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Dear Colleagues:

Please find below excerpts from articles on the following:

-Joint Statement from Canada-EU on R2P.
-Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell on the importance of the UN's adoption of R2P precedent at September summit.
-Lloyd Axworthy on R2P as a reorganization of the international system
-MP David Kilgour's criticism of Canadian policy on Darfur .
-Darfur Peace and Accountability Act is passed by the U.S. Senate.
-Jennifer Cook on Darfur and the future of U.S.-A.U. relations.
-Zimbabwe on verge of humanitarian crisis due to Mugabe's forced relocations.
-Phillip Kirsch, President of ICC, on the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials.

Regards,

Gaia Filicori


The November 24 Canada EU Joint Statement includes a strong forward looking reference to R2P:

"The EU and Canada underlined the need for early and full implementation of the reforms agreed at the UN World Summit, and we expressed our support for the plans of the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Jan Eliasson, in particular the commitment to establish a new Peacebuilding Commission and a Human Rights Council, as well as wide-ranging management reforms. We pledged to continue working together on WMD non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control multilaterally. We also welcomed the important agreement on the "Responsibility to Protect". We look forward to seeing these principles reflected in future decisions of the UN Security Council, and agreed to work together to ensure that the "Responsibility to Protect" is implemented by the international community. "

link to full statement



Report Card from America: UN Reform

By Newt Gingrich, George Mitchell

November 28th, 2005

We were co-chairmen of a bipartisan task force that was authorized by the U.S. Congress late last year to study ways to make the United Nations more effective. The group spanned a very wide range of political and ideological perspectives, and we couldn't agree on everything. But when we issued a consensus report in June, what was most striking was the extent to which we were able to find common ground, including our most important finding, which was ''the firm belief that an effective United Nations is in America's interests.''

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Among the findings and our further recommendations:

Human Rights and Genocide Prevention

Our task force called on the U.S. government and the UN to ''affirm that every sovereign government has a 'responsibility to protect' its citizens and those within its jurisdiction from genocide, mass killing, and massive and sustained human rights violations.'' World leaders endorsed this general principle, which is a very significant step in light of past international resistance to any provision that would seem to endorse interference in a state's ''sovereign internal affairs.''

It is critical that this principle be understood broadly to encompass mass killings and massive and sustained human rights violations, whether or not they meet technical legal standards for genocide . The outcome document's conclusion is also consistent with the task force's view that in certain circumstances, a government's abnegation of its responsibilities to protect its own people is so severe that the failure of the Security Council to act must not be used as an excuse for the world to stand by as atrocities continue.

Darfur

Our task force addressed Darfur directly, recommending a series of immediate initiatives for the United States, the UN and others, including establishment of a no-flight zone. Although the outcome document did not address this issue, it is clear that international action is still urgently needed. African Union troops in Darfur are unable to protect themselves, let alone those they were sent to protect.

(...)

link to full article


Former foreign minister wants to "re-wire" UN

By Fabian Schweyher

The Budapest Times
November 21, 2005



"After the fall of the Berlin Wall the world began to build networks for a common response, but these efforts were destroyed by the US's aggressive and go-it-alone stance in the aftermath of 9/11," the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Lloyd Axworthy, said last Thursday in Budapest. "Disasters like the recent hurricanes served as a shock treatment to the world in overturning the trap of obsessive pre-occupation with counter terrorism and recognising the need to rediscover the true meaning of security - the idea of human security."

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Furthermore, the world has the responsibility to protect, said Axworthy, using the conflict in Kosovo as an example. "If a state legitimately protects its citizens then it is in full right of its sovereign power. If it fails to do so, then the international community must assume this function," he said.

This responsibility could become a template for re-organising the global system around a principle that can apply to a wide variety of global issues and set in motion the re-invention of global governance, Axworthy said. He mentioned a Canadian initiative for setting up "white" and "green" helmets to assist in the economic, social and environmental security issues beside "blue" helmets to provide physical security.

"We have a blueprint that could well provide the forthcoming assembly session with a framework in which to re-wire the UN system to make it an effective instrument for responding to the contemporary risks of civil conflict and global calamity," he said.

link to full article


The Word is Genocide:
By declaring the regime in Khartoum innocent of genocide, Canada can continue to do nothing to stop the killing

By Hon. David Kilgour, M.P.

Ottawa Citizen
November 25, 2005

the response to the continuing horrors in Sudan's western province of Darfur is evidence of an indifference that suggests the Canadian government has forgotten the important lessons of the Rwandan tragedy.

