20 June 2006
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
In this issue:
- Visit the R2PCS 2006 Timeline http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/civil_society_statements/588?theme=alt1 for updated information on the international communitys response to the crisis in Darfur
- Calendar announcements:
The UN Peacebuilding Commission will have its inaugural meeting on 23 June
The UN Security Council will have an open debate on the protection of civilians on 28 June
- Journal article now available at http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/eupdate/587
Morada, Noel M. 2P Roadmap in Southeast Asia: Challenges and Prospects University of the Philippines Diliman / Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS)
Drawing from views and perspectives raised during workshops in eight cities in Southeast Asia between February and March 2005, this article attempts to draw a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) roadmap in Southeast Asia.
The report also covers discussion of when a crisis is at the threshold of a humanitarian crisis warranting intervention based on analysis of situations in Cambodia, Burma or Myamar and Southern Thailand
- News articles on:
I. R2P and the UN: Initiatives related to R2P and UN officials continue to hail R2P (4)
II. Foreign policy and R2P from around the world Canada, Denmark, Malaysia and SCO countries (4)
III. The continuing crisis in Darfur (5)
IV. The international communitys response to violence in Timor-Leste and the DRC (3)
I. R2P and the UN: Initiatives related to R2P and UN officials continue to hail R2P (3)
1. LAUNCH OF JOINT UNIVIL SOCIETY PARTNERSHIP AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT AND CRISIS SETTINGS
19 June 2006
United Nations organizations and civil society groups today announced a Joint Partnership to tackle sexual violence in conflict and crisis situations around the world. This Joint Partnership builds on existing initiatives and will address not only the threat that sexual violence poses to life and livelihood of survivors, but also the longer-term impact on community and national development.
Focusing on country-level efforts to combat sexual violence, the partnership will reach out to military and security communities to engage them, work to strengthen prevention through rule-of-law and access to justice, and expand services for survivors in the areas of health, psycho-social support and rebuilding dignity and livelihoods. The partnership will also develop a comprehensive evidence base for action through violence monitoring and tracking systems and dissemination of data analyses.()
The Joint Partnership will build on and strengthen existing collaboration within the United Nations on the issue, including guidelines developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance, that brings UN and non-UN humanitarian partners together, as well as the lessons and experience derived from the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence against Women, which UNIFEM manages. It will be the first initiative to combat gender-based violence that includes joint UN and civil society governing structures and resource mobilization processes. This is intended to significantly enhance and deepen partnerships, linkages and resources at local, national, regional and global levels to eliminate violence and provide much-needed assistance to those threatened by such violence.
For more information: www.unifem.org
2. A new deal on rights UN Human Rights Council has chance to establish credibility
Financial Times (London, England)
19 June 2006
the Human Rights Council (HRC), set up as part of a package of UN reforms, is going to have to work very hard indeed to rise above the almost total discredit into which the preceding Commission on Human Rights had fallen.
Its best chance of succeeding is to make rigorous use of a new peer review system designed to apply to all UN member states, however powerful. No country should any longer be able to deflect criticism of its behaviour by hiding behind the charge of "double standards"()
Cuba and China, as it happens, have been elected to the new council, along with other doubtful sponsors of human rights such as Saudi Arabia and Algeria. But under the review mechanism, members of the council must have their record examined during their period in office
The council will meet more often and for longer periods, and, while expanding the scrutiny of universal standards, will also have the power to convene to deal with emergencies - especially important now the UN as a whole has accepted its members' "responsibility to protect" people from genocide and crimes against humanity.
The US voted against the new council and declined to stand for it. But while the Bush administration appears to think it has thereby put the HRC on probation, much of the world will be watching to see whether the new body has the backbone to criticise the US for human rights abuses.
Full text: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/aca8b06c-ff2f-11da-84f3-0000779e2340.html
3. United Nations 'army' proposed: International rapid reaction force could be deployed within 48 hours of a UN green light
By Olivia Ward
15 June 2006
()This week, a group of academics, former officials and security experts are tabling a proposal they hope will change that by creating an international rapid reaction force that could be deployed within 48 hours of a green light from the United Nations.
Composed of up to 15,000 military, police and civilian staff, including medics and conflict transformation experts, it would be recruited from professionals hired by the UN from many countries, and based at designated UN sites. Its actions would be authorized by the UN Security Council.
