Security Council Resolution on Darfur; More Global Conflict
September 20, 2004
Thank God that the U.N. Security Council has chosen to act on the Darfur crisis. The internal conflict has been resolved — with Algeria, China, Pakistan, and Russia abstaining — and specific sanctions, investigations, and new legal obligations have now been imposed on Sudan. Its too bad we can't get this done elsewhere in the world, as Darfur is really just the current poster child of global conflict.
First, The Security Council
The Security Council Resolution passed on Saturday features the following (summarized) actions (not all inclusive):
- declaration of Sudanese non-compliance with previous resolutions
- support of African Union troops
- call for other nations to provide material support to these troops
- urges, reiterates, calls on, demands, etc. … peace, security, agreements, ceasefire, etc.,
- requests that the Secretary General formally investigate charges of genocide and bring anyone responsible for genocide to justice
- calls for humanitarian aid
- declares that the council will consider future sanctions on the oil industry, the government, and various individuals if other conditions are not satisfactorily met
Ethnic Violence is Widespread
So the Security Council has acted on behalf of the refugees of Darfur. But what of other nations? As can be seen from the Council's resolutions, attention has been given to many nations around the world.
But what is really being done for these countries? A few have peacekeepers, but very few receive attention from the U.S. the way Sudan has recently. Some believe this is due to Sudan's oil resources. There could be truth in that — but I prefer to believe that Darfur became an unignorable crisis even by normally apathetic world standards. After all, even in December it was number three in the world in the number of refugees, and likely is ranked second. Though the evil of the situation may be no worse than dozens of others around the world, the magnitude is far greater, to an extent that even isolationists are forced to pay attention.
How about a run-down of some of the other nations with major internal conflict, particularly with militaristic ethnic conflict (as opposed to unorganized, irregular ethnic tensions and violence):
Burma languishes under a military dictatorship whose reign has lasted forty years, caused countless deaths, and displaced over a million people (thanks to the National Review for reminding us of Burma)
Refugee rank - 4th most refugees
Home to child soldiers, rape as a weapon of war, massacres, executions, and so much more.
Refugee rank - 7
News of fighting and massacres in Congo (formerly Zaire) occasionally makes it into the papers. The country has been used as a staging ground for incursions in neighboring countries (i.e. Rwanda, Uganda). Though presently more stable than a few years ago, fighting still flares up regularly, and Kofi Annan is calling for more peacekeepers.
Refugee rank - 5
At least Charles Taylor is now out of power and peacekeepers are present…
Refugee rank - 6
Too grim to continue
I can't stand to keep researching this. The news is too grim — and I haven't even begun to look at the plight of the refugees or those who are left behind in these nations. Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Bosnia, Angola, East Timor, on and on… (And yes, I am purposely ignoring the question of Iraq in this article).
One more interesting note: the "Former Palestine" is the largest source of refugees, numbering some 3,000,000. Afghanistan is second with 2.5 million, and Sudan third with 600,000, as of 12/31/2003. Undoubtedly the Afghan number has continued to decline some this year and the Sudan figure should be significantly higher in the next report.