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7 May 2008
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue:
[R2P in UNSC Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa, Tutu on Zimbabwe, Crisis in Burma and Darfur, R2P in the News]



I. R2P References in Security Council Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa
1. UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA


II. Crisis in Zimbabwe
1. EAST AFRICA LAWYERS TO SUE CHINA OVER ZIMBABWE
2. DESMOND TUTU: ZIMBABWEANS NEED AFRICAN UNION HELP
3. IT'S BEST TO PLAY THE WAITING GAME ON ZIMBABWE
4. DECISION DAY FOR ZIMBABWE
5. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: LETTER TO PRESIDENT OF CHINA ON ARMS SALE TO ZIMBABWE


III. Crisis in Burma
1. FRANCE SUGGESTS HELPING MYANMAR WITHOUT GOVT BACKING


IV. Crisis in Darfur
1. DARFUR JEM CONDEMNS PRESSURES ON DISPLACED OVER SUDANS CENSUS
2. NICHOLAS KRISTOF: MEMO TO BUSH ON DARFUR


V. R2P in the News
1. HERITAGE FOUNDATION: THE U.S. SHOULD REJECT THE U.N. "RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT" DOCTRINE
2. COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: THE AFRICAN UNION
3. AFRICA: JOINT REGIONAL SECURITY EFFORTS FACE TOUGH CHALLENGES
4. GARETH EVANS: PEACE 'A RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL'


VI. Related Reports
1. ENOUGH REPORT: FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER BLACK HAWK DOWN: SOMALIA'S CHANCE





I. R2P in UNSC Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa


1. UN Security Council Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa
16 April 2008

The UN Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa took place on 16 April 2008 at UN Headquarters. A number of countries exposed their views on the way forward to preventing conflict, preserving peace, and insuring security. More specifically, the delegates from Costa Rica the United Kingdom made references to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. The following is the excerpts on R2P from their statements.

Costa Rica; Mr. Urbina:

(...) Today's debate is an ideal opportunity to exchange views on our shared responsibility.

(...) The concept of the responsibility to protect is a recent development that has turned what was once an absolute right of sovereignty into something much more complex: a right that encompasses the obligation of the State to protect populations on its territory and the subsidiary obligation of the international community to protect those populations when a State is unable to do so.

This contemporary system, which inextricably links the actions of States, international organizations and the international community, unavoidably imposes the concept of shared responsibility in the face of conflict. And facing that shared responsibility, we should ask ourselves how we can work together to prevent conflicts and how we can work together to resolve them once they have begun.

From the perspective of the United Nations, Security Council resolution 1625 (2005) is a real road map by which to approach our responsibilities in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa. Furthermore, conflict prevention is the approach that should guide us and towards which we should direct our greatest efforts. (...)

United Kingdom; Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

(...) Today's discussion is an opportunity to forge a new consensus on the support that is now needed to prevent conflict, to resolve conflict and to rebuild from conflict afterwards. (...)

Today there is still a gaping hole in our ability to address the illegitimate threats and use of force against innocent people. It is to our shame that the international community did not act in Rwanda. Darfur shows the urgent needs that yet have to be met. Today there are 28,000 African peacekeepers. But if we are to honour our responsibility to protect behind borders where there are atrocities, we need to ensure more systematic support for peacekeepers, and we need to build the capacity of vulnerable nations to prevent conflict. Therefore, in addition to training 12,000 African peacekeepers, Britain will step up its contribution to the joint European Union-African Union training exercises in support of the African Union's Peace and Security Directorate. But I believe we also need agreement on more predictable and sustainable sources of funding, as has already been mentioned around this table.

(...) History tells us that fragile and conflict States need not only humanitarian aid and peacekeeping, they need to combine that with help for stabilization and reconstruction. For countries where breakdown has occurred, it is now right to agree major changes in the way the international order responds, so that we can systematically combine humanitarian aid and peacekeeping with help for reconstruction and development. (...)

