Thakur
Special to The Daily Yomiuri
26 December 2006

If a week is a long time in national politics, then a decade is an eternity in international politics. The world has witnessed many profound changes in the 10 turbulent years of Kofi Annan's term as secretary general of the United Nations. Many--but not all--were for the good.

() Annan's most precious legacy likely will be the elevation of human rights and humanitarian protection as a central plank of U.N. concern, spurred by the shocking failures of Rwanda and the Balkans. With the decline in interstate wars, the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security in practice translates into tackling internal armed conflicts. The world has made significant progress in criminalizing atrocity crimes and enhancing the prospects of holding perpetrators to international account. The confidence of sovereign impunity that perpetrators of atrocities enjoyed has softened, if not entirely disappeared. Slobodan Milosevic and Augusto Pinochet may have cheated criminal conviction, but the circumstances of their deaths would not have been of their own choosing.

The new norm of the responsibility to protect, championed by Annan, captures the convergence of some significant trends in world affairs. Previously, there were few restrictions on the right of states to use force within and across borders. Our understanding and appreciation of human rights and commitment to their promotion and protection have deepened and broadened. The vocabulary of democracy, good governance and human rights has become the language of choice in international discourse.

() Over time, the chief threats to international security have come from violent eruptions of crises within states, including civil wars, while the goals of promoting human rights and democratic governance, protecting civilian victims of humanitarian atrocities, and punishing governmental perpetrators of mass crimes have become more important. Because of the changing nature and victims of armed conflict from soldiers to civilians, including through deaths caused by conflict-related disease and starvation, the need for clarity, consistency and reliability in the use of force for civilian protection lies at the heart of the United Nations' core security mandate.

The U.N. record of policy innovation, conceptual advances, institutional adaptation and organizational learning under Annan has been underappreciated. We have seen this over the past decade with respect to peace operations, human security and human rights, atrocity crimes and international criminal justice, smart sanctions, and what Annan describes as particularly important to him--the responsibility to protect innocent civilians caught in the cross fire and victims of atrocity crimes.

Some argue that the U.N. Charter was written in another age for another world. For many others, it remains vitally relevant. It is the framework within which the scattered and divided fragments of humanity come together to look for solutions without passports to problems without borders.

Many of the most intractable problems are global in scope and will most likely require concerted multilateral action that is also global in its reach. But the policy authority for tackling them remains vested in states, and the competence to mobilize the resources needed for tackling them is also vested in states. This strategic disconnect goes some way to explaining the United Nations' recurrent difficulties on many fronts and the often fitful nature of its responses. How Ban Ki Moon, Annan's successor, handles this will help to determine his legacy in turn.

()The United Nations' very strength as the common meeting house of all the world's countries is a major source of weakness with respect to efficient decision-making. Even so, we must never fall victim to the soft bigotry of low expectations. Rather, we must always hold the organization to the more exacting standard of exalted expectations. That is the final tribute to a fundamentally decent man with generous instincts who raised the bar of people's aspirations, but whose generous interpretations of the conduct of others sometimes proved sadly misplaced.

Thakur is senior vice rector of the U.N. University in Tokyo and assistant secretary general of the United Nations. His most recent book is "The United Nations, Peace and Security: From Collective Security to the Responsibility to Protect" (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

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Voice of America
Andre de Nesnera
21 December 2006

Many experts say Mr. Annan leaves a mixed legacy. On the one hand, his quiet dignity made him a strong voice for individual rights, for development and the poor. Some even called him the conscience of the international community, and the United Nations and Mr. Annan shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

On the other hand, Mr. Annan could not persuade member states to agree to his plan for sweeping U.N. reforms and his reputation was tarnished by the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal.
Those who study the United Nations say one of Kofi Annan's greatest triumphs was persuading member states to agree on a principle known as "the responsibility to protect."

Karl Inderfurth, a former deputy U.S. representative on the U.N. Security Council, says the principle addresses the issue of intervening in cases of genocide or ethnic cleansing, such as in Rwanda. "So what do you do, though, when a government is not protecting its own people? What do you do when there is no rule of law -- like in Somalia, where you've got competing factions? What do you do when there is, as we saw in Rwanda with genocide - what do you do to protect those who need protection within a country?