Peter Langille of University of Western Ontario, an expert in conflict resolution, and one of the major contributors to the book entitled, A United Nations Emergency Peace Service: To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, which will be presented tomorrow at the UN, [said] "With countries moving away from UN peacekeeping, and troops overstretched in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, (the rapid reaction force) has new appeal."
()a UN force could help to head off horrendous massacres such as the Rwanda genocide and the current crisis in Darfur. It would also counter the widespread belief that "too little too late has become the rule, not the exception" for international peacekeeping. ()
With an independent force at their disposal, and no obligation to send in their own troops, the Security Council's often squabbling members would have less reason to drag out debates about when to intervene in crises.
()"That means not only dealing with genocide, but preventing armed conflict and protecting civilians, ensuring the prompt start of peace operations and addressing human needs" [says Langille.]
The new emergency force could cost $2 billion to establish, much less than the costly wars that have flared across Africa and Asia in recent years.
It would complement the UN's recently endorsed "responsibility to protect," a Canadian-backed doctrine that makes the world body's members responsible for intervening when a conflict threatens the lives of civilians.()
Peacekeeping professionals are in favour of the rapid reaction proposal in principle. But, they say, there are hurdles to surmount before such a force could be viable.
"The concept is sound but it would depend on who was willing to join up and ante up," says Canadian Col. Pat Strogan, vice-president of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. "If there weren't reluctance on the part of countries to contribute in the past it might have taken root by now."()
Sunil Ram, a peacekeeping expert and professor at the American Military University, said serious questions remain for the proposed UN emergency force.
"Security and logistics are two of the most important," he says. "It's good to fly people off to wherever they are needed, but it takes a lot of planning. First you have to get hold of the equipment. And if you ship in heavy equipment it could take 30 days if you're lucky. You could send in troops with rifles, but would they be able to create the kind of secure environment that's needed to protect people in conflict zones?"()
"There are too many looming challenges in the world for us to continue as we have. If we don't get around to better ways of co-operating we as a species will be challenged," [says Langille.]
Full text: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1150321812602
4. A moment of truth for the United Nations
Financial Times (Commentary)
By Kofi Annan
11 June 2006
()Last December, member states adopted a budget for the current "biennium" (2006-2007), but gave us authority to spend only enough to carry us through the first six months. The main contributors, led by the US, insisted that this spending cap should be lifted only when there is significant progress on UN reform. We are now perilously near the deadline
The US is trying to use the power of the purse to force through badly needed management reforms and these tactics have provoked a reaction among developing countries.
Most of these are well aware of the need to reform not least because it is in those countries that the UN provides vital services from peacekeeping and peace-building through emergency relief to strengthening human rights... Their quarrel is much less with the detail of proposed reforms than with what they see as the overwhelming influence of a few rich countries
[A]s Tony Blair, UK prime minister, recognised in a speech two weeks ago, the whole UN structure has to be reformed, including the Security Council
It is in all member states' interest to keep the UN running That means both sides in the argument need to turn down their rhetoric and engage in serious negotiations to work out a sensible compromise It is not just the composition of the Security Council that is stuck in the mid-twentieth century. Both the management and the attitudes of many governments to the organisation are caught in the same time warp...
The reform blueprint that I put forward last year reminded us all that the UN is founded on three legs development, collective security and human rights. And like any good chair they need a fourth: management reform. The UN has to help members advance on all three fronts at once
Some reforms have been achieved. Both the new Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission will meet for the first time next week. All member states have accepted responsibility to protect people threatened by genocide and comparable crimes. We have in place a much improved emergency relief fund, a democracy fund, an ethics office and a tougher system for protecting whistleblowers. Now we need better accountability and oversight arrangements, a stronger procurement system, more financial flexibility and better rules for recruiting and managing staff.
It is time for those who really care about reform to come together and form a new coalition one that bridges the artificial, destructive divide between north and south and brings together all those who are willing to work together because they share the vision of a UN that really works...