Costa Rica and United Kingdom statements are also availbale at:
http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/government_statements/

For transcript of the open debate, please refer to:
http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/scact2008.htm





II. Crisis in Zimbabwe


1. EA Lawyers to Sue China over Zimbabwe
The EastAfrican
Wilfred Edwin and Francis Ayieko
5 May 2008

Lawyers from East Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are seeking legal action against the Chinese government over arms supplies to Zimbabwe.

() [The East African Law Society and the Law Society of the Southern Africa Development Community] are going to engage the African Union and the United Nations, into actively addressing the situation.

The lawyers were speaking at an emergency Pan-African summit in Dar es Salaam on April 21 to discuss the election crisis in Zimbabwe.

The summit asked the African Union not to recognise results of the vote recount. Instead, it wants the continental body to appoint an independent high level Pan-African panel of eminent persons to deliver a political settlement to the country.

Saying that the electoral crisis in Zimbabwe can only be resolved through a political settlement that reflects the will of the people as expressed during the March 29, election, the meeting also wants the AU to call upon China and other countries "that are propping up the Zanu-PF regime," to desist from such actions.

It also called on the AU to openly condemn the state campaign of violence against the people of Zimbabwe for exercising their democratic rights.

The summit, called by the East Africa Law Society, brought together 105 representatives of civil society, the legal fraternity, trade unions, academia from 21 African countries.

() Civil society in East and Southern Africa has demanded a rethink of the AU approach on handling the Zimbabwe post-elections crisis, in a move that could put President Jakaya Kikwete, the current chairman of the AU in a precarious political situation, given the current continental political divide.

() [The summit participants] said that the international norm of "responsibility to protect" places primary responsibility in the hands of the state to protect its people from crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes.

However, where the state itself is the perpetrator of such heinous crimes, and/or where it fails or neglects to protect its people, the international "responsibility to protect" cannot be stopped by self-serving claims of sovereignty on the part of armed and predatory elites.

For full article, please refer to:
http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/News/newsfc050520080.htm

The communique from the African Emergency Summit on Zimbabwe in Dar es Salaam on 21 April 2008 is available at:
http://www.zimbabwejournalists.com/story.php?art_id=4008&cat=4



2. Zimbabweans Need African Union Help
Guardian Unlimited
Desmond Tutu
2 May 2008

() In light of the escalating violent repression of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - and of those whose support apparently helped the MDC to prevail in the presidential election, the results of which have still not been announced after four weeks - an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe is urgently needed.

In addition, we call on the African Union, with the support of the United Nations, to send an investigative mission to Zimbabwe to determine what additional measures may be required to carry out the internationally accepted "responsibility to protect".

The concept of the "responsibility to protect" was adopted unanimously by the United Nations World Summit in 2005. Yet, it remains controversial because it is often assumed that it implies the use of military force for purposes of humanitarian intervention. We believe, as was recognised at the UN World Summit, that military force should only be a last resort when needed to prevent or halt large-scale loss of life. The first step is to gather reliable information so that it is possible to know what international measures are required to prevent a disaster.

() The constitutive act of the African Union provides in article 4:

"[The] right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity [as well as a serious threat to legitimate order]."

Here, too, however, actual military intervention should only be a last resort. In the case of Zimbabwe, for example, it is possible that sending in unarmed observers from other African countries would be sufficient. Their presence and ability to provide objective information might prevent continuation or further escalation of the violence of the last few weeks to the point where it would require military intervention. Unarmed observers could also help to ensure that emergency international food assistance, on which much of Zimbabwe's population now depends for survival, is distributed equitably, without regard to the political leanings of those requiring it.

() The African Union, with the support of the UN, should provide the leadership that would demonstrate that Africa has the capacity and the will to resolve a great crisis in a manner that mitigates the suffering of African people.

