Monday, January 31, 2005

UN says "no genocide" in Darfur

U.N. Darfur Report Does Not See Genocide
By Dino Mahtani, Nigeria (Reuters)

No surprises here. The UN stops short of calling the murders in the Sudan "genocide", as the US sees it, for one reason. If classified as genocide, it requires more specific and direct action which entails more than talks and sanctions. And we all know the UN does whit besides talk.

Instead, Kofi pronounces it as "gross violations of human rights". One can only wonder of those being assailed in Sudan feel the same way.

Annan said Sunday "gross violations of human rights" had occurred in Darfur and recommended the Security Council consider sanctions on the oil-exporting country.

Monday, Canada, Australia and New Zealand said in a letter the council should look at "targeted measures" that could include travel bans and an assets freeze.

The United States is preparing a resolution to this effect, but Russia, which supplies arms, and China, which has oil interests in Sudan, have opposed penalties on Khartoum.

The letter also said the council should refer cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The United States vigorously opposes the tribunal. Instead the United States recommends using facilities of an ad hoc tribunal in Tanzania, set up to try suspects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, for suspects in Darfur.

Ismail said "sanctions will not help Darfur."

Rights groups and some governments have become frustrated by the lack of action over Darfur. Last week, the Sudanese government launched a bombing raid that killed about 100 civilians and displaced 9,000, the United Nations said.

While Iraq has captured the bulk of the world's attentions, the plight in Darfur has had to claw it's way slowly to the attention of the world leaders... including our own.

During the Clinton administration, Madeline Albright was quoted as saying "the human rights situation in Sudan is not marketable to the American people." This was prior to Darfur, and referred then to the Sudanese gov'ts assaults against the southern citizenry.

Albright's dismissal energized one Massachusettes Smith College profession, Eric Reeves. He took leave from his job to do something about it - letter writing campaigns, organizing human rights and church groups, and a tougher stance by the world community was born.

And now, all the same tactics are again being used in Darfur. The same tactics the UN fails to recognize as genocide in order to shirk away from the required prescription.

Today we find an article by Sebastian Mallaby of the Washington Post, entitled " Marketing Darfur. Reeves had resurrected his campaign for the assailed Sudanese last year, and his "genocide" language has been adopted by the US officials and EU Parliament.

Now all find themselves up against the world body, who fears the word and the responsibilities it brings.

Each day the UN delays and talks, signing useless cease fires than do not last, more lose their lives to the violence. Will the UN step up to the plate? And will the EU, for once, side with the Americans on the severity of the situation?

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