The writer is UN secretary-general
Full text: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/8a401878-f96a-11da-8ced-0000779e2340.html
[Article on the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide and Darfur]
5. Preventing Genocide - From Rhetoric to Action
Africa Renewal (New York)
By Ernest Harsch
1 June 2006
Despite obligations and commitments by world leaders to halt such mass slaughter, "people continue to be targeted for violence and murder solely because of their ethnic origin," Mr. Mendez noted, "most flagrantly" in Darfur, which he has visited twice since his appointment in 2004. In addition to urging the Sudanese government, African peacekeepers and the United Nations to do more to protect civilians from murder, rape and displacement, he called on citizens throughout the world to pressure their leaders "to go beyond rhetoric and act decisively." ()
In 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan outlined a plan of action to prevent future genocides. It involved five broad areas of activity: preventing armed conflict, protecting civilians during conflict, ending impunity for those guilty of perpetrating mass slaughter, ensuring early warnings of situations that could escalate into genocide, and taking swift and decision action -- by national governments, the Security Council and other bodies -- to block the development of genocide or halt it if it has begun.
To help spur movement in these areas, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Mendez in July 2004. ()
This emphasis on action to prevent genocide was reinforced at the September 2005 UN World Summit, when the "Outcome Document" unanimously adopted by member states agreed that both national governments and the international community have a "responsibility to protect" people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In addition to addressing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cte d'Ivoire and other countries, Mr. Mendez has sought to focus world attention on Darfur
Thanks to international relief efforts and the presence of a modest peacekeeping force, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), many lives have been saved, Mr. Mendez argued. But drawing on UN reports and his own two visits to Darfur, the special adviser stressed that "much more needs to be done, and urgently." ()
The time for strengthening the peacekeeping presence in Darfur "is now," said Mr. Mendez, "when the security situation in Darfur is getting worse and attacks on civilian populations are spilling over into Chad." This could take the form of a stronger AMIS or a future UN peacekeeping mission, to which the African Union has agreed in principle. ()
Mr. Mendez has noted that government consent for international involvement in protecting populations under threat "will always be preferable." But international action may also include, in limited cases, "non-consensual means when governments are unwilling or unable to protect their own citizens."
But the most important thing is to save lives. "Violence against persons targeted because of their ethnicity, race, religion or national origin is unacceptable," said Mr. Mendez
Full text: http://allafrica.com/stories/200606020005.html
II. Foreign policy and R2P from around the world Canada, Denmark, Malaysia and SCO
[Note: R2P is playing out as part of a leadership debate in the Liberal party in Canada connected with Canadas foreign policy and its role in Afghanistan.]
1. Responsible, liberal Liberals
A consensus is emerging among leadership hopefuls that protection takes precedence in Afghanistan, says former foreign affairs minister
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
By Lloyd Axworthy
06 June 2006
()There are some guideposts that might help to shape that consensus on Afghanistan and then, in the wider dimension of international peace-building.
First, Canada should begin to apply the principle of "responsibility to protect" to our mission in Afghanistan. R2P, as it is known, was a hard-won achievement for Canadian diplomacy that was accepted by leaders at last year's UN summit meeting
To utilize this Canadian-sponsored R2P principle in Afghanistan would mean recalibrating our strategy away from simply adopting the counterinsurgency followed by U.S. forces and developing one that focuses much more on the protection of civilians. After all, while NATO troops are off chasing the Taliban in the hills, hundreds of
schools and mosques are being attacked and their teachers and moderate imams being kidnapped or killed
The same rethinking should be brought forward in NATO councils and,
most importantly, an engagement should take place with the civilian representatives in the region to take their advice on how best to protect. Canada heretofore had developed the diplomatic art of knowing how to convene others, both governmental and non-governmental, to shape solutions
Of equal significance is to reallocate resources now dedicated to war-fighting in Afghanistan to other peace-building initiatives that cry out for attention and leadership. Darfur leads the list. There is equal need or participation in places such as northern Uganda where we can't even seem to muster enough resources to support an effort to
help children affected by war.
We were not selected to sit on the new UN peace-building commission because we had neither the requisite contributions in development assistance nor peace-making efforts to make us eligible. This is a real embarrassment for a country that once took the worldwide lead in helping to keep the peace.
The signs, that political leadership with a true understanding of liberal internationalism is coming to the fore, are a welcome antidote to the borrowed and failed ideologies of the Bush administration and its apologists who masquerade as Liberals...
Lloyd Axworthy is president and vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.
