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Human Rights Day: Various Opinions on Helping Darfur

"On December 10 – Human Rights Day – people around the world will be joining together to denounce the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in Darfur and to show solidarity with the women and girls of Darfur." writes GLOBE FOR DARFUR:
On September 17 2006 tens of thousands of people took part in the Global Day for Darfur to show world-wide support for the Darfuri people and to put pressure on our Governments to protect civilians. Nearly 60 events took place in 41 countries. The response was magnificent. But the atrocities and suffering in Darfur continue, including a growing number of rapes and sexual assaults on women and girls.
Alex de Waal, program director at the Social Science Research Council and the author of Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, is skeptical of a military intervention in the London Review of Books (HT: Mark's feed
Military intervention won't stop the killing. Those who are clamouring for troops to fight their way into Darfur are suffering from a salvation delusion. It's a simple reality that UN troops can’t stop an ongoing war, and their record at protecting civilians is far from perfect. Moreover, the idea of Bush and Blair acting as global moral arbiters doesn’t travel well. The crisis in Darfur is political. It’s a civil war, and like all wars it needs a political settlement.
Late in the night of 16 November Kofi Annan chaired a meeting at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa at which he, the AU and the UN Security Council reaffirmed this basic fact. When he promised to bring the government of Sudan and the rebels who are still fighting around the table within weeks, the outgoing UN secretary general was adopting a simple and correct rationale: fix the politics first and the peacekeeping will follow. It’s not a distant hope: the political differences are small. (...)

Allowing in UN troops to police a ceasefire and implement a peace agreement that will help the Congress Party consolidate its place in Sudan is one thing. Allowing in ‘international forces’ – the Arabic term, quwat al dauliya, is the same as the one used for coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – midway through a conflict, with an open-ended mandate, is quite another. The combination of a huge international force – it would take many more than the 20,000 estimated to be needed to enforce a ceasefire – and 8000 Minawi troops with, Khartoum suspects, direct US backing, would in effect bring about a separation of Darfur from the rest of the country.

The Save Darfur NGO makes this appeal:
Every day, the 2.5 million people chased from their homes in Darfur face the threat of starvation, disease, and rape, while the few lucky enough to remain in their homes risk displacement, torture and murder. Therefore, we call on you to do the following:
* Strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force already in Darfur.
* Push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force.
* Increase humanitarian aid and ensure access for aid delivery.
* Establish a no-fly zone.

The Guardian's Blog warned in September: "There is no civil war so bad that it cannot be made worse by the intervention of liberals and luvvies."

British economist Daniel Davies has a blog entry at Crooked Timber on The relentless urge to action rather than inaction - and writes this gem of a line:
As I've said repeatedly with respect to Darfur, it's the height of irresponsibility to demand "action" without saying what that action might be, or to provide some kind of sensible assessment of its likely consequences.

Anne Applebaum writes in Slate about "Why it's easier to generate interest in Darfur than Pyongyang," but does not give many answers.

"We burnt their homes and killed all the men, women and children," says an Arab shepherd, who claims he was forced to raze the villages of black Africans in Darfur, according to Martin Fletcher in The Times.

"Speaking Tuesday [November 21st] at his office at U.N. World Headquarters in New York, Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland decried the persistent strife in Sudan and took the international community to task for its weak response, " reports UPI:
"Many more people have become armed to the teeth in these recent weeks in preparation for new battles in which the civilian population will inevitability be caught in the crossfire," he told United Press International. "We see a repeat of the buildup of 2003 and 2004 when, really, Darfur was burning. And we see that the relative quiet of 2005 is definitely over." (…) His more poignant comments, however, were made in response to the horrific violence, widespread starvation, refugee crisis and political instability that have led the conflict to be described by many as a full-blown genocide. "How can anybody shoot a 2-year old girl through the neck? How can any man do that deliberately? This is terror. I do not know any word for it; it is defined as terror," said Egeland, referring to a visit to a hospital in western Darfur that led him to describe the situation as one of "inexplicable terror."

Welt am Sonntag interview (in German) with Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung about Africa.

•  Check out the excellent Darfur Daily News blog.


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Markus on :

What an irony that Pinochet dies on Human Rights Day. Who used to be Pinochet's biggest supporters? Who brought him into power?

Zyme on :

My goodness, Men like Pinochet and Strasser restored public order and made a quick end to the communist threat in South America. They improved their countries by polishing them - this only works by losing some substance. Wo gehobelt wird, da fallen eben Späne..

Zyme on :

I intended to write Stroessner instead of Strasser of course.

Greg on :

Hey, haven't you guys heard? International peacekeepers finally fired off a few rounds in Darfur. Only thing is, they weren't shooting at the janjaweed - they were shooting the relatives of recently massacred black sudanese who had the nerve to demand protection from the armed peacekeepers. Stopping the genocide there is ridiculously simple. Get the UNSC to levy sanctions vs. the janjaweed. Oh wait, that can't happen, since the Chinese won't risk their oil interests. Well, if the UN won't do anything, I guess we're stuck. But wait, maybe a coalition of the willing could bomb the crap out of this discpicable regime in Sudan. No - that would be a crime, we all know. Can't stop crimes vs. humanity without world unanimity. Maybe we can have an international concert of rich celebrities demanding our governments "do something." Yeah.... Ugh. The whole story makes my stomach turn. The only way to stop it is to send troops to kick ass. Period. Or wait till all the blacks are dead - then there's no problem. Got it?

Markus on :

"The only way to stop it is to send troops to kick ass. Period." Yeah! Right! Kick ass and everybody will behave and make peace. Sounds easy. Like a piece of cake. Just like the Iraq war was meant to be. Are you and your buddies signing up for the army?

Don S on :

No, the only way to stop it is to use soft power. That is Sudan's trading partners should remonstrate with Sudan. Chinese remonstrate? Dead silence. How about the Germans? Germany wrote a formal note asking about the state in Darfur and now is waiting for an answer. For more than two years..... The Germans are exhibiting the virtue of patience and will doubtless be rewarded in due time. If only with the Silence of the Lambs - emanating from the place called Darfur and the people once called Darfurese, soon to be gone. Then the good people will turn in wrath and identify and codemn the culprits. Yes. Bush and Israel.

Zyme on :

@ Greg As you admitted, the Chinese will not approve any UN-Combat-Missions there. And a coalition of the willing would probably upset them a lot. So maybe you should start looking for something substantial that might make it worth for some "willing" countries to interfere despite making China angry.

Greg on :

Don't worry guys. The UN is to the rescue. They've sent some experts to study the human rights abuses. Phew. After that, they will appoint a committee of experts to study the experts' reports. Then, the General Assembly can meet to discuss and probably send it to the UN Human Rights Commission to decide exactly what role Israel has in all of this. Yeah, you know what Markus, I would be willing to go to Darfur and fight. Yes, I would. Now, who will send me? Anyone? Unfortunately, sometimes force is the only answer left. If the world really cared (which it clearly doesn't), the janjaweed could easily be beaten into submission. We beat the nazis and their genocidal war machine, didn't we? Anyway, who am I except some guy armed with his common sense? You're the fulbright scholars - where are all your answers? Or shall we just wait until the janjaweed are finished with their work?

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