The genocide must be stopped
IN APRIL 1995, at a Rwandan refugee camp in a village called Kibeho, United Nations troops stood by while 4,000 Hutu men, women and children were literally butchered in front of their eyes. In July 1995, Dutch UN troops welcomed Serbian fascist bands into the town of Srebrenica and left them to murder 7,000 Bosnian refugees. Last week, police units fired tear-gas and beat up refugees in a UN-supervised refugee camp at El-Geer in the Darfur region of the Sudan. In time-honoured fashion, UN officials looked on.
Why is the UN so pusillanimous in the face of such repeated state violence? Because it has ceased to be a world policeman as designed by the victorious allies at the end of the Second World War. Instead, it has degenerated into a talking shop, largely dominated by Third World dictatorships. In addition, the smaller, self- centred western democracies have been happy to abandon the idea of contributing troops as genuine peace-keepers, with sufficient air and fire power to impose law and order against rogue regimes. Instead, the Blue Helmets only appear after the worst human-rights abuses are over; or else - as in Rwanda, Bosnia and now Darfur - they actually stand aside to let the violence take place.
We know all this, and still the world does nothing. Today, the UN Security Council convenes another round of meaningless talks on Sudan, theoretically with a view to halting the ethnic violence and restoring peace. The UN was forced to intervene in the Darfur crisis only after some 50,000 native African farmers had been massacred by the Arab Janjaweed gangs, doubtless used by the fundamentalist Khartoum regime with a view to exploiting Sudan’s oil riches. Chillingly, since May, when the UN first began to address various slaps on the wrist to Khartoum, another 35,000 innocent people have been massacred in Darfur by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese military. As we report today, when those dying of hunger are added to the casualty lists, the total to die since the UN got "involved" could be as high as 61,500 - that is one every five minutes.
So far, the only meaningful intervention in the crisis has been to record a Christmas pop song to raise money for Darfur refugees. The real need is to stop the genocide. If the West is not prepared to put troops into Darfur, it should at least pay the African Union to provide the military forces to stop the killings, and provide the air and logistical support to put them on the ground. In addition, sanctions should be imposed on Khartoum to stop the regime profiting from its oil revenues. As for the United Nations, there are now another 61,500 reasons why it needs reforming.