Full text: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060616.wxcoafghan16/BNStory/specialComment/home
Related: 18 June article in the Toronto Star continues coverage of this debate:
Book review: http://www.theweeklystandard.com/Check.asp?idArticle=12299&r=igtxe
2. Denmark backs transition to UN peacekeeping force in Darfur
UN News Service
18 June 2006
As an assessment team continues to hold discussions in Sudan on a possible transition from the current African Union mission in Darfur to a United Nations operation there, the Prime Minister of Denmark today told reporters following a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan that his country would back a UN force in the vast, strife-torn region.
enmark supports a UN takeover of the peacekeeping mission in Sudan, said Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, adding that the Government would ositively consider a military contribution if the UN requests so. ()
Asked about the status of that team, the Secretary-General said its work is continuing. hope the Government will agree to cooperate and support the force, because we are really going there to help the Government and to help the people of Sudan, he said. n the meantime, we are approaching governments informally but we will firm up that request once we have the agreement from the Sudanese Government and the Security Council has adopted the resolution authorizing a peacekeeping force in Darfur.r
Full text: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=18908&Cr=Darfur&Cr1=
3. MALAYSIA RECOGNISES NEED TO INTERCEDE ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS
Malaysia General News
13 June 2006
Malaysia recognises the need to intercede on humanitarian grounds in international conflicts, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today.
He said it was based on these principles that led Malaysia to participate actively to seek solutions to situations in the Balkans as well as other areas. ()
"Even so, there remains a whole range of questions that involve legal, moral, operational and political -- constituting the debate around humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect.
"The pre-occupation with human security should not lead to human insecurity," he said when opening an international conference on human security.
The two-day conference was organised by the Institute of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Thoughts under Universiti Utara Malaysia and Internaional Committee of Red Cross (ICRC).
Syed Hamid said "Principally, we recognise the need for states to take concerted action to prevent the situation from deteriorating to the detriment of its people.
"However, the actions must be in accordance with the respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states as well as observing the prinicple of non-interference," he said.
Meanwhile, Werner Kaspar, the head of regional delegation of ICRC, praised Malaysia for constantly demonstrating its action to address humanitarian emergencies. ()
Kaspar also commended the Malaysian armed forces for their active participation in peace support operations in various parts of the world such as in Cambodia, Congo, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Timor Leste. ()
Full text: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=203052
4. DECLARATION ON THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SHANGHAI CO-OPERATION ORGANIZATION
16 June 2006
On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (hereinafter referred to as SCO), the heads of state of SCO members - President N. Nazarbaev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China, President K. Bakiev of the Kyrgyz Republic, President V. Putin of the Russian Federation, President E. Rakhmonov of the Republic of Tajikistan and President I. Karimov of the Republic of Uzbekistan - met in Shanghai, SCO's birthplace, and stated as follows: I SCO was founded in Shanghai five years ago pursuant to a strategic decision made by its member states to meet challenges and threats of the 21st century and bring about durable peace and sustainable development of the region
()1. SCO has completed building of an institution and legal framework which ensures its effective functioning. 2. It has carried out close security co-operation focusing on addressing non-traditional security threats and challenges such as terrorism, separatism, extremism and drug trafficking. 3. It has adopted a long-term plan, set direction for regional economic co-operation and identified the goal, priority areas and major tasks of economic co-operation among member states. It has set up the SCO Business Council and the Interbank Association. 4. Following the principles of openness, non-alliance and not targeting any third party, it has actively engaged in dialogue, exchange and co-operation of various forms with countries and international organizations that, like SCO, are ready to carry out co-operation on an equal and constructive basis with mutual respect to safeguard regional peace, security and stability. ()
SCO holds that the United Nations, being the universal and the most representative and authoritative international organization, is entrusted with primary responsibility in international affairs and is at the core of formulating and implementing the basic norms of international law. The United Nations should improve efficiency and strengthen its capacity for responding to new threats and challenges by carrying out proper and necessary reforms in light of the changing international environment. In carrying out Security Council reform, the principles of equitable geographical distribution and seeking the broadest consensus should be observed. No time limit should be set for the reform, nor should a vote be forced on any proposal over which there are major differences
Threats and challenges can be effectively met only when there is broad co-operation among all countries and international organizations concerned. What specific means and mechanism should be adopted to safeguard security of the region is the right and responsibility of countries in the region. SCO will make a constructive contribution to the establishment of a new global security architecture of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and mutual respect. Such an architecture is based on the widely recognized principles of international law. Diversity of civilization and model of development must be respected and upheld. Differences in cultural traditions, political and social systems, values and model of development formed in the course of history should not be taken as pretexts to interfere in other countries' internal affairs