The recent declaration in Sudan's capital by all three members of the prime minister's task force that the murders in Darfur did not qualify as genocide is only the most recent indication. Ambassador Robert Fowler, the government's issue manager, reportedly downplayed the entire situation by asserting that it is simplistic to blame the Sudanese government for what continues to occur in Darfur. Both messages were presumably intended to convince Canadians that the ongoing crisis is not really as serious as many of us think.

We certainly live in unfortunate times. Two well-researched books were published very recently about this government-created catastrophe, which was escalating even as the books reached bookstores. Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide by Gerard Prunier of the University of Paris, who also wrote about Rwanda's experience in 1994, is clear that the mass killings, gang rapes and forced-starvation deaths of displaced Darfurians -- being "Africans" -- at the hands of "Arab" janjaweed militias, are continuing. Another brutal raid by 400 janjaweed and government of Sudan helicopter gunships on three villages in West Darfur occurred only a few weeks ago.

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Julie Flint and Alex de Waal (of Harvard University's Global Equity Initiative), who wrote the second book, Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, have done research, together or separately, on Sudan for fully two decades..

Short History documents the detailed planning, creation and control of the regime over the various militias. Musa Hilal, head of the janjaweed in Darfur, has made it clear that the goal of his political masters in Khartoum and himself is to "empty (Darfur) of African tribes." With an estimated 400,000 African Darfurians dead of unnatural causes -- probably about half murdered -- since April 2003, it's difficult to see how any impartial body would not find a deliberate violation of the UN convention on genocide.

The UN commission of inquiry, though declining to reach this conclusion, at least had the courage to note that between 700 and 2,000 villages across Darfur were destroyed in a "nightmare of violence," and to find that the widespread and systematic pattern "may amount to crimes against humanity."

Whether war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity, Khartoum is continuing to use national sovereignty as a shield for mass murder against the African community in its western province. Governments such as Canada's, following the unprincipled lead of others, declare the regime innocent of really heinous acts and can thus continue to do nothing effective to stop the killing. What happened to our federal government's responsibility-to-protect principle when hundreds of thousands of Darfuri villagers desperately need it? Or to our much-cited human-security policy?

link to full article


Religious, Human Rights Groups Praise Senate for Passing Bill to Help Stop Genocide in Darfur, Sudan; Bi-Partisan Groups Call for House to Pass Bill in Strongest Form Possible

US News
November 19 2005

The Save Darfur Coalitiontoday praised the Senate for passing the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (S. 1462) last night and urged leaders in the House of Representatives to pass the bill in the strongest form possible.

The Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, endorsed by the Save Darfur Coalition, has 37 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 105 in the House of Representatives. Among its provisions, the bill authorizes additional U.S. assistance to the African Union's peacekeeping force in Sudan, calls for a new U.N. Security Council resolution concerning Darfur, and provides for additional sanctions against the perpetrators of the genocide.

"The Senate has done its job, and now the House International Relations Committee needs to do its part by sending a strong bill with real teeth to the House floor for a vote," said Richard Cizik, vice president for Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. "Congress needs to pass legislation that provides resources for African Union troops, consequences for the Sudanese government, and directs the Administration to prioritize this fight."

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"Now is the time for action. We need to use the moral, physical, and economic strength of America to stop what the Bush Administration has already deemed genocide," said Coalition Coordinator David Rubenstein. "As the situation worsens, the people of Darfur desperately need more than just empty words from House members, they need action. We are grateful to Senators Brownback and Corzine for sponsoring the bill, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Lugar for discharging it out of his committee with a positive recommendation, and Senate Majority Leader Frist for bringing it to the floor."

link to news-source


HEARING OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICAN AFFAIRS OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: AFRICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS: CROSS-CONTINENTAL PROGRESS

November 17 2005

JENNIFER COOKE, CO-DIRECTOR, AFRICA PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES:


Mr. Chairman, it is in the U.S. national interest to support the nation's sense of collective African responsibility. This goal should be a long term priority of U.S. foreign policy. For the U.S. to be successful in this arena, however, it will need to take three steps to build more systematic, reliable, bipartisan U.S. engagement.

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the U.S. has to respond more effectively to the ongoing emergency in Darfur. Beyond the evident humanitarian costs of the conflict, the current intervention is an early test of A.U. commitment, capacity and credibility of future efforts. We can't allow this mission to fail.

The administration is to be commended for the critical high level attention it has given to this crisis, but U.S. leadership should push for an expanded U.S. peacekeeping role in Darfur. This request has to come from the A.U. if it's going to apply within the Security Council. We need to urge A.U. leadership to put a direct and persuasive request to the Security Council to partner with the A.U. in Darfur.

