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26 July 2006

Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society


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In this issue:

[R2P in the News, Darfur, Somalia, Uganda]

List of Articles:

I. R2P in the News



II. Darfur




III. Uganda/Somalia



I. R2P in the News

Gareth Evans

15-17 July 2006
G8 Summit 2006: Issues and Instruments

()What should be the response of the international community when faced with situations of catastrophic human rights violations within states, where the state in question claims immunity from intervention based on longstanding principles of national sovereignty? When, if ever, is it right for states to take coercive action, in particular military action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk within it? Whether or not they are on this G8 agenda, these questions simply have to be addressed, and a workable international consensus reached as to how to answer them.

The Conceptual Breakthrough. The good news is that the international community, after years of wrangling, has more or less agreed on basic principles. We have seen over the last five years the emergence of a new international norm the esponsibility to protect - of really quite fundamental ethical importance and novelty in the international system, and which one that may ultimately become a new rule of customary international law. ()

Unfinished Business. The not so good news is that we still cannot be at all confident that the world will respond quickly, effectively and appropriately to new human rights catastrophes as they arise. There are at least three pieces of unfinished business to attend to.

First, there is a need to persuade the Security Council to embrace specific guidelines for the legitimate use of military force, at least in the context of R2P, if not more generally. The Canadian Commission argued strongly that this was an integral part of the package: if we cannot get general agreement about which are the kinds of cases that clearly demand coercive military action, and which are those where the responsibility to protect should be exercised with less shattering effect, there is a risk that the R2P principle will be misused, and that such consensus around it as there is at the moment will evaporate. (In the minds of many, R2P was misused in Iraq by those arguing, in the absence of other plausible rationales, that Saddams tyranny against his own people particularly his large-scale violence against the Kurds and Shiites many years earlier fully justified his military overthrow.)

What is needed and the High Level Panel and Secretary-General have agreed is the adoption of five basic riteria of legitimacy to test the validity of any case made for a coercive humanitarian intervention. These criteria are, in short, the seriousness of the harm being threatened (which would need to involve large scale loss of life or ethnic cleansing, happening here and now and not in the distant past, to prima facie justify military action); the primary purpose of the proposed military action (to halt or avert harm); whether there were reasonably available peaceful alternatives; the proportionality of the response; and the balance of consequences whether, overall, more good than harm would be done.

There will always be argument about how these criteria should be applied in particular situations. Darfur is a tricky case in point: there is no doubt about the scale of the catastrophe and the international communitys responsibility to help resolve it, but coercive military force applied without Khartoums agreement in effect, an invasion would almost certainly be counterproductive. It is reasonable to assume, however, that if agreed criteria had to be systematically addressed every time force was proposed, there would be a much better chance of consensus being reached in these cases, and less risk of the Security Council being bypassed.

Second, we have to solve the problem of capacity, ensuring that if we are to exercise the responsibility to protect, and in particular the responsibility to react to clear and present dangers, the required civilian and military resources are always available in the right amounts. In the case of military capacity, those countries with apparently massive resources are often preoccupied with battles and deployments elsewhere, or have the wrong kind of troop configurations and equipment to do the fast and flexible jobs most often required. Throughout Europe in particular, in country after country, the number of troops operationally deployable at any given time is a tiny percentage of the men and women in uniform. Elsewhere in the world, there may be no apparent shortage of boots able to go on the ground but there will be issues of training, command, control and communications capability, transportability and general logistic support. Unless these problems are tackled, R2P will often be more theoretical than real.

Last but not least, there is ever-recurring problem of generating the political will to act. For most countries this is hardest to find when military force is involved, even if the required capacity is there, but it is also needed to mobilize non-military coercive action like sanctions or bringing atrocity crime suspects before international criminal courts, and it is also a requirement even for utterly non-coercive preventive action, like targeted development assistance, which may nonetheless involve expensive resources and the commitment to apply them effectively. Finding the will to do anything hard, expensive or politically sensitive is just a given in public affairs, domestically or internationally. Its absence should be the occasion not for lamentation, but mobilization.

Part of the task here must be to generate much more widespread understanding and support for the responsibility to protect concept itself. It is becoming better known by policymakers and those in the media and elsewhere who influence them. But R2P is not yet a household term anywhere in the world and it needs to become one everywhere. We have to get to the point where, when the next conscience-shocking mass human rights violation comes along, the reflex response, of both governments and publics around the world, is to find reasons to act, not reasons to pretend it is none of our business. And that means some sustained campaigning by all those of us who take seriously - as we must, despite all the backsliding case after case the battle cry ever again! Our common humanity demands that the responsibility to protect be a permanent item on the global security agenda as a matter not just of principle but of operational practice.