SCO member states support each other in their principled positions on and efforts in safeguarding sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. They will not join any alliance or international organization that undermines the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of SCO member states. They do not allow their territories to be used to undermine the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of other member states
SCO has the potential to play an independent role in safeguarding stability and security in this region. In case of emergencies that threaten regional peace, stability and security, SCO member states will have immediate consultation on effectively responding to the emergency to fully protect the interests of both SCO and its member states. Study will be made on the possibility of establishing a regional conflict prevention mechanism within the SCO framework. ()
Full text of SCO statement and more information about the meeting: http://www.sectsco.org/home.asp?LanguageID=2
III. The Continuing Crisis in Darfur
1. U.N. must act to put an end to horrors in Darfur
Chicago Sun Times
18 June 2006
Until recently, when more foreigners have been able to visit the war-torn region of Darfur in western Sudan, the story there seemed an uncomplicated expression of evil against righteousness... Now with a peace accord being reached with some of the rebel groups, but not all, the story seems more complex and confused. ()
To recognize that this is a complex situation is not to absolve the Sudanese government of the awful crimes committed on its part. "The reality [of rebel intransigence] has been obscured by Sudan's criminally irresponsible reaction to the rebellion: arming militias to carry out a scorched-earth counterinsurgency." Indeed the Arab Janjaweed forces, armed and funded by Khartoum, assigned to expunge the rebellion and foment chaos, instigated what has turned out to be genocide. And although the rebels bear a portion of the blame, the actions of Khartoum have led to 400,000 innocent Darfurians killed, more than 2.5 million rendered homeless and 4 million relying on humanitarian aid. The conflict has also been spilling into neighboring Chad, and although Kuperman argues that Khartoum is open to U.N. intervention, that is clearly not the case.
A group from the U.N. Security Council on a visit to Darfur last week was greeted with threats from local leaders. However, it is clear that the U.N. must take action, despite threats from rebel splinter groups. The largest of the rebel groups have been willing to sign a peace accord with the Sudanese government
Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who helped broker the peace agreements, remains dubious about the accord being respected, and he will be proved right if the U.N. does not step in to ensure peace is upheld
Full text: http://www.suntimes.com/output/commentary/cst-edt-edits18.html
Sudan: ICC Reports Evidence of Large-Scale Massacres
Africa News from Inter Press Service
15 June 2006
The chief prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) told the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that investigators have uncovered evidence of "large-scale massacres" in Darfur, Sudan, but stopped short of labeling the situation there "genocide".
Attacks on villages and refugee camps by Khartoum-backed Arab militias, or Janjaweed, have killed as many as 400,000 people over the past three years, and left another 700,000 homeless and without access to humanitarian relief.
In his third report to the Security Council since the case was referred to the ICC in March 2005, Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo said that the court's investigative team has compiled a Darfur Crime Database for the period October 2002 to May 2006, which shows that the violence began escalating in October 2002 and peaked from April 2003 to April 2005. ()
Although some of the massacres appear to have been carried out with "genocidal intent", he said, the issue is still being investigated and the prosecutor's office will not characterise the crimes until a full probe has been conducted.
He also noted that investigators are hampered by the precarious security situation in the countryside, and must be able to ensure that witnesses are able to testify without fear of reprisals. Moreover, many rape victims may opt to remain silent at the risk of being ostracised and rebuked, he said. ()
As a result, the ICC established a temporary office in eastern Chad where many displaced Darfur residents had sought refuge. However, fighting between rebel groups and the Chadian government effectively shut down the ICC's activities there in April The eastern Chad operations are currently still suspended.
The other challenge that could severely interfere with the prosecutor's pursuit of justice will be the court's ability to wield its jurisdiction, which depends in large part on how much cooperation the court gets from the Sudanese government.
Since Ocampo's formal announcement of the ICC investigation, the government of Sudan has established various courts and commissions to conduct its own probe of the Darfur atrocities, a move that has drawn criticism from groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Under its statute, the ICC is not allowed to explore a case once the Sudanese government has begun investigating or prosecuting the same charges.
The Sudanese government established the Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur (SCCED), two specialised courts, and other institutions that provide support to those courts, including the Judicial Investigations Committee, the Special Prosecutions Commissions, the National Commission of Inquiry and the Committees Against Rape. ()
News Report, told IPS. "However, there are statutes within the ICC's charter that would allow it jurisdiction in Darfur, if the U.N. had the political will to do so."
