Please find below excerpts of articles on the Responsibility to Protect and the following situations:
-Zimbabwes deepening crisis and the governments rejection of efforts to protect the civilians;
-A call by Oxfam International for the government of Uganda and the international community to live up to their Responsibility to Protect the people of Northern Uganda;
-An opinion piece by a Ugandan writer, calling on the international community to intervene in Northern Uganda, using the Responsibility to Protects notion of sovereignty as a basis for action;
-A call by a Burmese writer for the international community to adhere to its Responsibility to Protect
-Increased calls for action by the UN, US and NATO to support the AU troops in Darfur, and US Deputy Sec. of State Zoellicks trip to Darfur;
-An editorial on the necessity for the US to support financially the reinforcement of AU peacekeeping troops;
-Human Rights activists call for targeted sanctions against Darfur;
-An editorial on the Bush Administrations olicy of appeasement towards Sudan;
-The International Crisis Group on improving the EUs cooperation with the AU on Darfur;
World briefing: Zimbabwe surrounded by sound and fury, but little action
The Guardian (London)
November 8, 2005
By: Simon Tisdall
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.
Human Rights Watch said the evictions had disrupted treatment for people with HIV/Aids in a country where 3,000 die from the disease each week and about 1.3 million children have been orphaned. The operation was "the latest manifestation of a massive human rights problem that has been going on for years", said Amnesty International.
"Zimbabwe's governance has reached a low point which it is now almost impossible for its neighbours to ignore," the independent International Crisis Group said in an investigation, Zimbabwe's Tipping Point.
But all these statements and reports have yet to bring an effective international response - and have been flatly rejected by Harare
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 catastrophe this winter.
"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 yesterday. "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
link to full article
Recent Killings of Aid Workers Leave Hundreds of Thousands Without Help and Living in Fear in Northern Uganda
October 26, 2005
The reported killings of at least two aid workers today in Northern Uganda has today increased insecurity and caused many aid agencies to restrict their relief operations.
Oxfam urgently calls on the Government of Uganda and the international community to live up to their responsibility to protect hundreds of thousands of people suffering as a result of the horrific conflict. Despite the recent announcement of International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants for the five top leaders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and claims by the Government of Uganda that the end of this conflict is in sight, for most people safety and security are still distant dreams.
"This war has already lasted 19 years and an entire generation has never known peace. We are desperate for an end to this conflict. Many people dream of the day when the rebel leaders will have to stand trial for the crimes they have committed. We are really worried that this dream won't become a reality," said Emma Naylor, Oxfam's Country Programme Manager in Uganda. "For two decades it has been impossible to apprehend the rebel leaders. The communities that we work with are already asking how the arrest warrants will be served. There is a lot of confusion and it's fast turning to fear."
Oxfam also pointed out that the international community has a responsibility to cooperate in apprehending the five men indicted by the ICC - one of whom has reportedly been killed since the indictment. Regional governments and the wider international community need to make every effort to cooperate with this process.
Oxfam believes that the Government of Uganda and the international community need to take concrete action to protect people affected by this brutal conflict.
"Donor supporters such as the United States and the United Kingdom could do much more to ensure that the Government of Uganda makes protecting people and the aid convoys its first priority," said Naylor. " We should all live up to our responsibilities to ensure people are safe. A UN Security Council resolution in support of a responsible campaign to serve arrest warrants and protect communities would be a strong statement of the international community's commitment to a just and lasting peace. It is time to show the millions caught up in this terrible war that the world has not forgotten them."
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Northern Uganda is a Disaster Area
By Odongo Otto
November 7, 2005 Monday
....A humanitarian disaster is a high threshold of suffering. It refers to the threat or actual loss of life on a large scale, massive and forced migrations, widespread abuses of human rights, acts that shock conscience and provoke a basic humanitarian impulse. This would warrant intervention from the international community.
