Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An Answer to Darfur

Featured Speakers: Anita Sharma

Anita Sharma, Executive Director of the ENOUGH Project, shared her insights on a conference call with CENSA members and other interested organizations. As director of ENOUGH, Sharma works on conflict prevention and the newly created Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The current major concerns in egregious violations of human rights are Darfur, the Congo and Uganda.

In order to address these conflicts, ENOUGH uses many strategies, but their most recognized are the 4-As and the 3-Ps. The four As stand for Analysis, Advocacy, Activism Strategy and Accountability. The three Ps stand for Peace, Protection and Punishment. These expand out to promoting justice and peace, providing protection for refugees and displaced persons, and punshing perpetrators.

With specific attention to Darfur, Sharma referred to it as a “slow burn”. It does not have a casualty rate near the rapidity of past atrocities such as Rwanda but its duration is much greater and slowly, but surely, the Janjaweed have caused the direct or indirect death of about 350,000 Darfurians (About.com: World News, internet). The purpose of R2P is to help the international community to work together to develop an effective common strategy to break the cycle of violence. Given the duration and death toll, we undoubtedly have the responsibility to mitigate and rebuild as part of “protection”.

R2P has become the new international norm and when a state fails to meet R2P, the responsibility falls to the international community. R2P legislation was unanimously adopted in September 2005 by heads of state but yet we have not yet created capacity to operationalize or enforce it. Tardy and inadequate response brings perpetrators to believe there is little price to pay for crimes against humanity and perpetuates the cycle of violence. If R2P is to be realized, we need military resources, along with a potential standing response constituent in the UN.

R2P may be best enforced by the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping, but the multilateral power cannot be upheld unless the US pays its dues to the Department of Peacekeeping. It currently falls $186 million short of its dues to peace-keeping. We must foster political will and open the issue further in a political way, but not in a partisan way. This is an issue that needs to be promptly injected into the political agenda.

Sharma hopes that we can build a strong base for R2P here in Washington and then turn it into a sustainable practice by bridging DC with other international centers of power that can create faith in R2P despite its current failure to actually be an the international norm for which it was intended.

Location: National Security Teleconference Series
Sponsor: Council for Emerging National Security Affairs
Date: May 8, 2007
Time: 12:00-1:00pm
Intern Attending: Elysa Severinghaus

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