"While China and Russia have been blocking any U.N. action on Darfur, by working to weaken any resolutions that emerge from the Security Council on the subject, the U.S.'s aversion to the ICC has also been a factor in preventing the ICC from gaining a foothold in Sudan," Wolfe said.()
Full text: http://allafrica.com/stories/200606160004.html
2. Sudan: Security Council Told That Govt is Closer to Agreeing On UN Darfur Force
15 June 2006
The head of the United Nations Security Council delegation that recently visited the violence-wracked Darfur region of Sudan, said today that although agreement had not yet been reached with the Sudanese Government on allowing a UN force to take over peacekeeping duties there, such an agreement was now a "probability."
Briefing the 15-member Council, British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said that the visiting delegation was in full agreement with the view of the African Union (AU), which is currently providing a peacekeeping force to Darfur, that the UN should take over this role at "the earliest opportunity."
"By the end of our visit the mission felt that we'd edged further towards the probability of the Government of Sudan accepting such a deployment," Ambassador Parry said
Throughout the mission Ambassador Parry said the delegation had emphasized its "respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan" and stressed that the Security Council wished to work "in partnership" with the Government and the other main actors to tackle the range of problems that the country faces.
The Council also heard from Tanzanian Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga who stressed that expanding assistance to Darfur was "not an optional choice but an obligation,"
Full text: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=18876&Cr=sudan&Cr1=
3. No rush to go home in Darfur
By Adam Mynott
12 June 2006
Ali Alghali and his family have been living in Kerinding camp on the outskirts of el-Geneina, capital of West Darfur, for three years. ()
Mr Alghali told me they fled three years ago when the Janjaweed descended at night .
He wiped tears from his eyes as he described how his three-month-old daughter Wedad Ali was shot dead by one of the gunmen. ()
Returning? () "It is far too dangerous. People are still being attacked and killed. I cannot take my family home, they will be attacked."
This chronic state of insecurity ebbs and flows, but it has not improved significantly at any stage in the past three years. ()
On patrol () West Darfur [African Union (AU)] sector commander Colonel Ladan Bauchi Yusuf said: "In the face of glaring constraints in terms of manpower and resources, you can check around and see our achievements - everything is going fine." ()
But the AU doesn't have the equipment or manning levels to mount a sufficient number of patrols or checks on ceasefire violations to have a significant effect on continuing violence and human rights abuses. ()
Distrust Two United Nations teams have been in Sudan recently - one to look at the logistics of handing over control from the AU to the UN and the other a political mission hoping to persuade a reluctant government that the UN operation is in the country's and the international community's interests. ()
West Darfur's Wali, or governor, Gafar Abdul Hakam, said the people in his state wanted the AU to be reinforced rather than replaced by the UN.
There is a deep-seated distrust of the UN peacekeeping operation, which they feel is under the control and direction of the United States.
There is also a fear that a UN peacekeeping force could start to carry out arrests on behalf of the International Criminal Court.
Full text: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/5072782.stm
4. In Darfur, attempting to disarm a phantom army
The New York Times
By Lydia Polgreen
12 June 2006
Mistariha, Sudan - The armed men, usually off limits to foreigners, look almost, but not quite, like soldiers. Their allegiance does appear[s] to be to Musa Hilal the sheik who the State Department and human rights organizations say is an architect and perhaps the key leader of the fearsome Arab militias that have unleashed a torrent of misery in Darfur ()
"The greatest threat to this peace agreement right now is the janjaweed," said a senior military intelligence officer with the African Union who is not authorized to speak publicly. "It is not clear what is in it for them or how it serves their interests to disarm"
The first and most critical step of that agreement, signed in May between the government in Khartoum and the largest rebel faction, is the disarmament of the janjaweed. The government pledged to submit a plan to disarm the militias of their heavy weaponry one month after signing the agreement and to finish the job before the end of October. ()
Mr. Hilal wielded control over a fearsome tribal militia, and because of his deep connections to the Arab elite of Khartoum, he was the first tribal leader the government turned to when the insurgency among non-Arab tribes began, human rights investigators say.
He responded to the call by summoning recruits to enlarge his militia to thousands of men, who were trained and equipped in vast barracks here in Mistariha. ()
Officially, the town was called the headquarters of the government's Border Intelligence Unit, though it is about 120 miles from the nearest border, with Chad.
