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August 01, 2004

Useless Words

More reason to believe that the UN is a toothless organization: its timid response to the unrest in Sudan.

Last Friday, with the eyes of the world's press turned to the warrior's apotheosis in Boston, a resolution was passed 200 miles away in New York. The UN security council, by 13 votes to none and two abstentions, voted to give the Sudanese government 30 days to disarm the militias that have been devastating the Western province of Darfur, killing up to 30,000 civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands more.

The resolution requires Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, to report back every month and threatens 'to consider further actions, including measures as provided for in Article 41', if Sudan fails to respond. Article 41 of the UN charter does not relate to armed force, but could be used to impose economic restrictions or to sever diplomatic relations.

This resolution was only passed because an original and explicit mention of the imposition of sanctions was removed at the request of seven council members. Even so two countries, China and Pakistan, felt unable to support the weakened motion. China thought the measures were unnecessary because the Sudanese government was indeed co-operating, and both it and Pakistan felt that the Sudan was not being given enough time to sort things out.

Even those opposed to military intervention must have hoped for something more direct and aggressive. Diplomatic and economic pressure should have been the result of any UN decrees, not the tepid threat of some future response.

As the linked Beeb article notes, some of the sponsoring countries say that the resolution is actually one that guarantees a harsh response in the future if the Sudanese government fails to clean up the problem. But how meaningful is a resolution like this when the UN has already waited so long to act at all?

One more month of death and destruction and then we'll fiind out just what kind of teeth the resolution has. Most likely, we'll find that it was all talk and no action as the delegates debates over precisely what actions are allowed by the resolution, on what time frame, and how much leeway should be given to the Sudanese government.


Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at August 1, 2004 06:03 PM

And Sudan is saying they won't comply anyway, because they've already signed a previous agreement with Kofi Annan which gave them 90 days...

Maybe ask Kofi Annan if he'd like to live in a village of Darfur for the next 30 days - without his entourage, the media, or any armed presence to protect him.

Posted by: Dave at August 2, 2004 01:00 AM

Actually, Sudan has backed off of its rejection of the U.N. resolution, now that France has deployed troops near its border with Chad to help refugees. However, is France really there to help refugees or to help aid the government-backed militias for its oil interests? Given its awful role in Rwanda's genocide (propping up the regime, training and arming the Hutu militias) then we must keep watch.

Posted by: molotov at August 2, 2004 09:03 AM

Could a decisive and principled stand by like-minded nations of the West over Darfur have been an excellent way to douse the flames of anti-Western sentiment and show rogue states that a few setbacks in Iraq have not altered the determination of the West to uphold the rights of human populations who otherwise remain condemned to suffer under illegitimate regimes ?

Posted by: Mike at August 3, 2004 11:50 AM

For the Life of me I cannot understand why the sudden furor over Dafur.

Yes I know 30K dead, over 1 million displaced, what I mean is WHERE were all these "viewing with alarm politicians" during the Southern Genocide?

About 2 million dead? We see now Millitant Arabic Jihadists killing pacific

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at August 11, 2004 06:45 AM

I am amzed why people are worrying about these people. Now come on. These people were already poor and starving and sick and educated, I mean people who no body likes to see in the first place. And anyway I hdon't think there is any oil wells in Darfur region. No need to woory then, you civilised world.

Posted by: Virendra Pratap Singh at September 11, 2004 08:22 AM
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