Intervention is the application of pressure to a state. This would include conditional support programmes by major international institutions and delivery of emergency relief assistance .Others would entail coercive action, not just diplomatic and military threats. Whatever the case for Uganda, coercive inducement would suffice
Intervention usually takes place where the government is unwilling and unable to quell such internal insurgencies. One wonders what our government is up to. I suggest that our president swallows his pride and learns from several cases of intervention history has availed us. We should learn from history
UN charter 2 (7) provides "that nothing contained in the present charter shall authorise the UN to intervene in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the member to submit such matters to settlement under the present charter." The strongest excuse the executive could have is the principle of sovereignty. However, the contemporary principle of state sovereignty implies the primary responsibility to protect its people. Where a population is suffering serious harm as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of intervention allows the international community to protect the nation.
The notion of sovereignty has greatly changed over time. Sovereignty implies a dual responsibility both externally and internally. Externally, it implies responsibility to protect the sovereignty of other states and internally, to respect the dignity and basic human rights of all the people within the state. The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his opening remarks in the UN General Assembly 1999 asserted that, "States which are bent on criminal behaviour (should know) that frontiers are not the absolute defence." In other words, state sovereignty is not the shield to hide under even when your people are dying, Mr President!
Government of Uganda should try to be a government in trust for its people and for the common good, not a dictatorship. The people through their Parliament have said there is a problem now. Where else does the government get the mandate to dismiss such a decision when over one million people are living in protected camps?
The biggest question is why then is the executive trying to under-estimate the magnitude of the problem?
I personally belief it is quite difficult to have peace talks with the LRA since they have no political wing. If they do, they have not bothered to market their philosophy. They have committed serious atrocities like killing 200 innocent civilians in Barlonyo, including those who can't pronounce the name Museveni. However, possible negotiations should consider resettlement packages for and guarantees for their life after all these crimes. The donor community as separate sovereign states should build friendship with Ugandans and not leaders of the regime if history is to judge us fairly.
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Civilised world has turned a blind eye to Burma for too long
The Daily Telegraph(London)
October 26, 2005, Wednesday
By John Bercow
At the Millennium Summit in September, the UN accepted collective responsibility to protect populations from genocide and war crimes, promising timely and decisive action through the Security Council. If this is to prove anything but the most sanctimonious twaddle, let it start with Burma, whose long-suffering people have been shamefully abandoned by the international community.
Of course, the Security Council already has the powers to confront the Burmese regime, if only it had the will to do so. Under Chapter VII, Article 39 of the UN Charter, the Security Council possesses sole authority to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression". In the words of Article 33, whenever the council "deems necessary" at "any stage" of a dispute, it may intervene "to ensure prompt and effective action". Relying on Chapter VII, the Security Council has intervened in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, Rwanda, Liberia and Cambodia. Each of those countries exhibited some of the characteristics evident in Burma, but none suffered all of them.
Britain should now lead a campaign within the UN to force the SPDC to stop subjugating its citizens and start liberating them. If the UN is to retain its credibility, it must stop averting its gaze from barbarism. Let it resolve that it will no longer be a symbol of passive acceptance of the status quo, but instead a powerful vehicle for necessary change. Dealing with Burma would show that it means business.
John Bercow is Conservative MP for Buckingham
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Deterioration in Darfur Brings Calls for Stronger Force
November 9, 2005
Inter Press Service
Increased fighting and instability in Sudan's western region of Darfur are spurring renewed calls for the United States, NATO and the U.N. to urgently provide more support to the African Union's peace mission (AMIS) there and strengthen its mandate to effectively defend innocent civilians against the violence.
In a new report released here Wednesday, Refugees International (RI) charged that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, who himself labeled the violence by Khartoum and Arab militias against the African residents of Darfur as "genocide", has so far failed to provide adequate diplomatic and military support to stop the killing
RI is also calling for the administration to reinstate 50 million dollars to support the AU operation next year, which a Congressional conference committee last week stripped out of the foreign aid bill. The United States is the biggest financial backer of the AU mission.
