Here at Enough, we often swap emails with interesting articles and feature stories that we come across in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some of these stories with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.
Though George Packer’s column in the New Yorker this week doesn’t specifically mention the conflict zones Enough focuses on, his reading of President Obama’s foreign policy objectives certainly holds water as they pertain to Sudan and Chad, Africa’s Great Lakes region, and Somalia – oftentimes frustratingly so.
Eliza Griswold reported this week for The Daily Beast on the house arrest of the “Mother Theresa of Somalia,” Dr. Hawa Abdi, a humanitarian and trained gynecologist who has hosted masses of displaced people on her family farm since Somalia’s famine in the early 1990s. Dr. Abdi spoke to Griswold by phone while under watch by five members of the militant group Hizbul Islam. They had told her to stop talking on the phone, but “she said she had nothing left to lose,” Griswold wrote. “’This isn’t government,’ she said. ‘This is my home.’”
Ahead of the upcoming International Criminal Court review conference in Kampala, Human Rights Watch issued this statement (and a full report) about what member states should do to promote international justice during this moment of increased attention from around the world. One interesting point in HRW’s recommendations is that the conference attendees should promote efforts to strengthen national trials of crimes that fall under ICC jurisdiction. As HRW’s international justice director Richard Dicker said, “Advancing the fight against impunity means not only strengthening the ICC, but also bringing justice to the national level according to internationally agreed standards."
The AP’s Michelle Faul provided a useful overview of the controversy over the withdrawal of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo. The Congolese government is pushing for the force to be drawn down in time for the country’s 50th anniversary of independence next month and to withdraw completely by September. But with ample evidence showing that the Congolese soldiers are some of the worst offenders, the U.N. and rights groups are quick to warn that pulling out the peacekeepers will remove the one deterrent, however nominal, to the region’s numerous armed groups.
And on that same topic, in an op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor, the International Crisis Group’s Fabienne Hara argues firmly that the peacekeepers in Congo must stay – at least for now.