Source:
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/desmond_tutu/2008/05/zimbabweans_need_au_help.html



3. It's Best to Play the Waiting Game on Zimbabwe
The Canberra Times
Jo Ford
2 May 2008

There are understandably calls for "more to be done" during Zimbabwe's political stalemate. () Ordinary Zimbabweans might worry that the international community's sound and fury will signify nothing or that outside pressure might actually worsen their situation.

What ought the world do differently? Under the UN Charter, Security Council members must agree that a threat to international peace and security exists before the system fully engages. Despite fears of regional instability in Southern Africa, China will be keen that such situations be classed as internal disturbances only. And a very strong Council response could actually be counter-productive now: it raises the stakes, compelling players to harden positions, perhaps cutting off options. While serious consequences must be communicated, there are other mechanisms for inducing cooperation. ()

Consistency is related to the legitimacy and persuasiveness of future action elsewhere. Through the UN, the international community agreed in principle in 2005 that it has a "responsibility to protect" populations from genocide and other grave crimes where a government is unable to do so, or is itself the perpetrator. While dire, the situation in Zimbabwe does not trigger this norm. Should things deteriorate, care must be taken lest this valuable, evolving principle already being sorely tested in Darfur be undermined from the start by inconsistency.

() The African Union is over-cautious and failing, with some members wary of setting themselves unhappy precedents. But on one view the AU has by no means yet exhausted its considerable persuasive potential. There are some parallels with ASEAN's stance on Burma. () However, one risk is not that such institutions might act prematurely but that they might hardly act at all, scuttling their ability to ever really say anything meaningful again.

The EU has smart and arms sanctions in place and can be a more moderate voice than certain Western governments, creating political space for the players to move into. China has long supported Mugabe. As with Burma and Darfur, one useful international community role is not simply to criticise China, but to encourage it to balance the increasing material benefits it derives from these poorer places with being a more mature, responsible, positive influence.

Perhaps the Commonwealth, meanwhile, should have done more since 2003 towards a stronger explicit united position on Zimbabwe. ()

South Africa is a major player. Its "quiet diplomacy" was not irrational, even if its senior officials' lack of solidarity with another oppressed people showed a very short memory indeed. () Pressure is important, but applied bluntly it can actually worsen the situation, while making us all feel that we are "doing something".

In seeking options, it is unhelpful to speak of international criminal prosecutions. Aside from legal problems, powerful but prosecutable people sometimes need incentives to negotiate a peaceful solution. This can create unfortunate precedents, but may be necessary. ()

() An international response should be united and consistent and balance "sticks" with "carrots": the leadership must be assured that a transition is possible. () So while it is true that too much outside pressure can cause a boil-over, there is also a risk that things just bubble along while hope and so much more evaporates.

Source:
http://canberra.yourguide.com.au/news/opinion/opinion/its-best-to-play-the-waiting-game-on-zimbabwe/1235856.html



4. Decision Day for Zimbabwe
Guardian Unlimited
29 April 2008

(...) Getting agreement on UN action that will actually move Zimbabwe out of [its] crisis will take deft diplomacy. Among the Security Council's 15 members, only Britain and the US have so far shown an appetite for tough action. The allies of Zimbabwe's ruling party, Russia and China - most likely because they do not want to set a precedent for greater scrutiny of their own human rights and electoral practices - will probably employ familiar arguments about the UN's policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of member states or say that the situation in Zimbabwe, though serious, presents no threat to international peace and security, to dissuade security council intervention.

But with the unanimous adoption in 2005 of the doctrine that each state has a responsibility to protect its own citizens from the most egregious of human rights abuses, a new instrument for Security Council action now exists. Although states retain their sovereignty over their territory, if they fail to protect their own citizens from grave human rights abuses, the international community, including the Security Council, has an obligation to intervene.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, in her statement over the weekend made it clear that, in her view, the Zimbabwean authorities are failing to discharge their responsibility to protect all citizens, regardless of political affiliations, from severe human rights abuses.

