By Abdellatif Abdelrahman.
It is apparent that the National Congress Party revealed its cruel motivation to launch a new episode of genocide in Darfur by systematic denial of humanitarian access to the IDPs as well as to abort the referendum of southern Sudan by blocking the formation of referendum commission. I believe that the international community is committing a grave mistake by closing its eyes on the precarious conditions prevailing in Sudan.
The eerie silence of the international community further encourages the genocide-committing regime to fire humanitarian aid workers and appease the African Union – United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) forces working in Darfur by tightening the circle around them to restrict their moves in order to hamper their duties to protect themselves and vulnerable civilians.
Its unimaginable that UNAMID today is digging trenches to immune themselves from regime’s kidnapping, while the government acts like a landlord while all who work in Darfur that includes the international bodies as employees; not dealing with international organizations or forces that entered Sudan according to international laws and agreements that the regime has an obligation to respect.
However, I am forced to shed light on the word sovereignty which the genocide-committing regime uses on daily basis to deter resolutions taken by the international bodies against Khartoum.
The total silence and failure of the international community to take vigorous steps to force the regime to respect its obligations, and stop the documented genocide in Darfur might refer to the illusive word ‘sovereignty’ that was invented by the United Nations without having a clear definition.
The international community does not realize that the Islamist regime is also a threat not only to peace agreements aimed to stabilize the country, but also to the regional peace and stability as well. Today voices in Sudan are mounting, calling for an immediate intervention from the UN and other internationally influential bodies, to protect the vulnerable civilians in Darfur as well as to break the deadlock over the formation of the disputed southern referendum commission.
What struck me most is the regimes threats to UN, AU and the aid workers with these two words; “national sovereignty”. I am sure the regime in Khartoum doesn’t know the meaning of these words.
It’s a set of principles based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility to protect. R to P focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. The responsibility to protect can be thought of as having three parts.
1. A State has a responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing (mass atrocities).
2. If the State is unable to protect its population on its own, the international community has a responsibility to assist the state by building its capacity. This can mean building early-warning capabilities, mediating conflicts between political parties, strengthening the security sector, mobilizing standby forces, and many other actions.
3. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures are not working, the international community has the responsibility to intervene at first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort, with military force.
In the international community R to P is a norm, not a law. R to P provides a framework for using tools that already exist (like mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctioning, and chapter VI powers) to prevent mass atrocities. Civil society organizations, States, regional organizations, and international institutions all have a role to play in the operationalization of R to P. The authority to employ the last resort and intervene militarily rests solely with United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.
In order to implement R to P, States and regional organizations need to have the necessary resources to prevent and halt mass atrocities, i.e. early warning mechanisms, stand-by forces in problem areas, mediation mechanisms, etc. These resources and the necessary capacity building must come from the international community, which has a historic pattern of remaining uninvolved.
So I am wondering where the African head of states and other international public figures who supports Bashir’s regime in Khartoum stands considering the above definition of the word sovereignty? Or they are just applying the Chinese proverb that says that for the sake of your personal interest you should be deaf, blind and dump.
UNAMID spokesman, Christopher Cycmanick, during the tension at the IDPs camp in Kalma, told Miraya FM radio stationthat, the mission finds itself in a very difficult position in handling the situation of the six IDP leaders:
"We want to make sure that everything is fine if they are released to the government. But technically, it’s a very fine line that we are walking because they have gone to ask for assistance or help and they have already been at the CPC for than 48 hours. And again also we are working in a sovereign country. We will at some point have to honour their request. We just want to make sure that things are handled properly."
The statement of Christopher a man who work for the international body and the above definition of the word sovereignty are incompatible.
However; it is good that the UNAMID saved the situation and didn’t act according to the statements of its spokesperson to the media, thus I decline to indulge into the matter extensively so as not be derailed from the real topic.
On the other hand I still vividly remembered the speech of Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharikathe current head of the pan-African organization at the opening session in African Union summit which was held in Kampala where he said; “The warrant of arrest against the African head of state is undermining solidarity and African peace and security that we fought for so many years, therefore it’s better to look for ways of resolving the conflict in Sudan without the need to arrest Al-Bashir”.
I strongly believe that the Nazi-like state of Bashir should not be given a chance to humiliate, disdain or thumb up its nose to the international community under the pretext of that it is a sovereign state which does not exist.
The sovereign state exists to, chart a common path and create enabling environment for its citizens to fulfil themselves in life and not a state which ethnically cleanses its citizens, sending the rest to concentration camps and starving them to death by cutting basic human needs such as water, food and sanitation.
Imagine what type of an arrogant state we have in Sudan? Can such regime ever be trusted to feed the Darfurian people or take care of them? Never!!! Because I am sure if the genocide survivors of Darfur were left alone for Bashir’s regime to feed them, surely he will feed them poison to kill them all.
It is worth mentioning here that poisoning of water tanks in IDP camps and distributing toxic food and medicine by the regime’s local NGOs was widely reported by many international NGOs working on the ground in Darfur. Such as the case of Hisahisa IDP camp of Zalingei in 2008 to mention just a few. So morally speaking it is better for the regime’s food to go to Pakistan than to kill our people at home.
A sovereign state is not a state which has an attitudinal problem towards its citizens because of their language, religion and colour. As a government is broadly defined by, “who is doing what to whom and how”.
Thus, the international community especially the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is committing a historical mistake by maintaining a lenient approach and not acting to save millions of lives in Darfur as well as to rescue the political situation in a country at the brink of inevitable collapse.
As the regime is adamant to ’Somaliarize’ the country by turning its back against the referendum of southern Sudan and continuing the genocide in Darfur. The current pariah criminal state of Bashir, should not be seen through the lenses of responsible and sovereign state any more.
Finally I call upon the UNSC to address the dire humanitarian situation in Darfur by taking the necessary measures that will guarantee the safety of the war-affected civilians. The council must engage forcibly to, ensure that Khartoum respects its agreements with the international humanitarian community and UNAMID in order to let them have unhindered access to the people on the ground in Darfur and also to ensure the referendum on the future of south Sudan is conducted in a timely and peaceful manner.
Please act now!!!
The author is based in Kampala, Uganda and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org