Gareth Evans is President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, He was Co-Chair of the International
Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and a member of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

Full text:


The Guardian

Salim Lone

22 July 2006

Kofi Annan finally made the headlines yesterday with his call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East crisis

()Complicity in a war with such a high civilian toll is unprecedented in this era. It is particularly odious because all these leaders had, at last September's extraordinary UN summit, solemnly hailed as a historic milestone the declaration on the "responsibility to protect" civilians during conflict, labeling this protection as one of the most urgent global priorities.

The world's carefully constructed international system for maintaining peace and security, built around the UN charter, is now on its last legs. It tackles crimes by the weak but is mute and unresponsive in the face of lawless behaviour by the powerful. ()

Salim Lone is a former spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq

Full text:,,1826360,00.html

II. Darfur

Africa Action Press Release
25 July 2006

() The U.S. can and must be the one to break the deadlock on Darfur. The U.S. has unique power and leverage with the government of Sudan that can end the stalemate and advance the goal of a UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur. The U.S. also remains the only government to have publicly acknowledged that what is happening in Darfur constitutes genocide, though it has failed to articulate or pursue a strategy to improve the security situation on the ground. If the U.S. is committed to ending this genocide, it must use its power to protect the people of Darfur and secure the necessary UN peacekeeping force now.

()Africa Action has previously pointed out that the current relationship between the U.S. and Sudan features "strategic priorities", such as intelligence-sharing, that have undermined a stronger U.S. response on Darfur. As the world seeks Khartoum's acquiescence to a UN mission, and as the U.S. claims a commitment to ending this crisis, this relationship gives the U.S. special leverage to pressure Khartoum to accept a robust Chapter VII UN peacekeeping force for Darfur. The Sudanese government wishes to strengthen its ties with Washington, and ultimately "normalize" relations, and the Bush Administration must use all available pressure points to force the necessary action from Khartoum and to pave the way for a UN mission to protect civilians and humanitarian operations, and to support the goal of peace in Darfur:

* The U.S. should make clear to Khartoum that the future of U.S. relations with Sudan depends on Khartoum's cooperation with the international community in allowing a UN peacekeeping mission into Darfur. The Sudanese government had previously stated that it would welcome a UN mission after the signing of a peace deal in Abuja, and it must now adhere to this commitment. President Bush has repeatedly stated that a UN mission is needed in Darfur and he should call President Bashir directly to convey this position and the expectation of Sudanese cooperation in this regard.

* The U.S. should push for new sanctions against senior Sudanese government officials responsible for the continuing violence in Darfur, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1591. Thus far, only four individuals have faced sanctions, and no sitting Sudanese official has been targeted. The U.S. should seek further targeted sanctions through the Security Council, including asset freezes and travel bans.

* The U.S. should offer its cooperation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its proceedings against those charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The relationship between the U.S. and Sudan, particularly with regard to counter-terrorism efforts, has provided the U.S. with unique insights and information that should be made available to the ICC.

* The U.S. should encourage other countries to enact comprehensive bilateral sanctions against Sudan, as the U.S. has had in place since 1997, precluding investment in Sudan's growing industry and other such economic relations. Such sanctions would register international outrage at the ongoing crisis in Darfur, for which the Khartoum government must be held responsible.

* The U.S. should use its relationships with governments around the world to "internationalize" pressure on Khartoum and create a united front for new and urgent action on Darfur. Just as the U.S. has leverage with the Sudanese government, it also has bilateral leverage with Sudan's allies on the Security Council (particularly Russia and China), and it must use this leverage now to enlist their support to pressure Khartoum to admit a UN peacekeeping operation into Darfur.

* While Khartoum's advance consent for a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur is desirable, the urgency of the crisis requires the Security Council to take new action regardless. Even as it takes steps to increase pressure on Khartoum, the U.S. must simultaneously seek the UN Security Council's authorization of a robust UN peacekeeping operation with a Chapter VII mandate and an expedited timeline.

Africa Action emphasizes that the U.S. is uniquely positioned to bring effective pressure to bear on Khartoum to accept the international community's demand for a UN mission in Darfur. By taking the steps described above, the U.S. will show that it is committed to protecting the people of Darfur, and that this is the priority in U.S. policy toward Sudan. New U.S. action is needed now to break the international deadlock and achieve a rapid and robust UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.

Full text:


UN News Service

24 July 2006

United Nations humanitarian staff in Sudans strife-torn Darfur region cannot reach at least one in five of those in need of assistance because of the ongoing violence and insecurity there, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported today.

Direct attacks against humanitarian workers, acts of banditry and fighting among rebel groups mean the UN has access to less than 80 per cent of beneficiaries, well below the rates achieved in 2004, according to UNMIS.