(...) South Africa needs to play an active role in crafting a convincing UN plan to pull Zimbabwe out of its present quagmire. Without leadership from South Africa, the other members of the Security Council are not likely to go much beyond empty statements.

(...) Everyone, apart from Robert Mugabe and a few people in the ruling party agrees that in order to end the present crisis, Zimbabwe needs a government with a clear mandate from the people. The question for the Security Council today is how to go from here to there, leave behind the rhetoric and look for practical measures to force Mugabe to step aside.

() Whatever is said today, it seems inconceivable that without robust international action, Mugabe's hidebound regime will change course and open the way to a democratic transition. In the face of Mugabe's stonewalling, the Council needs to unite and stand behind the people of Zimbabwe. What's needed is not more condemnation -as morally justified as it may be- but effective international intervention.

Full text available at:
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/gugulethu_moyo/2008/04/decision_day_for_zimbabwe.html

To read Louise Arbour's alarming statement on violence in Zimbabwe, please go to:
http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/BB073B7B294BC46FC1257438003A0672?opendocument



5. Letter to President of China on Arms Sale to Zimbabwe
Human Rights Watch
22 April 2008

(...) We write to urge the government of the People's Republic of China to immediately recall the shipment of weapons aboard the An Yue Jiang, currently off the coast of southern Africa. We also urge you to ensure that no further arms and ammunition deliveries are sent to Zimbabwe while the very high risk exists of such weapons being used against the civilian population.

(...) Human Rights Watch has extensively documented a deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Our news release on April 19, 2008 documents the establishment of torture camps by members of Zimbabwe's armed forces and ZANU-PF. These camps are aimed specifically at members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change and Zimbabwean civilians who did not vote for President Robert Mugabe in the March elections. In addition, Human Rights Watch has reported that over the past year, police and military forces in Zimbabwe have often opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in violation of international law. In our view, any state sending arms into this highly repressive environment could make them complicit in human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean government.

(...) The shipment not only violates your government's arms exports policy, in particular the principle on not selling arms in a situation where regional peace and stability will be undermined, but also its international responsibility to protect civilian populations at risk of mass human rights violations. (...)

(...) The Chinese government cannot hide behind a fiction of non-interference in other countries' affairs and reject responsibility for the use of these weapons once they have been transferred to Zimbabwe. It is widely acknowledged that China's and other countries' armsegardless of the legality of the sale in terms of arms embargoesay likely be used by the Mugabe government against its political opponents and ordinary civilians. Responsibility for these abuses falls in part to those who sell the weapons. This reality has led other countries to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

There is only one appropriate course of action for a responsible power that cares about its relationships with Africa and its international profile: recall all shipments immediately. (...)

To read HRW letter in full lenght, please refer to:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/04/22/china18618.htm

For HRW 19 April 2008 news release 'ZANU-PF Sets up 'Torture Camps'', go to:
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/04/19/zimbab18604.htm

More information on international response to arms shipment to Zimbabwe can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/417772





III. Crisis in Burma


1. France Suggests Helping Myanmar without Government Backing
Reuters
7 May 2008

France has suggested invoking a U.N. "responsibility to protect" clause and delivering aid directly to cyclone-hit Myanmar without waiting for approval from the military in Rangoon, the foreign minister said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters on Wednesday the idea was under discussion at the United Nations in New York.

"We are seeing at the United Nations if we can't implement the responsibility to protect, given that food, boats and relief teams are there, and obtain a United Nations' resolution which authorises the delivery (of aid) and imposes this on the Burmese government," he said.

The United Nations recognised in 2005 the concept "responsibility to protect" civilians when their governments could or would not do it, even if this meant intervention that violated national sovereignty.

() The United Nations said on Wednesday it had obtained permission from the military government to fly emergency supplies to Myanmar, but aid workers were still waiting for visas to enter the isolated country.

() Kouchner, a long-time human rights champion, said the French, British and Indian navies had ships directly opposite the worst hit areas and were ready to help if Myanmar authorities gave the go ahead.