The doctrine that Kofi Annan championed, that the world's nations have the "responsibility to protect" those who are helpless in the face of power or tragedy, has now been accepted by the United Nations. Inderfurth says, however, the key issue is how do you implement it? He sees that as one of the principal challenges facing Ban Ki-moon. ()

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The Economist
18 December 2006

WHATEVER disadvantages Ban Ki-moon brings with him as he takes his seat as the eighth secretary-general at the UN on January 1st, he at least lacks the baggage that burdened the man heading out of the door, Kofi Annan. ()

Mr Annan's record, inevitably, is a mixed one. Enjoying few powers of his own, the secretary-general has influence only when strong states co-operate. Mr Annan, who is seeing out his final days with a series of high-profile speeches, last week used a talk in Missouri to scold America for not working better with other countries--a lament that might be seen as a sign of his own frustrations.

()At other times Mr Annan's office and the White House agreed on what should be done, but achieved little. In Sudan, where horrors in Darfur have been compared to genocide (by American officials, for example) Mr Annan wants the deployment of a powerful UN peacekeeping force. Darfur is a case study for his principle of the "responsibility to protect", which argues that outside powers should act if states fail to guard their people from genocide and the like. Taken seriously, that would undermine traditional notions of sovereignty. Although the member states endorsed the idea at a summit in late 2005, it has yet--in the absence of a standing army deployed by the secretary-general, or of substantial military support from member states--to translate into anything meaningful. In Darfur, disappointingly, it has amounted so far to almost nothing.

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II. Darfur and R2P

Opheera McDoom
31 December 2006

As African U.N. chief Kofi Annan steps down on Sunday, many fear that the Darfur war, called the world's worst humanitarian crisis, will fall off the world body's top agenda and become a forgotten disaster.

()Some within the U.N. system fear an Asian secretary-general will not focus on African issues like Darfur as much as Annan and his fellow outgoing colleagues like U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland have.

"By this time in a year people will have moved on and forgotten about Darfur," said one U.N. official in Khartoum who declined to be named. "No one can see a solution and so eventually it will drop off people's agenda."

Some say Ban's declared focus on diplomatic efforts to resolve Darfur, which have to date produced few results, are not a positive sign that the United Nations will take stronger action to stop violence in Sudan.

"The first thing is that Ban Ki-Moon has made a statement that ... there's no military solution to this problem," said Lee Feinstein, of the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S.-based think tank. "I'm not sure that Ban gets off on the right foot in emphasising the diplomatic approach."

() Before leaving Annan appointed a special envoy to Darfur, Jan Eliasson, to lobby European capitals, and nominated another personal envoy, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, to meet President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to try to convince Khartoum to accept a compromise U.N.-African Union hybrid force. Bashir also rejected this.

"Annan seems to have fully awakened to the realities of Darfur and the very real possibility that the region will be completely abandoned, destined to sink below detectable levels on the 'to-do list' of the incoming secretary-general," said Mia Farrow, the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) goodwill ambassador and Darfur activist.

() U.S. activists vow to keep Darfur at least on Washington's agenda, saying not since anti-apartheid campaigns in South Africa has the U.S. public been so passionate about Africa.

U.S. special envoy, Andrew Natsios, has threatened unspecified actions against Khartoum if no progress is made by the end of 2006. But some feel a desire to take real action is lacking in the U.S. administration.

"It was a naked bluff, reflecting the impetuousness of Natsios and the lack of real commitment on the part of the administration generally," said Eric Reeves, a U.S. academic.

But Reeves warns if Darfur does drop off the world agenda, it would set a horrific precedent for future conflicts.

"If Darfur is allowed to wither amidst a relentless genocide by attrition, then the whole notion of a 'responsibility to protect' will be another victim of the genocide," he said.

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BBC News
27 December 2007

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has said in a letter to the UN he backs plans for a join UN-African Union force in the troubled region of Darfur.

In the letter to the secretary general, Mr Bashir says he wants to begin "immediately" to implement UN plans.

However, diplomats note that Mr Bashir remains opposed to any large-scale UN deployment and has gone back on agreements on Darfur before. ()

Hybrid force
() Mr Bashir says Sudan agrees to the first two parts of the UN plan - deployment of new staff and equipment to the African Union force followed by a larger support package.

However, the third part of the UN plan - the size and command of the new force - is not finalised in the letter.

And UN diplomats expressed fears that carrying out plans through a special panel - the Tripartite Committee of Sudan, the UN and the AU - would give Khartoum an effective veto.

Sudan's change of heart on its previous opposition to UN participation follows international threats of trade sanctions and of a ban on aircraft movements over Darfur, to stop bombing raids by government forces.()

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