It’s a start…

[yes, the artsy, philosophizing, photo blog has been getting political lately. I will try to balance this out with unnecessary essays on Camus -ed.]

The news just broke that the UN has approved (up to) 26,000 peace keepers to be sent to Darfur. From the Globe and Mail:

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to authorize up to 26,000 troops and police in an effort to stop attacks on millions of displaced civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Expected to cost more than $2-billion in the first year, the combined United Nations-African Union operation aims to quell violence in Darfur, where more than 2.1 million people have been driven into camps and an estimated 200,000 have died over the last four years.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the resolution as “historic” and urged member states to offer “capable” troops quickly.

The resolution, number 1769, invokes Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, under which the United Nations can authorize force. The measure allows the use of force to be used for self defence, to ensure the free movement of humanitarian workers and to protect civilians under attack.

But the resolution, which has been watered down several times, no longer allows the new force to seize and dispose of illegal arms. Now they can only monitor such weapons.

Gone also is a threat of future sanctions, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned on Tuesday that “if any party blocks progress and the killings continue, I and others will redouble our efforts to impose further sanctions.”

“The plan for Darfur from now on is to achieve a cease-fire, including an end to aerial bombings of civilians; drive forward peace talks … and, as peace is established, offer to begin to invest in recovery and reconstruction,” he said on a visit to the United Nations.

Some (perhaps rightly) are comparing this to Rwanda – not the existing massacre, mind you (that’s been done quite well already), but the handcuffing of UN peace keepers. As the article says, UN soldiers can only fight back in self-defence. I can only hope, and call me a blind idealist, that the lessons of Rwanda will have been learnt.

Like the title says, it’s a start. Two hundred thousand civilians have already been killed in Darfur. At this point, anything more than a diplomatic gesture is a sign of hope.


2 Replies to “It’s a start…”

  1. The fact that no one seems to have learned from Rwanda never mind the countless slaughter of others via genocide throughout history is appalling….there is little that you and I can do, but much that the powers of the world could have done to have ended Darfur long ago … and they did nothing … sorry I am a cynic….

  2. I understand your sentiments. I’m sure people in the Congo (where, according to estimates, 300.000 people have perished) they are waiting for their turn to be recognized also.

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