Saturday, August 09, 2008

genocide in darfur

Two views on what to do about genocide in Darfur

Team Darfur is a website created by elite athletes who are attempting to make a difference about genocide in Darfur. The founder, Joey Cheek, has had his visa revoked by the Chinese government, preventing him from competing in the Beijing Olympics. More here and here

another view:
Why China won't save Darfur (June 2007)
China is a convenient whipping boy for celebrities and governments who are evading a more determined approach to the issue of genocide in the Sudan
But threatening a “Genocide Olympics” alone will not bring peace (or peacekeepers) to that troubled region. No amount of criticism will convince Beijing to pursue a coercive strategy and a nonconsensual deployment of U.N. peacekeepers that Khartoum rejects. Yes, China has the economic leverage to gain the ear of President Bashir, but that hardly means it has the ability—or, more to the point, the will—to bully him into accepting a large U.N. peacekeeping contingent in Darfur. China’s multibillion dollar investments in Sudan’s petroleum industry are a much-needed source of energy for its mushrooming economy. Beijing may make tactical moves to pressure Sudan, but it will not choose human rights over oil, a matter of paramount national interest.

And, even if China were capable of delivering Bashir, the Sudanese government is not the only impediment to an effective peace process. Nowadays, more people may well be dying from tribal clashes than from marauding janjaweed or government forces. The infighting of fractured rebel groups and the sheer number of displaced people with no homes to return to are also immediate and significant obstacles to peace. But China has little influence over the rebel movements and is ill-positioned to act as a mediator between them.

Nor is China a good choice to be our moral compass. The West embraces human rights and international humanitarian law, but China emphatically does not. The continuing crisis not only threatens the lives of millions, but the weak Western response undermines those grandiose principles such as the “responsibility to protect” — hallmarks of our international moral code. Moreover, it is the U.S. government, not Beijing (nor the U.N., for that matter), that has invoked the label “genocide” to describe the Darfur crisis. Morally and legally, the responsibility to lead is America’s.

Ending the Darfur conflict requires much more than what China alone can offer. Rhetorical flourishes from world leaders, limited Western unilateral sanctions, and promises of firmer action at some indeterminate time in the future are also patently insufficient. Only a top-level, sustained, and aggressive multilateral mediation effort backed by the United States, the European Union, and African, Arab, and Chinese governments can stop the violence and reverse the massive displacement of people.

No comments: