Monday, August 22, 2005

Call to back UN genocide reform - Genocide pact needs PM's help

So much for the US and all its bluff and bluster on genocide. A BBC report today says Tony Blair has been urged to use his influence to increase support for an international deal to stop genocide. Note the report makes no mention of China. I guess we can assume China stands alongside India, Russia and Brazil. Excerpt:
The charity Oxfam has praised the UK's commitment to the deal but hopes the PM will persuade less willing states.

India, Russia and Brazil have attempted to block the agreement and the US has tried to dilute it.

The pact, which would oblige countries to intervene when there is evidence of genocide in another nation, is to be tabled at a UN Summit next month.

Final negotiations over the agenda for the UN's meeting in New York - set to be the biggest ever summit of world leaders - will begin with Oxfam seeking to safeguard the proposals for international cooperation to respond to mass killings.
Genocide pact 'needs PM's help'

BBC photo: The PM is being urged to influence President Bush on genocide
Oxfam director Barbara Stocking said: "This is an opportunity for the prime minister to show his commitment to a progressive foreign policy agenda.

"We're urging Britain to use every diplomatic resource at its disposal to secure an agreement designed to stop future genocides," she continued.

In particular Ms Stocking underlined the importance of Mr Blair's special relationship with President Bush in gaining US support for the plan.

So far the EU, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya, as well as the UK have given their backing to the deal.

The current draft of the scheme states the signatory governments would, "share responsibility to take collective action in a timely and decisive manner" to protect against large-scale killing, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Full report.
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Call to back UN genocide reform

Note BBC report Aug 14, 2005 Call to back UN genocide reform - Oxfam says reform would help stop a repeat of genocide like Rwanda's. Excerpt:
Oxfam has urged the US, Russia, India and Brazil to support a UN reform that would require the organisation to act quickly to prevent genocide.

The international charity accuses the four countries of blocking UN plans designed to stop atrocities such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide happening again.

Oxfam says that while US officials publicly back the planned reform, in principle they are seeking to water it down.

Other countries opposing the move include Syria, Iran, Cuba, Pakistan, Egypt and Algeria, the charity said.
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12,500 AU troops in Darfur by early next year

BBC East Africa correspondent Adam Mynott filed a report Aug 21 on Darfur's peacekeeping challenge.

He says AU camps have been set up in Labado and Khor Abache in South Darfur in the past six months.

The Sector Commander of the Nyala, South Darfur region, Colonel Vitali Ojumbo took him to Khor Abache to show the impact that his forces have had. Snippets from the report:
About 2,000 of the 12,000 people who used to live in the village had come back.

Colonel Ojumbo, a Kenyan army officer, has a battalion under his command of about 850 men. Seven different nationalities of African soldiers answer to his orders, but the area they cover is vast - hundreds of square kilometres.

The colonel said it was probably the most volatile region in Darfur, and the threat of attack from Arab militias was constant.

By the end of September, there are due to be 7,500 AU troops in Darfur, and that figure is expected to grow to 12,500 by early next year.

The mandate of the AU forces is to oversee the ceasefire between government troops and the rebels, to report violations of that ceasefire and to protect humanitarian workers and AU monitoring forces.

It only extends to protecting villagers should they come under attack, or be threatened, while AU forces are in the vicinity.
Full report.


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