Next Episode For Darfur – No Political Will, No Helicopters
The international community has been accused of failing to provide basic equipment vital to the peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur region.
The accusation was levelled in a report backed by 36 human rights groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It comes on the first anniversary of the decision to deploy a UN-African Union force in war-torn region.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on whether to extend the troops’ mandate for another year. The helicopters are there, what is lacking so far is the political will.
The UN estimates that five years of conflict in Darfur have left 300,000 people dead and more than 2 million people homeless. Khartoum … denies charges that it organised the Arab Janjaweed militias, accused of widespread atrocities against Darfur’s black African population.
Blue plastic bags
The report, written by aviation expert Thomas Withington and published by the Save Darfur Coalition, says helicopters are vital to the success of the peacekeeping mission, but that no country has offered a single helicopter. Military powers like the US, Britain and France are tied down in wars and other peacekeeping operations. The Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, Spain, Ukraine and India, have more than 70 suitable aircraft needed for the mission.
Salim Ahmed Salim, a former secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity who was involved in putting together the report, told the BBC it was “mind-boggling” that despite international concern over Darfur, not a single helicopter had been provided.
“The helicopters are there, what is lacking so far is the political will,” he told the BBC’s Network Africa programme. Only about a third of the intended 26,000 peacekeepers have so far been deployed.
The UN Security Council decision on whether to renew the mandate for the peacekeeping force has became embroiled in the fallout over accusations that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has committed genocide in the troubled west of his country.
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has asked judges there for an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president on charges of war crimes and genocide.
The AU asked the UN Security Council to use its power to suspend the court’s proceedings for a year, saying that indicting President Bashir would be a setback to peace in Darfur.
Libya and South Africa, backed by Russia and China, wanted to include this in the resolution on renewing the mandate.
But the UK, France, the US and central American countries objected, saying there should be no link between the peacekeeping force and whatever the court might do.
The United Nations currently has more than 9,000 troops and police in the Darfur region of Sudan, in a joint UN-African Union force – with a total of 26,000 authorised to be deployed. The outgoing head of UN peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno is clear about the risks of sending peacekeepers to Somalia.
“If you want to deploy a force in an environment like that – unless you are prepared to suffer a lot of casualties – you need a very well-equipped force, a very strong force,” he says.
“The danger is humiliation, is casualties, is that if you send a force and you don`t make a real difference, then people will really turn away from Somalia, and that would be a real tragedy,” he adds.
Can the UN do any good without REAL support from its own Security Council? NO! The UN has to make EVERYONE happy, therefore, crisis continues. UN peacekeepers, the good and the bad, are their own targets. UN casualties mount while they try to address the suffering. The UN is hesitant to deploy into “dangerous” areas … Somalia beckons. Africa is the toy for too many countries and political agendas. The African Union hesitates to allow “outside” interference into any African issue… historically, Africa has been the victimized and exploited by Europe, Asia and America for hundreds of years. Trust is not granted lightly. The UN has the power to help, but is afraid to alienate certain countries. Africa today is the result of too many swords . Forced to sell it’s soul and abundant resources to the highest bidder, Africa has eager eco-cannibals salivating at her potential. Appearances are hopeful, but behind the humanitarian gestures are ulterior motives. This is land grab, oil and mineral grab. These eco-cannibals are happy to wait while some countries de-populate themselves through genocide. No finger will be lifted to stop the crimes. Tied up in courts for many years to come … there will be no one left to save. The world and the UN is complicit through negligence.
The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges on Monday to issue arrest warrants for Sudan’s head of state.
Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.
The decision process is hopelessly tangled in a spider web of legal rhetoric and useless mumbles. The Sudan seesaw does not help the hundreds of thousands of refugees. Inserting paragraphs into resolutions does not bring burned homes or murdered families back together. The polarized attention to the Sudan and similar regions of grief around the world, demonstrates the world legal system is terribly broken. Tyrants are brought to trial only AFTER they have murdered how many innocents? What is the number criteria for genocide? How many pictures must be broadcast before any authority can recognize tragedy? Humanitarian crisis is now left to world celebrities to bring world attention and shame the world into action.
France urges Sudan to cooperate with ICC
Thursday 31 July 2008 13:12
July 30, 2008 (PARIS) — French government said yesterday Sudan has to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) with regard to the arrest warrants issued against two Sudanese suspects for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Sudanese foreign minister who was in Paris last week, said that French officials submitted written proposals to his government on how to find an exist from the indictment of al-Bashir
How ever, Eric Chevalier, the spokesperson of the French foreign (…)
UNSC breaks deadlock over Darfur peacekeeping resolution
Thursday 31 July 2008 09:30
By Wasil Ali
July 30, 2008 (WASHINGTON) – The UN Security Council (UNSC) managed to resolve a disagreement over a resolution aimed at extending the mandate of the UN-African Union (AU)) joint force in Darfur (UNAMID).
Libya and South Africa lobbied other UNSC members to insert a paragraph in the resolution deciding to defer the indictment of the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges (…)
Egypt, Uganda agree more time needed for Sudan’s Bashir
Thursday 31 July 2008 09:04
July 30, 2008 (KAMPALA) – Egypt and Uganda on Wednesday said Possible charges against Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir should be delayed and he should be given time to improve the security situation in Darfur.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni supported, in a meeting they held today in Kampala, the African Union’s position that Bashir be given time to implement a ceasefire in the southern Sudan region of Darfur, Ugandan Minister Omara Atubo said.
Darfur rebel leader urges to not delay international justice
Wednesday 30 July 2008 06:10
July 29, 2008 (WASHINGTON) — A Darfur rebel chief urged countries that support the suspension of Sudanese President’s indictment to not interfere in the work of the international justice and hinder its responsibilities.
Following the mobilisation of African, Arab and friendly countries to Khartoum like China and Russia, pressures are exercised on the UN Security Council to block for one year a decision by the ICC on whether to arrest Bashir.
“We call on the African, Arab countries as well (…)
Let’s debate the collapse of civilization as we dreamed it. The year 2012 will have nothing to destroy at the rate the world is going …