The mission said it is also worried that the security conditions inside some camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) are so poor that humanitarian operations there have been placed at risk. In Zamzam camp in North Darfur, the presence of arms belonging to elements of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), one of the regions rebel groups, is raising concerns. Last Thursday IDPs killed three government workers and a police officer at Zalengi camp in West Darfur.

The reports come as the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, completed a two-day tour of South Darfur as part of his regular visits to the three states in the region.

Mr. Pronk met South Darfurs governor and members of the local government yesterday, also holding talks with local UN staff and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers and inspecting a government-run camp for about 13,500 IDPs at Sureif.

Scores of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million others have been displaced since 2003 because of fighting between Sudanese Government forces, allied militias and rebels that has led to claims of civilian massacres, rapes and other atrocities.

Full text:


Star Tribune, Minneapolis


24 July 2006

Darfur, it is said, is the first genocide of the 21st century. That fact is beyond undoing, but the slaughter in western Sudan is not beyond stopping. What is needed is worldwide resolve -- a commodity that seems surprisingly scarce whenever mass murder occurs in Africa. But human conscience can't abide another Rwanda, the 1994 bloodbath that claimed nearly a million lives as the world looked on and did nothing.

The world's leaders seem to have grasped that point, but can't seem to settle on just how to intervene. Since Sudan's Arab-led government first lashed out at non-Arab tribes in 2003, such leaders have tried every diplomatic trick in the book to halt the atrocities. Top statesmen -- from Colin Powell to Kofi Annan -- have visited Sudan. The U.N. Security Council has twice condemned Sudan's conduct. Nations within and beyond Africa have helped broker cease-fires and peace deals. Yet through it all the genocide has continued -- claiming as many as 300,000 lives and forcing 2.5 million people into camps.

Push has definitely come to shove, and a meeting in Brussels last week underscored the calamity at hand. The only "peacekeeping" operation now in Darfur is run by a 7,000-member African Union force -- too thinly spread and underfunded to keep much peace at all. Money raised in Brussels will sustain the force only through September. But it's hard to know what benefit that investment can buy: Sudan's government militias -- known as janjaweed -- seem to have little trouble skirting the AU troops as they continue to torch villages and slay villagers.

It's plain a stronger presence is required, and President Bush deserves praise for saying so. After meeting with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir last Thursday, Bush called on Sudan to welcome U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur. Backed by all in the international community, that move has so far met resistance from Sudan.

The sponsor of genocide should not have the last word on this question. If reason and pressure can't move Sudan to make way for capable peacekeepers, the United Nations must act nevertheless.

Full text:

III. Somalia, Uganda


News 24, South Africa

23 July 2006

Unknown gunmen have killed 682 civilians - including a foreign journalist - in executions over the past year in Somalia, a local human rights group said in a report on Sunday.

The killings took place largely in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Some were for unknown reasons, others due to clan differences, said the report by the Dr Ismael Jumale Human Rights Centre.

Included in the reports of 682 killings is the slaying of Swedish journalist Martin Adler as he filmed a protest in Mogadishu in June.

An unidentified gunman shot Adler in the back.

The report covers human rights violations between July 22 2005, and July 20 2006.

It said that combatants killed 400 civilians and injured 1 500 during on-and-off fighting between Islamic militiamen and secular warlords for the control of Mogadishu that went from February to July.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for 15 years since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other.()

"At the present time, Mogadishu has one authority - the Islamic courts," the human rights group said.

It said it "urges Islamic courts officials to restore law and order, to rebuild all necessary judicial institutions and to form a regional administration".

About 20 women reported being raped by militiamen of various loyalties, the report said.

Militiamen and others killed 17 civilians kidnapped for ransom after their demands were not me.()

Full text:,,2-11-1447_1972100,00.html


BBC News

24 July 2006

Uganda's government has recruited the mother of Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony to try to end the long war.()

The LRA has killed and maimed thousands during the 20-year war. Mr Kony has refused to attend the talks personally.

Ugandan official Ruth Nankabirwa said the talks would be suspended for a week to allow time for Joseph Kony to be persuaded to take part. Previously he has cited security concerns in refusing to attend.

The official warned that Uganda was prepared to attack the rebel camp, should the peace negotiations fail.

When talks resume, Mr Machar said the parties would discuss a ceasefire and the disarmament and reintegration of fighters.

The two sides reached deadlock in the talks which began last week, with government negotiators refusing to sign a ceasefire agreement with the LRA before other issues had been dealt with, saying they might use the occasion to regroup and rearm.

The discussions in southern Sudan are considered north Uganda's best chance of peace in years.

Full text:

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