The U.S. should also work to place greater diplomatic pressure on the parties to the conflict, potential regional spoilers and international stakeholders. President Bush, for example, has a prime opportunity this week to signal to the Chinese government the importance he attaches to Darfur and to ask China for greater cooperation in resolving the crisis there.

We also need to ensure, though, that in responding to this crisis we don't undermine efforts to build enduring A.U. capacities. U.S. support will be critical to the African Union's future and the African Union's success will be important to advancing U.S. stakes in Africa.


link to news-source


Zimbabwe: sound and fury, but where's the action?: Despite leading his people to the brink of starvation, Mugabe remains unchecked

Guardian Weekly: Comment & Analysis
November 18, 2005

Christopher Dell, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, did not mince words. President Robert Mugabe's government was guilty of gross mismanagement and corruption, Mr Dell said in a recent speech. "No wrongs are righted. The rule of law (is) in a shambles."

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Mr Dell is not alone in his criticisms. Thirteen western governments including Britain issued a joint statement in Harare this month demanding Mr Mugabe accept that Zimbabwe faced a deepening crisis, caused in part by the government's urban clearance operation, Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order).

"Tens of thousands of people (are) still homeless and in need of assistance five months after the eviction campaign began," the statement said. It urged Mr Mugabe to reverse his decision to reject international aid as unnecessary. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, made a similar appeal, saying he was "deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation".

Whatever the Mugabe government may say, Zimbabwe's position looks increasingly perilous. Various estimates suggest food shortages now affect half the population; 4 million people face famine. Average life expectancy has halved in a decade, the economy has contracted by 30% in six years, and unemployment is about 70%.

A special UN inquiry last summer condemned Operation Murambatsvina as a "catastrophe" that violated international law. It had displaced 700,000 people and affected another 1.7 million. Unicef estimated 250,000 children were made homeless.

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Critics of British and western policy say a tougher, more proactive approach is needed if the UN's "responsibility to protect" principle is to have any meaning, and if many Zimbabweans are to be saved from a coming catastrophe.

"Mugabe's brutal expulsion of white farmers was only a trial run. He has since persecuted and starved hundreds of thousands of black Zimbabweans," Andrew Mitchell, the shadow international development secretary, said last week. "The government should be doing more to coordinate a response with what used to be called the frontline states, the UN and other African countries, particularly South Africa.

"You try everything. You don't take no for an answer. What Mugabe is doing is immoral and wrong."

(link to full source unavailable)


Nuremberg Trials a Tough Act to Follow

David Crossland

For Philippe Kirsch, the Canadian president of the new International Criminal Court, traveling to Nuremberg for the 60th anniversary of the trials of Nazi leaders must have been a tad frustrating. The United States, the driving force behind the Nuremberg trial, has refused to join the ICC because it is worried that U.S. soldiers on missions abroad might be subject to politically motivated prosecutions by such a court. That stance is totally unwarranted, says Kirsch with more than a hint of irritation.

"The spectre of politically motivated prosecution which is a running theme against the ICC is so unfounded that it is to me intellectually difficult to understand," he told journalists in Berlin earlier this week ahead of a speech he held at the American Academy.

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China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey have not signed the treaty under which the court was set up in 2002. Among countries that signed up but have not yet ratified it are Egypt, Iran, Israel and Russia. So far 100 countries have ratified the court, including Germany, France and Britain. Jordan is the only Arab state which has thus far joined. In Kirsch's view, it's only a matter of time before acceptance of the ICC grows worldwide.

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The ICC's biggest investigation so far is into mass killing and rape in the Sudanese region of Darfur. It has also unsealed warrants of arrest for five leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army for crimes committed in Uganda -- the first warrants issued by the ICC. ICC prosecutors have received more than 2,000 communications about alleged crimes, but they have already dismissed 80 percent of the possible cases because they didn't fit the court's mandate, Kirsch said. The court is also monitoring seven or eight further "situations" in addition to the cases it is already dealing with in Africa, he said.Kirsch said the ICC was intended as a court of last resort, able to take over when a nation's courts were unwilling or unable to prosecute people for committing atrocities. Ultimately, it should act as a deterrent, he said.

Understanding of the court was still limited because it was so young, said Kirsch. He then appealed to states to help make the court effective by co-operating in arresting suspects and gathering information. "That cooperation has to come not only to demonstrate the fairness of the court but also the effectiveness of the system as a whole," said Kirsch. Enforcing international law was "a shared responsibility between the ICC, states and international organizations," he said.

link to article

 

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