"It would only take half an hour for the French boats and French helicopters to reach the disaster area, and I imagine it's the same story for our British friends," he said.

"We are putting constant pressure on the Burmese authorities but we haven't yet got the go ahead," he added.

Source:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L07810481.htm





IV. Crisis in Darfur


1. Darfur JEM Condemns Pressures on Displaced over Sudan's Census
Sudan Tribune
25 April 2008

The Justice and Equality Movement condemned on Thursday harassment practiced against the local leaders to force them to cooperate with census takers and allow them to count the displaced population in the West Darfur camps.

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the three states of Darfur region staged protests to mark their rejection of the fifth national census that started on April 22 in the whole country. For the IDPs, protection is the priority, they also ask for a real peace responding to their aspirations including the return to their villages.

(...) [JEM spokesperson, Ahmed Hussein Adam,] blamed the international community for not imposing the principle of the responsibility to protect in Darfur.

"Unfortunately the international community failed to impose the principle of responsibility to protect, and this failure is due to the lack of international will."

The responsibility to protect is a new principle in international relations providing a legal basis for "humanitarian intervention" by external actors (through the UN) in a state that is unwilling or unable to prevent or stop genocide, massive killings and other massive human rights violations.

(...) [T]he census is skewed by the absence of a neutral state apparatus, the existence of repressive laws and control media by NCP security service. (...)

Source:
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article26877

To read the statement of AU/UN Joint Special Representative, Rodolphe Adada, to the UN Security Council on the situation in Darfur, please refer to:
http://appablog.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/darfur-statement-by-the-auun-joint-special-representative-for-darfur-rodolphe-adada-to-the-un-security-council/



2. Memo to Bush on Darfur
The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
10 April 2008

The following text is an excerpt from an op-ed by Nicholas D. Kristof outlininig specific steps that George W. Bush could take to help end the crisis in Darfur:

(...) 1. Work with France to end the proxy war between Sudan and Chad and to keep Sudan from invading Chad and toppling its government. Stopping the Darfur virus from infecting the surrounding countries must be a top priority. And even if the West lacks the gumption to do much within Sudan, it should at least try to block the spread of genocide to the entire region.

France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is leading the way in providing a European force to stabilize Chad and Central African Republic, and we should back him strongly. If Sudan dispatches additional proxy troops, France and the U.S. should use aircraft to strafe the invaders. But we should also push Chads repressive president to accommodate his domestic opponents rather than imprison them.

2. Broaden the focus from "save Darfur" to "save Sudan." There is a growing risk that the war between North and South Sudan will resume in the coming months and that Sudan will shatter into pieces. The U.S. should try to shore up the fraying north-south peace agreement and urgently help South Sudan with an anti-aircraft capability, to deter Khartoum from striking the South.

3. Right before or after this summer's G-8 summit, President Bush should convene an international conference on Sudan, inviting among others Mr. Sarkozy, Gordon Brown of Britain, Hu Jintao of China, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Sudanese leaders themselves. The conference should be convened in Kigali, Rwanda, so that participants can reflect on the historical resonance of genocide.

One aim would be to pressure China to suspend arms transfers to Sudan until it seriously pursues peace in Darfur (we'll get further by treating China as important rather than as evil). Such an arms suspension would be the single best way to induce Sudan to make concessions needed to achieve peace. The conference would also focus on supporting the U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur with helicopters, training and equipment.

4. The conference should aim to restart a Darfur peace process, because the only way the slaughter will truly end is with a peace agreement. A prominent figure like Kofi Annan should lead the talks, working full time and with a first-rate staff to crack heads of Sudanese officials and rebel leaders alike.

5. The U.N. and U.S. should take South Sudan up on its offers in 2004 and 2005 to provide up to 10,000 peacekeepers for Darfur. South Sudanese peacekeepers wouldnt need visas or interpreters. They can simply walk to Darfur from their present positions, and they would make a huge difference in security.

