United nations, EU, where are you??

Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2004 02:01 am
Russian and Chinese weapons blamed for fuelling Sudan war
By Meera Selva in Nairobi
17 November 2004

The brutal ethnic war in Darfur is being fuelled by weapons supplied by companies from countries that are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, a report claimed yesterday. The Security Council is trying to find a way to end the violence.

The Chinese and Russian governments have been allowing the sale of military equipment to the Sudanese government, according to an Amnesty International report, which also repeated claims that a British firm had been involved in brokering an arms deal between Ukraine and Sudan. The Russians and Chinese from their permanent seats on the Security Council have constantly opposed moves by other members to impose sanctions or an arms embargo on Sudan.

Amnesty, which released the report yesterday, said the UN had to impose a mandatory arms embargo on Sudan if the conflict was to end. The European Union has had an arms embargo against Sudan since 1994, but that has not stopped other countries trading arms with Sudan, which has paid with oil revenues.

China has sold fighter jets and helicopters to Sudan since the 1990s, while Russia sent 12 MiG jet fighters to Sudan in July as the Security Council was meeting to discuss whether to impose sanctions on Sudan. China is one of the main investors in Sudan's oil industry.

Earlier this year a newspaper alleged a British company had acted as a broker between Sudan and a Ukrainian arms export company for the sale of 62 Antonov planes. The Foreign Office and Customs and Excise are investigating whether UK firms broke international law.

A UN database suggests that more than 180 tons of arms has been sent to Sudan by British citizens and British-registered companies in the past three years, including small arms and ammunition used by the Janjaweed, via private brokers. It says that France sent £242,000 worth of bombs, grenades and other ammunition to Sudan in 2001, although this fell to less than £13,250 in 2002.

Brian Wood, a researcher for Amnesty International, said: "Everyone knows that if you send arms to a country like Sudan, which has a very poor record on human rights, the weapons will be misused within three to four years."

The Security Council will meet in Nairobi this week to discuss the conflicts in south and west Sudan amid concerns that the Sudanese government is not willing to bring peace to the region. It has twice produced resolutions demanding that the government end the conflict in Darfur, but has stopped short of imposing sanctions or a full arms embargo. Last week, Sudanese police attacked refugees at the Al-Geer camp in south Darfur in front of UN officials, African Union (AU) monitors and journalists.

Elizabeth Hodgkin of Amnesty International said: "What happened in Al-Geer camp shows that Sudan doesn't care if the AU or the UN is there. They still beat people up, use tear gas and rubber bullets. The Security Council has to take action. At the moment, the resolution is being blocked by one Security Council member who is selling arms to Sudan and another which is selling arms and has a big oil stake."

In July, the Security Council said all states should "prevent the sale or supply" of arms and related material to non-governmental entities in Sudan, but Amnesty International says there is no guidance on how this resolution should be implemented or monitored. Civilians in Darfur say they have been bombed by government-owned Antonovs, and attacked by Arab militias carrying rifles and wearing uniforms.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2004 03:12 pm
Diplomacy and Darfur

Wednesday, November 17, 2004; Page A26

AFULL ARSENAL of diplomatic tricks has been tried on behalf of Darfur, the western province of Sudan where the government is orchestrating genocide. A number of A-list statesmen -- Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan -- have journeyed to Sudan to demand an end to the killing; still the genocide continues. Cease-fires, undertakings and protocols have been negotiated and signed; still the genocide continues. Two U.N. Security Council resolutions have condemned the government's behavior; still the genocide continues. Tomorrow and Friday, in a triumph of hope over experience, the Security Council will convene an extraordinary session in Kenya, hoping to shine the spotlight on Sudan's suffering. But unless the council members stiffen their rhetoric with sanctions, they will spotlight their own impotence.

Sudan's pragmatic dictatorship has bowed in the past to determined external pressure. It expelled Osama bin Laden and negotiated an end to its long-running war with rebels in the south, both thanks to the threat of sanctions. But Sudan's rulers do not make concessions if they don't have to do so, and they believe they can exterminate tens of thousands of people in Darfur and get away with it. When outsiders wax especially indignant, the junta signs another protocol and makes a tactical concession. But its strategy remains unchanged: to cement control over Darfur by decimating the tribes that back various local rebels.

The first phony concession came in April. Sudan's government signed on to a cease-fire, promising to "refrain from any act of violence or any other abuse on civilian populations." Since then the government has participated in unprovoked assaults on villages, murdering men, raping women and tossing children into flames that consume their huts. In July Sudan's rulers signed a communique with Mr. Annan, promising to "ensure that no militias are present in all areas surrounding Internally Displaced Persons camps." Since then militias have continued to encircle the camps, raping women and girls who venture out in search of firewood. In August Sudan's government promised Jan Pronk, Mr. Annan's envoy, to provide a list of militia leaders. No list has been forthcoming. Last week, in a concession that perhaps reflected nervousness about the approaching Security Council meeting in Kenya, the government signed two new protocols, committing itself among other things to "protect the rights of Internally Displaced Persons." A few hours later, government forces stormed a camp for displaced people.

In sum, the considered judgment of Sudan's rulers is that they can flout international commitments with impunity. Unless that judgment can be changed, the Security Council session in Kenya will not achieve anything. Sudan's dictatorship must be credibly threatened with sanctions that target officials responsible for war crimes, and these officials must also be made to face the possibility of prosecution. Beyond that, outsiders need to recognize that there is little prospect of security for Darfur's people -- and therefore little prospect of a return to destroyed villages, a resumption of agricultural production and an escape from starvation -- without a serious peacekeeping force. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the U.N. commander in Rwanda during the genocide a decade ago, has suggested that a force of 44,000 is needed. Charles R. Snyder, the senior State Department official on Sudan, has estimated that securing Darfur would take 60 to 70 battalions.

