on Ethnic Relations / Rapports sur les relations
following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of
articles from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
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/ 24 / 2003
The article: "Africa at large:
World leaves peacekeeping to the poor"
Press Service (IPS), 4. June 2003
United Nations is trying to prevent a major humanitarian disaster
in Central and West Africa by dispatching a battalion of diplomats
and a contingent of peacekeepers to the politically troubled continent.
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and peace activists say
the international community is doing too little too late to prevent
the spreading crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Burundi and the Central African
inaction reflects a new division of labour in international security,
where the United States and other rich nations will handle "hard
issues" such as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and
nuclear proliferation, leaving local conflicts, poverty and HIV/AIDS
to others, says Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action.
United Nations is left with "soft issues" such as peacekeeping
and humanitarian operations, adds Booker, with peacekeeping largely
carried out by troops from the developing world. "It is an
international double standard," he says.
dragging its feet over the last few months, the 15-member U.N.
Security Council is sending two high-powered delegations to Africa
this month to help prevent more devastation on the beleaguered
Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France, who is heading the mission
to Central Africa later this week, told reporters that his delegation
will focus on two conflicts that "are tearing the region
apart" -- one in Burundi and the other in the DRC.
human cost is absolutely unacceptable," he said Wednesday.
"The international community should remain strongly mobilised."
second Security Council delegation is scheduled to leave for West
Africa on Jun. 28.
week, Council members responded to a plea by Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and approved a 1,200-strong multinational rapid deployment
force to restore law and order in DRC, where over 430 lives were
lost last month in a violent conflict between local militias for
control of the town of Bunia.
says the Security Council is only trying to prove that it is not
preoccupied with Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
at the same time, it is not taking action commensurate with the
size of the problem in the Congo," he said. The decision
to send a military force to DRC is a positive move, he told IPS,
but the 1,200-strong French-led force "is woefully inadequate".
said the United Nations already has 3,000 to 4,000 troops in the
country -- the U.N. Observer Mission in the Congo (MONUC) -- but
they are spread too thin.
a report released last week, Annan urged the Security Council
to increase the troop strength in DRC to 10,800.
far, according to U.N. sources, the only Western nations that
have agreed to supply troops to the new force include France and
Britain. Other potential contributors include South Africa, Nigeria,
Pakistan and Bangladesh.
United States has ruled out any participation in the new force,
said Booker, because it is not prepared to sacrifice the lives
of U.S. soldiers in Africa. "And there is a great irony there
because the U.S. armed forces are disproportionately composed
of people of African descent.”
troops would signal to the world that Washington is serious about
helping to end the conflict, says MaryAnne Hoekstra, associate
director of the Africa Centre for Peace and Democracy.
has shown leadership and agreed to have its soldiers take part
in this, but otherwise the forces are mainly comprised of African
and a few Latin American nations. If the United States is serious
about peace, we need to also be willing to send our troops over
there," she said.
said that "human rights should be more of a priority than
our national interest in their resources", adding, "only
then can we see peace and stability flourish in Africa".
the new rapid deployment force in the Congo is a step forward,
the number of troops needs to increase significantly in order
for peace to be restored, she added.
an interview Hoekstra described the situation in DRC as "a
humanitarian disaster on a scale that surpasses the horrors of
World War II".
international community has turned a blind eye to the horrendous
situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- and this is unacceptable."
Ibrahim Gambari told the Security Council last week that the world
community should make greater and more creative efforts to consolidate
the peace in places like the Central African Republic, Liberia
and Guinea-Bissau after peacekeepers leave.
effort should include the donor community, the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) he added.
U.N. special advisor on Africa, said the Security Council mission
to West Africa will also assess the capacity of regional organisations
such as the African Union (AU) to participate in peacekeeping
operations -- particularly in Burundi and Ivory Coast.
Doug Brooks of the International Peace Operations Association
challenges both the quality and quantity of troops assigned for
the new mission.
professionalism of troops eventually proffered to U.N. operations
is often questionable. Reportedly, some deployed troops have made
special arrangements with the United Nations specifically stating
that they will not use armed force for any reason," he wrote
in an article published in the 'Washington Post' on Monday.
says that in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, "international
peacekeeping efforts floundered due to the lack of a credible
rebels in Sierra Leone routed 8,000 U.N. troops three years ago,
the British needed only 800 soldiers to restore U.N. authority,"