04 April 2007

"Possible" Humanitarian Catastrophe in Darfur

Today, John Holmes, the UN's coordinator for humanitarian relief, warned that if aid agencies began pulling out, the UN "could face a rapid humanitarian catastrophe", blaming both rebels and the government in Sudan for harassment of aid workers.
See the story via AFP here.

While I applaud the UN's commitment to aid work in Darfur, isn't it a little wait to be warning of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe"? The genocide is entering its fourth year. Warnings are a little overdue.

An update on the International Criminal Court's investigation into the Sudanese genocide:The ICC's investigation yielded some fruit, naming several Sudanese officials to stand trial. The Sudanese government, however, has decided not to recognize the court's authority and states that it will conduct its own investigation. This act leaves the court virtually powerless.

On the subject of western reaction to the Sudanese genocide, I am noticing a disturbing trend in the US response to the crisis. It seems that the administration's official response is to condemn the civil war and resulting slaughter and call for aid and an end to the problem. But at the same time, it will not act on its calls. Recently, one State Department official denied that the situation, while horrible, still qualifies as genocide. It rings bells of the Clinton Administration's assertions of "acts of genocide" in Rwanda and the Balkans. This does not stop the increasing reports of targeting of civilian populations, reports of rising number of "displaced persons" (or the more powerful but less politically correct term, refugees), and the still-unanswered call from the AU for UN logistical help in quelling the violence. It is time that the administration and congress quit leaving wiggle room in their calls for action and actually act.

Is the political power they seek to guard worth the lives of the refugees they refuse to protect?

Rock on.

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