More than a year and a half into Darfur's genocide, the United States and its allies have proved unwilling to consider that kind of commitment. They have moved at a snail's pace to support a 3,500-strong African Union force, which in any case would be inadequate; the record of deploying underpowered peacekeepers in war zones is that the peacekeepers get humiliated. The allies are starting to discuss another U.N. resolution, but this seems likely yet again to lack a real threat of sanctions. Up to a point, this is understandable: Security Council members such as China are opposed to strong action, and the United States is conserving limited military and diplomatic resources for Iraq and the war on terrorism. But Darfur's crisis is so awful that the usual balancing of national priorities is immoral. Some 300,000 people may have died in Darfur so far, and the dying is not yet finished.
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Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2005 06:09 pm
Sudan: UN clears gov't of genocide
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2:10pm EST

Sudan's foreign minister said Monday a UN report concluded that no genocide was committed in his country's Darfur region, where tens of thousands of civilians have died in a nearly two-year crisis. At UN headquarters in New York, diplomats confirmed that the report did not find that Sudan had committed genocide, but they said it was very critical of Sudanese government actions. The report was expected to be circulated in New York on Tuesday.

The United States has accused Sudan's government of directing militia who attack civilians in what Washington has called a genocidal campaign in the western region.

Last year, the United Nations said the Darfur conflict created the world's worst humanitarian crisis. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Sunday a report on the situation would be forwarded to Security Council members "very shortly."

Annan declined to say whether the team made a determination that genocide was committed.

"Regardless of how the commission describes what is going on in Darfur, there is no doubt that serious crimes have been committed," he said.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 5 Feb, 2005 11:01 am
The United Nations turns a blind eye to its founding principles, yet again

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The United Nations has become a largely irrelevant, if not positively destructive institution, and the just-released U.N. report on the atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, proves the point. After months of study, the U.N.'s Commission of Inquiry on Darfur this week issued its report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In typical U.N. double-speak, the commission found that the Sudanese government, run by radical Islamist Arabs in the North, is responsible for "crimes under international law" in the systematic rape and murder of tens of thousands of blacks who live in the southern part of the country. Yet the commission concluded that the government "has not pursued a policy of genocide."

If the organized killing of 70,000 black Sudanese in the name of Arabification of a majority black nation does not constitute genocide, what does? Arabs have methodically raped thousands of black women and displaced some 1.8 million blacks in an effort to dilute Sudan's black population or eliminate it altogether.

For all but 10 years since Sudan gained independence from Great Britain in 1956, Sudan has been involved in bloody civil wars that have killed over 2 million people and displaced 4 million. Radical Islamists, mostly drawn from the country's minority Arab population, have killed or driven out black animists and Christians in a series of genocidal campaigns. Yet, the U.N. — as it has in virtually every genocidal bloodbath that has occurred anywhere in the world since its founding in 1946 — remains stymied from intervening in any meaningful way.

The U.N. did nothing when the murderous Khmer Rouge began piling up more than a million corpses in the killing fields of Cambodia in the mid-1970s. The U.N. did nothing when Hutus slaughtered nearly a million Tutsis in Rwanda in barely 100 days in 1994. The U.N. sat idly by when Serbians began wiping out ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1998, a genocide that was interrupted only when NATO — under the leadership of the United States — intervened.

The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II, just as the world was beginning to learn the full horrors of history's worst genocide, the Holocaust that consumed 6 million Jews and 3 million others in Europe. One of the U.N.'s first acts was to pass a Genocide Convention in 1948, which defined genocide "as acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, [ethnic], racial, or religious group. . . ." But despite condemning genocide, the U.N. failed to enact mechanisms to stop genocide while it is occurring.

Given the politics of the U.N., in which countries often act in regional or interest-based voting blocks, censuring — much less stopping — genocidal activity becomes nearly impossible. Arab and Muslim nations constitute one of the largest and most powerful voting blocks within the U.N., and these countries are loath to criticize their co-ethnics and co-religionists, especially for crimes against non-Arabs or non-Muslims.

In November, the U.N. General Assembly rejected for the third time a resolution that would have condemned human rights violations in Sudan, with 91 of the 191 member nations voting against the resolution. Gerald Scott, a U.S. delegate to the General Assembly's committee on social, cultural and humanitarian affairs, said at the time that "three consecutive failures of member states of the United Nations to present a unified front against well-documented atrocities [represents] nothing less than the complete breakdown of the U.N.'s deliberative bodies related to human rights. If these bodies cannot speak with one voice on an issue as clear as Darfur, what can they do?"

Precisely. The U.N.'s response to the genocide in Darfur has been to claim it isn't taking place and for its African members to give Sudan a seat as their representative on the Human Rights Commission in 2004. But rather than acknowledge the U.N.'s hypocrisy, count on the largely left-leaning human rights organizations to react to this latest U.N. outrage by criticizing the United States. Already Human Rights Watch has condemned the U.S. for not being eager to turn over the prosecution of war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, a quasi-U.N. body whose jurisdiction the United States does not recognize. The problem is not the United States but the United Nations.

Editor's note: Linda Chavez served as U.S. expert to the United Nations' subcommission on human rights from 1992-1996
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 5 Feb, 2005 11:49 am
I'm rather sure, the UN became only a "a largely irrelevant, if not positively destructive institution" AFTER Linda Chavez left them in 1996.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 5 Feb, 2005 03:30 pm
Although I know your labeling the UN as irrelevent was said in sarcasm. I would agree it is as close to irrelevant as any organization could possibly be. The funds that support that organization could be far better spent than supporting that bloated, do nothing debating society.
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