In Mistariha, Mr. Hilal took pains to explain that he was not a militia leader, merely an influential sheik [and] said repeatedly that the Arab militias he was accused of commanding simply did not exist. ()
Mr. Hilal's claim that he has no control over any militia does not bear scrutiny, said Alex de Waal, an Africa scholar who studies Sudan. "He is at the center of all of this," Mr. de Waal said.
In letters to government officials and other tribal leaders, Mr. Hilal has repeatedly said his fighters are engaged in a jihad, or holy war, and will not disarm even if the government demands it. ()
The janjaweed so far have not respected the new peace agreement
Indeed, the Arab militias did not sign the peace agreement. They were represented, after a fashion, by the government, which has steadily denied their existence.
Even so, one of the assumptions of the agreement was that the government had control over the Arab militias and the power to disarm them. This is based on a deeper assumption that the interests of Darfur's Arabs would be tended to by Khartoum. Neither is turning out to be true. ()
This is not the first time the government has promised to disarm the Arab militias. It pledged during seven separate rounds of peace talks over the past three years to neutralize them but has failed to do so. These failures have met with no sanction, so there is little confidence the government will take action now. ()
For some time, the government has been simply integrating the janjaweed militias into its official paramilitary Popular Defense Forces and the regular army, Mr. Prendergast said. That process is likely to speed up in the coming months
Under the peace agreement, [Arab Militias] are likely to lose control of land they stole, and there are deep fears that Arabs will be subjugated by the small but influential Zaghawa tribe, which leads the most powerful faction of the rebel. ()
Full text: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/12/news/darfur.php
Sudan: No Justice for Darfur Victims, Special Courts Failing to Prosecute War Crimes Human Rights Watch Press Release
5. Sudan: Security Council Must Secure Consent for U.N. Force Human Rights Watch Press Release
IV. The international communitys response to violence in Timor-Leste, the DRC and Somalia
1.. Senior UN envoy helps probe into Timor-Leste violence
UN News Service
14 June 2006
Continuing his efforts to help restore calm to Timor-Leste, the top United Nations envoy there today conferred with UN-recruited prosecutors on the criminal investigation into the fatal shootings in April and May...
s the Head of the United Nations here, I felt very strongly that that incident has to be investigated immediately, Secretary-General Kofi Annans Special Representative Sukehiro Hasegawa told reporters after the meeting, referring to the most deadly attack, on 25 May, when 10 unarmed National Police officers were killed and 20 other people wounded, including two UN police advisors.
A UN team is scheduled to visit the country shortly to assess a possibly robust increase in the residual UN presence still remaining there following a Security Council meeting ()
At present an international force including Australia, Malaysia and Portugal, which ceded colonial control of Timor-Leste in 1974, are helping to restore order at the Governments request.
The UN presence has been drawn down since the original UN Transitional Administration (UNTAET) was set up in 1999
Once independence was attained 2002, that mission was replaced with a downsized operation, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), which in turn was succeeded by the current, even smaller UN office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).
At least 37 people were killed overall in the wave of violence, according to UNOTILs Human Rights Unit. More than 130,000 people fled their homes, over a tenth of the total population and are now being cared for in makeshift camps with the help of UN agencies. ()
Full text: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=18854&Cr=&Cr1=#
2. TIMOR-LESTE: ANNAN APPEALS TO SECURITY COUNCIL FOR RENEWED UN ACTION
13 June 2006
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed for sustained international engagement in Timor-Leste as his special envoy formally introduced to the Security Council his recommendations for new UN action in the fledgling nation, including reformation of the police force and an investigation into deadly incidents that sparked the recent violence. ()
In his briefing, Mr. Annans envoy, Ian Martin, outlined recommendations for renewed international involvement he culled from his recent mission to the nation shepherded to independence by the UN four years ago, which is now in turmoil
Priorities include restoration of the security sector, including the long-term development of the national police, which he said as not completed in previous international efforts and has now encountered serious set-back and need for review.r
In addition, he said there was strong consensus that the UN should play a major role in the organization of elections for 2007 and in fostering national reconciliation, as well as establishing an independent Special Inquiry Committee to conduct an investigation to the deadly incidents of the past two months. ()
[Mr. Annan] also reported that he has asked Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner of Human Rights to take the lead in establishing the investigation committee. ()
Among such developments, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 150 tonnes of relief supplies ()
In addition, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) reports that it launched a measles campaign targeting some 30,000 displaced children ()
Full text: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=18836&Cr=timor&Cr1=leste
3. Interview With William Swing, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative (DRC)
From UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
12 June 2006
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to hold its first elections in 45 years on 30 July. Donors are providing almost half a billion dollars to fund the polls, and the United Nations peacekeeping mission there, known as MONUC, is responsible for transporting the electoral personnel and voting material to 53,000 polling sites around the country.