6. The U.S. should impose a no-fly zone over Darfur from the air base in Abeche, Chad (or even from our existing base in Djibouti). We wouldn't keep planes in the air or shoot down Sudanese aircraft. Rather, the next time Sudan breaches the U.N. ban on offensive military flights, we would wait a day or two and then destroy a Sudanese Antonov bomber on the ground.

Aid groups mostly oppose this approach for fear that Sudan would respond by cutting off humanitarian access, and that's a legitimate concern. We should warn Sudan that any such behavior would lead it to lose other aircraft. Sudan's leaders are practical and covet their planes.

7. We should warn Sudan that if it provokes a war with the South, attacks camps for displaced people or invades a neighboring country, we will destroy its air force. As Roger Winter, a longtime Sudan expert, puts it: "They act when they are credibly threatened. They don't react when we throw snow at them."

8. The central reason for our failure in Sudan is that we haven't proffered meaningful sticks or carrots. A no-fly zone is a stick, but we also should reiterate that if President Omar al-Bashir seeks peace in Darfur and South Sudan, then the U.S. will normalize relations, lift sanctions and take Sudan off the list of nations that sponsor terrorism. (...)

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/opinion/10kristof.html?_r=3&ex=1208491200&en=ee1962ac117cfd82&ei=5070&emc=eta1&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin





V. R2P in the News


1. The U.S. Should Reject the U.N. "Responsibility to Protect" Doctrine
The Heritage Foundation
Steven Groves
1 May 2008

Following is an article by Steven Groves that analyzes the origins, development and challenges of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Special focus is put on R2P advocacy in the international NGO community, especially on the part of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP). Mr. Grove constantly argues that the USA should treat the Responsibility to Protect with extreme caution.

The "responsibility to protect" (R2P) doctrine outlines the conditions in which the international community is obligated to intervene in another country, militarily if necessary, to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other atrocities. Despite its noble goals, the United States should treat the R2P doctrine with extreme caution.

Adopting a doctrine that compels the United States to act to prevent atrocities occurring in other countries would be risky and imprudent. U.S. independence hard won by the Founders and successive generations of Americansould be compromised if the United States consented to be legally bound by the R2P doctrine. The United States needs to preserve its national sovereignty by maintaining a monopoly on the decision to deploy diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, political coercion, and especially its military forces.

() If the United States intervenes in the affairs of another nation, that decision should be based on U.S. national interest, not on any other criteria such as those set forth by the R2P doctrine or any other international "test."

() The current position of the United States, therefore, is that, while it "stands ready" to take collective action to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing in another nation, it rejects the notion that it is legally obligated to intervene to prevent such atrocities. This position is in harmony with the U.S. commitment in the Outcome Document in which the United States, as a member of the world community, agreed that it was "prepared to take collective action" to protect vulnerable populations. While hardly a renunciation of the R2P doctrine, the current U.S. position falls well short of committing to a legal obligation to act.

() Only by maintaining a monopoly on the deployment of diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, political coercion, and military forces will the United States preserve its national sovereignty. Acceding to a set of criteria such as those set forth by the R2P doctrine would be a dangerous and unnecessary step toward bolstering the authority of the United Nations and the international community and would compromise the consent of the American people.

Steven Groves is Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

For full text, go to:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/bg2130.cfm



2. The African Union
Council on Foreign Relations
Stephanie Hanson
1 May 2008

The following excerpt, written by Stephanie Hanson, News Editor at the Council on Foreign Relations, gives an account of the principles, architecture and mechanisms of the African Union (AU). The article argues that while the AU is still struggling to conduct reform in its governing bodies, it plays an increasing role in peacekeeping in the African continent.

() The African Union seeks to increase development, combat poverty and corruption, and end Africa's many conflicts. "The AU is the world's only regional or international organization that explicitly recognizes the right to intervene in a member state on humanitarian and human rights grounds," write Roberta Cohen, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and lawyer William G. O'Neill in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The AU drew these guidelines based on the recommendations of a 2001 report from the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty entitled The Responsibility to Protect. The report asserts that "Sovereign states have a responsibility to protect their own citizens from unavoidable catastrophe -- from mass murder and rape, from starvation -- but that when they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the broader community of states."

