Thursday, June 19, 2008

Responsibility to Protect?

It has been years now that I have been hearing about the genocide in Darfur. This morning I viewed a PBS airing of Frontline's production, "On Our Watch", originally aired in November of 2007. This continues to break my heart.

Despite the ongoing crisis little has been accomplished. The genocide started in Darfur in 2003. Individuals have gotten involved, but the United Nations has been unable to accomplish much. Refugees remain in danger and in need of assistance. There is great need for security, shelter, medical care, and food.

There were eight resolutions through the United Nations in 2006. Specifically, number 1706 was seen as an opportunity to finally make a difference. It provided the impetus to boost troops in the region. Unfortunately, this offered little relief. The genocide expanded crossing the imaginary border between Sudan and Chad.

A grass-roots organization, Save Darfur Coalition, has amassed a large following including big name stars like George Clooney. This non-profit organization has managed to gain the support of 54 universities, 20 states, and 9 cities that have all restricted investments in Sudan and Chinese oil companies. The Chinese have hindered the ability to offer relief to the people of Darfur supporting the government of Sudan.

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has managed to bring charges against some of the perpetrators in Sudan, but the government refuses to hand them over. It has been stated that Darfur is not important enough globally to warrant the necessary action from the United Nations. Darfur Activist, Eric Reeves, launched a campaign against China called, The 'Genocide Olympics'. This campaign has gotten much attention.

The 26,000 troops that were authorized for deployment to Darfur as protectors to civilians is merely political progress. It is just too little, too late.

Resources for further information:

A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power

A Long Day's Dying by Eric Reeves

The Best Intentions by James Traub

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