The group's plea was joined by Africa Action, a grassroots activist group, whose director, Salih Booker, accused "the U.S. and the international community (of) continuing to hide behind the AU mission, abdicating their own responsibility to take action to stop genocide"
In a letter sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week, 109 Republican and Democratic lawmakers accused the administration of "engaging in a policy of appeasement" toward the National Islamic Front (NIF) government "...when the violence in Darfur grows worse and the plight of its victims more terrible".
The lawmakers cited in particular the administration's decision to permit -- and indeed encourage -- Khartoum to hire a former foreign-service officer, Robert Cabelly, to serve as a lobbyist on Sudan's behalf and to remove Khartoum from a State Department list of countries under sanctions for their complicity in human trafficking.
Critics have argued that Washington is eager to normalise ties with Sudan, an emerging oil exporter and a key potential ally in the administration's "war on terror". Last spring, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secretly brought the head of Khartoum's main intelligence service, a man widely accused of masterminding the attacks in Darfur, to Washington for talks.
Activists are also furious over recent remarks, which they see a deliberate effort to play down the current spate of violence in Darfur, by Jendayi Frazer, the new assistant secretary of state for African Affairs. When asked about recent attacks reportedly carried out by the government-backed Janjaweed, she insisted, "That's just a snapshot of the moment. You can't take a snapshot and get a full picture."
Rice's deputy, Robert Zoellick, arrived in Kenya Tuesday for his fourth trip to the region in seven months in a renewed effort both to calm the situation in Darfur and to shore up a peace agreement between Khartoum and southern rebels that ended a 22-year civil war earlier this year
"People are dying and dying in large numbers," Antonio Gutterres, the U.N.'s refugee chief, said last week.
"(The) rising violence shows what can happen when there aren't enough troops on the ground, and when these troops are hamstrung by a weak mandate and logistical and organisational constraints," the RI report noted.
It added that because "the U.S. has shown little interest in sending its own or NATO troops in response to a human emergency that it has declared to constitute genocide, the U.S. has an enormous responsibility to make sure that AMIS is a success."
In addition to more equipment, including arms, training, and logistical support, Washington and its allies should ensure that AMIS' mandate is strengthened. This will require the deployment of more troops and actively preparing the deployment, in coordination with the AU, of a U.N. peacekeeping mission if an accord is reached in Abuja, according to the report
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Diddling on Darfur; If it's genocide -- and it is -- then reinforcing peacekeepers is a must
Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)
November 8, 2005 Tuesday
If Congress and the White House value the credibility of the nation as having zero tolerance for genocide, they will quickly restore critical funding for Darfur stripped last week from the appropriations bill for foreign operations
Under-equipped, underfinanced and outnumbered, the African Union troops attempting to keep the peace in Darfur stand little chance of success. In the absence of an effective force, both the rebels and the Janjaweed militias ignore with impunity the peace plans. In a conflict that Congress itself has condemned as a genocide, it defies reason as well as decency to divert funds desperately needed to increase the effectiveness of the peacekeeping force.
Neither Congress nor the White House shows any inclination to send American troops into Darfur. All the more reason to ensure the African Union receives the financial support to build up the capacity to offer basic security to the helpless in Darfur. A bipartisan group of senators, including Ohio's Mike DeWine, appealed urgently to President Bush last week to restore the Darfur funding in a supplemental bill. Their concern is to protect human life and the moral authority of America to call other governments to account in the face of genocide.
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Human rights workers call for U.N. sanctions against Sudan for Darfur atrocities
Associated Press Worldstream
November 8, 2005
By: Robin Hindery
U.N. member states must join together in support of sanctions against Sudan's government for its failure to disarm militias, end impunity and protect civilians in the restive Darfur region, human rights activists said
At a press briefing at the U.N. Correspondents Association on Tuesday, members of Human Rights Watch and a Sudanese human rights lawyer called on the United States and other Security Council members to end what they described as a "deadlock" in the sanctions process.