The head of MONUC, William Swing, is also the head of the country's International Committee to Support the Transition, which is made up of ambassadors from Angola, Belgium, China, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as representatives from the African Union and the European Union. The following are excerpts from an interview on 17 May:
Why do you think that with four million people dead, the DRC has not been able to garner as much international attention as, say, Sudan's Darfur?
()I think there certainly are reasons that the story [of the DRC] should be getting more attention. First of all, I think we can argue that it is one of the great human tragedies since the Second World War. You've lost all these people, but it was a war that happened largely in silence. Most of the people died not through bullets, but from the destruction of health centres and other institutions on which they depended.
Secondly, it's the only part of Africa that lacks a centre of political stability. in Central Africa, there is no centre of political gravity - and there won't be one until this country can come right. Of all the crises in Africa, the successful solution of this crisis would do more for Africa than any other ()
But is the Congo really ripe for elections?
We have to realise that the Congolese people are now in the fifteenth year of a transition. It started with the national conference, which went on for seven years. Then you had two wars over a period of five to six years. Now you have just about completed three years of another transition, and people are now, frankly, tiring It is time for elections... Looking at it technically and financially, there is no reason it shouldn't happen
How much of a panacea are these elections going to be given that one major opposition party [the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), headed by Etienne Tshisekedi] has decided not to participate and substantial parts of the east are still very unsettled and any elected government would be hard pressed to assert itself in that region?
You raise a really key question. Clearly the position of the United Nations and the international community in general has been from the beginning that these elections need to be politically inclusive. I think everyone regrets that the major political opposition party - one of the oldest parties here, 26 years old - that had been a great opponent of [late President] Mobutu [Sese Seko] decided in the end not to participate
In terms of the security in the east, there were about 24,000 foreign elements in the east, largely the forces that were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, mostly Rwandan. We have managed under our voluntary programme to repatriate in excess of the 13,000 of these. Which means there are about 10,000 left, and they are still there. But we do not conclude that they are going to be a major factor in the elections Also, we are putting them under great pressure - politically, legally and militarily - doing joint military actions that keep them out of the population centres... ()
So hopefully the election proceeds - but then what?
...A lot will depend on what the international community is going to do. Will we stay the course? That, it seems, is the major objective now. Not to make a confusion between the end of the transition - which that will clearly be - and the end of the transitional tasks. What do I mean by that? First of all, there will not be a fully integrated army; there will not be a new police force. You will still have these foreign, armed elements there. You will still have armed local militia forces that will need to be disarmed, and you will still have a need for the state authority to be extended to all parts of the country, which hasn't happened yet. So there is a major amount of work to be done. Institution building: Most of the institutions are in a fairly weak state and need support It will depend on what the new government is prepared to do and what we will do to help that new government.
Now the question is sustainability: How long will the member states of the United Nations and the Security Council be willing to sustain the effort here? ...Is it your worry that the election will send a signal that Congo is over the hump and they needn't be as engaged with it?
I know from past experiences that there is a tendency for elections to be seen as an exit strategy. we have to be more focused on what I call a sustainment strategy. Because in a way the elections are the beginning. Up to now we have been in a transition, trying to achieve a modicum of reconciliation that would allow the people to close ranks and say we're all Congolese But the real problem now will be how to achieve a real peace dividend. So my concern is that [y]ou will have an exponentially expanding set of expectations. You've had a good election, and you'll have pressure for the international community to look elsewhere because there is always going to be another crisis. we're in competition for scarce resources.
We have to maintain what we have [in the Congo]. We have 17,000 troops on the ground, but that is the same number that we had in several other countries like Sierra Leone. And this country is 24 times the size of Sierra Leone. This is why we are very pleased that the European force is coming in. We've gotten very strong support from the Security Council They've passed these resolutions to keep this as a constant effort
(This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)
Full text: http://allafrica.com/stories/200606120115.html