Experts say the AU's implementation of these new goals is still an aspiration, not a reality. Reforming the OAU is a "monumental task," says Robert O. Collins, an Africa expert and professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, "particularly when you have many countries with lots of poverty and domestic problems." But regional bodies take many years to grow into their charters, and many have heralded the African Union's early peacekeeping involvement in countries such as Burundi and Sudan as important steps. Jennifer Cooke, codirector of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in testimony before the Senate's African Affairs subcommittee that the African Union is still at a "fragile stage," but it "has begun to generate some early promising returns". ()

To read the article in full length, please refer to:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/01/AR2008050101585.html



3. Africa: Joint Regional Security Efforts Face Tough Challenges
The Nation
John Haberson
27 April 2008

In the midst of contentious domestic politics in many African countries, a quiet continent-wide revolution has been in process since the first years of the new millennium.

() Specifically, African states have moved to organise the African Standby Force (ASF), supported by sub-regional and country-level military units. ()

() The specific objectives of this new force were to be to

(1) conduct and observe peacekeeping missions,
(2) intervene in member states when their internal security is gravely threatened,
(3) conduct preventive deployments where such security threats loom in the horizon,
(4) conduct post-conflict peace-building operations, including disarming and demobilising warring militias,
(5) provide humanitarian assistance in conflict and disaster areas, and
(6) perform such other functions as the Peace and Security Council may authorise.

() The objectives seem to embrace () the Africa Union doctrine on Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which includes all the foregoing purposes plus promoting and encouraging democratic practices, good governance, and the rule of law.

In a word it implies amendment of the 350-year-old Westphalian principle of absolute state sovereignty and non-interference by states in each other's affairs to embrace a new doctrine of what Ambassador Francis Deng has termed "responsible sovereignty," - that is states are sovereign as long as they behave themselves. ()

Full article available at:
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804280037.html?page=2



4. Gareth Evans: Peace 'A Responsibility for All'
BBC News
Guto Thomas
23 April 2008

(...) In his speech on Wednesday Mr Evans [,who has played a key role in developing the concept of state responsibility to protect all people from violence,] will set out the case for a new approach to conflict resolution and examine the current status of the idea of the "responsibility to protect."

This concept was developed to help the international community to avoid any future situations where the world stood by in the face of genocide and mass killing, as in Cambodia in the 1970s - a situation Mr Evans denounces as a state's "licence to kill" its own people.

Mr Evans advocates the innate responsibility of all states to their people - and crucially that if individual states "cannot meet that responsibility, through either ill-will or incapacity, it then falls on the wider international community to take the appropriate action," including the use of force.

He will argue that a focus on protection rather than intervention means taking the perspective of victims, with the added responsibility of always trying to prevent these crises from occurring. (...)

Mr Evans is president of the International Crisis Group.

Source:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7359337.stm

For transcript of Evan's speech on 30 April 2008, please go to:
http://www.ajn.com.au/news/news.asp?pgID=451





VI. Related Reports


1. ENOUGH Report -- Fifteen Years After Black Hawk Down: Somalia's Chance?
Center for American Progress
John Prendergast
24 April 2008

Released on 24 April 2008, John Prendergast's report, 'Fifteen Years After Black Hawk Down: Somalia's Chance?,' is the first in a series of strategy papers by ENOUGH that will investigate the complex situation in the Horn of Africa. The report gives an elaborate account of the Somali ongoing humanitarian crisis as well as its impacts on the situation in the region, and urges the international community to provide leverage to peace efforts.

ENOUGH Report is available at:
http://www.enoughproject.org/files/reports/SomaliaApril2008.pdf

For media coverage, please refer to:
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/04/somalia.html
 

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