They criticized three members - China, Russia and Algeria - for blocking all Security Council attempts to impose effective sanctions against the Khartoum government or government-backed Arab militias.
"China, Russia and Algeria do not care very much about the humanitarian situation in Darfur," said Georgette Gagnon, the deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Africa division. "We're looking for other (sanctions) committee members to really get things moving."
Last week, the directors of Human Rights Watch's Africa and Washington divisions sent an open letter to the U.S. State Department's No. 2 official, Robert Zoellick, who is currently in Sudan to try to shore up peace efforts. (link to full article)
The letter urged Zoellick to demand the Sudanese government's full cooperation with outside monitoring and relief agencies, and to call on the government to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and peace through actions rather than words.
"We also hope that the U.S. will play a leading role in implementing (proposed U.N. sanctions) despite divisions among the Security Council members," the letter said
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Winking At Genocide
The Boston Globe
November 08, 2005
A Recent letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed by 109 members of Congress from both parties castigated the Bush administration for "engaging in a policy of appeasement" toward the government of Sudan, which both Congress and former secretary of state Colin Powell have denounced as a perpetrator of genocide in the nation's Darfur region. The policy being carried out by Rice and her deputies may be more accurately described as indulgence of the Khartoum regime rather than appeasement, but, whatever the label, the failure to stop the suffering in Darfur is indefensible.
The congressional letter signers are right to worry that the State Department has waived sanction rules so the Sudanese government could hire a Washington lobbyist, at a cost of $530,000. And then there is the dubious matter of the State Department softening the definition of Sudan from a Tier 3 to a Tier 2 violator of prohibitions against human trafficking. This change was justified on the basis of a plan for ending sexual violence against women that Sudan's rulers presented to Rice when she visited in July. However, that plan originated with her deputy, Robert Zoellick, who preceded her in Khartoum by two weeks. Such coaching of Khartoum suggests a policy rooted in the obtuse assumption that dialogue is the way to end a genocide.
Zoellick, who left for Sudan again Sunday, should instead be warning Sudan's rulers that if they do not disarm the Janajaweed and halt the genocide, the United States and its NATO allies will provide funds and logistical support for a greatly enlarged African Union force with a UN mandate not merely to observe events but to use force to stop the slaughter and save lives.
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Sudan; EU and AU in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination
October 25, 2005
International Crisis Group
The security situation in Darfur will continue to worsen and the political process will remain stalemated unless the African Union Mission in Sudan is armed with more troops, given a more robust mandate and assured new funding.
The EU/AU Partnership in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, explores the unique cooperation between the European Union and the African Union and suggests ways to make it more effective. The report is the first in a Crisis Group series examining the strengths and weaknesses of the EU's growing crisis response capability and more ambitious policies in conflict prevention situations
The most urgent step is to bring the AU mission (AMIS) to its authorized size of 7,731 soldiers and police, which is happening too slowly; rapidly improve the efficiency of those forces and roughly double their numbers so they have the muscle to restore security; and create promising conditions for the political settlement the AU seeks to mediate between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebel groups. AMIS also needs a Chapter VII-type mandate from the AU and the UN Security Council that explicitly authorises it to concentrate on protecting civilians
The 250 million euro African Peace Facility with which the EU has largely financed AMIS is almost exhausted and needs to be replenished. The EU should also improve internal coordination between its institutions and member states active on Darfur and external coordination with the AU, giving its new special representative, Pekka Haavisto, the authority and resources to ensure that it speaks with a single, strong voice.
The AU should prioritise efforts to become more efficient within its current structure; press Khartoum to allow immediate delivery of badly needed armoured personnel carriers Canada has donated; and plan urgently for expanding and improving AMIS, while also considering other options for delivering the military support needed to achieve a sustainable peace, such as a NATO bridging force or a UN mission
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