Enough’s John Norris recently spoke with the VOA’s Mwamoyo Hamza and Carol Castiel, host of VOA’s Press Conference USA radio program, for a 30-minute segment on the challenges in Sudan. The piece aired across the globe last weekend and will feature in an upcoming TV segment as well. They cover the April elections, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (or lack thereof), the January 2011 referendum on secession in the South, the legacy of former SPLM leader John Garang, the ICC’s arrest warrant for President Bashir, and in a particularly memorable passage, Norris reflects on how the international community failed to meaningfully respond to genocide in Darfur:
“There was a real willingness by politicians to say that horrible things were happening in Darfur and demanded attention, but there was not, in keeping with that, a willingness to make the hard choices and take the hard actions that would really change the situation on the ground.
“I think there’s been nothing so spectacularly cynical than the peacekeeping force put in place. It’s not a peacekeeping force that’s designed to succeed. It’s one that the head of peacekeeping at the U.N. himself said would fail if implemented as designed, and lo and behold, it has failed. It doesn’t have a serious military backbone, it’s been unwilling to impose a cost on the warring parties, and literally it’s a peacekeeping force that needs to ask permission at check points to move around in Darfur. It sounds silly and simple, but to think that you’ve got a peacekeeping force that has to ask Janjaweed permission to go investigate attacks on civilians, it’s not going to work. (…)
“It’s easy to blame the U.N., but this was a decision made at the U.N. by member states. (…) I don’t think it’s something we can just point our fingers at New York and say ‘tsst, tsst, the U.N. isn’t effective.’ It was a very deliberate decision by member states to look like they were doing something about Darfur without actually doing something.”
Listen to the full radio segment here.
Photo: UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur (AP)