June 28, 2006

The UN Security Council and a final betrayal of Darfur

June 16, 2006 — Despite rapidly escalating violence throughout Darfur and eastern Chad, the UN Security Council refuses to push for urgent measures to protect civilians and humanitarians. Instead, deferential Council members have repeatedly insisted that the genocidaires of the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum will determine whether an international force deploys to Darfur, even as the regime continues to send explicit signals that it has no intention of allowing for such deployment. In short, all evidence suggests that the only protection for a region the size of France will continue to be a radically inadequate African Union (AU) force---and that most of eastern Chad will continue to be without security of any kind. This continuing exclusive reliance on the AU, whose performance has recently deteriorated badly, comes even as "reports from the UN and the AU indicate that violence against civilians in Darfur has doubled since the May 5 peace deal" (Associated Press [dateline Khartoum], June 7, 2006).

The AU itself increasingly recognizes that it simply cannot provide the security required in Darfur or implement the merely notional "Darfur Peace Agreement," which has been overwhelmingly rejected by Darfuris in the camps and elsewhere as wholly inadequate in addressing their security concerns"

"’We need to hand over the baton to the UN,’ [AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare] said. ’There is a necessity today to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement.... The AU today does not have the resources to be there. We have to be clear about that.... We don’t have the capacity to face a peacekeeping situation or an extended conflict.’" (Associated Press [dateline: Addis Ababa], June 7, 2006)

But even were the Security Council to find the political will, over Khartoum’s objections and a menacing Chinese veto threat, to pass a resolution authorizing deployment of a UN peace support operation with Chapter 7 authority, the timeline is unconscionably long. As UN peacekeeping head Jean-Marie Guehenno recently confessed:

"’A six-month timeline between the decision to deploy and the deployment is a more practical timeline especially if you think of the logistical conditions in Darfur,’ [Guehenno ] said. ’January 2007 is a much more realistic date.’" (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], June 12, 2006)

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