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The following article is in response to questions asked of Evans of the R2P situation in Somalia, and the authors criticism that the situation was not et labeled as R2P.

If Somalia, where civilians are killed every day in a cross fire between Ethiopian occupiers and Islamic insurgents, does not trigger the so-called Responsibility to Protect, what good is R2P? Australia's former foreign minister Gareth Evans was asked this question on September 17, as he pitched his R2P book to a handful of reporters including Inner City Press. "It's not a classic situation," Evans said of Somalia. "It has the capacity of deteriorating into mass atrocity crimes."

But how many deaths does it take? Evans listed the now-stemmed violence in Kenya as "classic R2P;" a photograph from Kenya is on the jacket of his book and he noted that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited R2P during the Kenya crisis. But the death toll by violence in Somalia is higher, and there is no end in sight. When Inner City Press pursued the issue, Evans turned to a fellow staffer of the International Crisis Group, who gently disagreed with her boss, saying that Somalia is a classic case, in that the government is not only unwilling but also unable to protect the people of the country. She acknowledged that war crimes are being committed, including by the Ethiopian troops. Somalia would be R2P, she said, except no one wants to go.

Evans made this same point about Darfur, noting that while none of the 22 needed helicopters has been given, there are some 11,872 suitable helicopters available around the world. Still, Evans argued against invoking R2P in Darfur, saying that it failed the "balance of consequences" test, in that intervention would put at risk the 2.5 million internally displaced people, and the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Evans rather posited Burundi as a victory for R2P, a concept which he said needs to be "re-branded." The first conceptual switch, he said, was from the French-inspired idea of the right to intervene to R2P, which is at least phrased from the point of view of the victims. Still, it was pointed out to him that R2P is often called just a reinterpretation of the white man's burden. Evans countered that on a recent trip to New Delhi and Islamabad, he found "senior levels" of the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministries open to R2P, more so that the "multilaterals here" at the UN, who he said are suffering from "buyer's remorse" after agreeing in 2005 to R2P.

Inner City Press asked Evans if he thinks China and Russia will invoke the concept any time soon. After pointing out Chinese representation on the High Level Panel that formalized the idea, Evans criticized Russia's citing to R2P for its actions in South Ossetia. "To defend your own nationals is not R2P," he said, "it's national self-defense, under Article 51 of the UN charter." He said that Russia "misused" the concept of R2P, while in his view France and Bernard Kouchner only "put at risk the consensus" by linking R2P to General Than Shwe's blockage of foreign aid to Myanmar after cyclone Nargis. ()


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