What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Single-issue approaches to postcolonial problems

Back in the spring this year, when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, one could fear several bad consequences. One obvious possibility was that the Sudanese government might kick out all humanitarian organisations from Sudanese territory, leaving a huge number of displaced people, in camps and elsewhere, in dire conditions, without the provision of basic humanitarian aid - so you had a conflict between the humanitarian and the human-rights community, if you (probably didn't) like. At the same time, it was also a concern that Sudan might turn back to giving support to the most radical organisations in the Islamic world, if its leadership ends up fully isolated, as pariahs, on the international scene. In the end, this of course didn't happen. The Arab League and the African Union did not support the ICC decision, Omar al-Bashir could make some demonstrative trips outside the country, the U.S., most likely relieved that the ICC was taking fire from all sorts of directions now from which it used to receive some hypocritical backing, was ready for a modest détente with the Sudan, and with Sudanese permission some of the aid organisations that had been forced to close down could return to the country. Now a probing round of mediation for a Darfur peace agreement is taking place in Qatar, albeit with no open presence of representatives from the government or the rebel side. So the moment may not really seem ripe for this. Amnesty International "learned that the Danish government has invited Sudanese President al Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, to attend a meeting in Copenhagen on climate change in December." They say: “Denmark needs to make it clear that it will arrest President al Bashir if he travels to Copenhagen” (so said Christopher Keith Hall, Senior Legal Adviser at Amnesty International).
I am observing this from the ivory tower, not really with the same deep interest that I show towards what is going on in Afghanistan. I am merely dispassionately noting here the interesting phenomenon of a conflict between the human-rights and the environmentalist community that has just appeared on the horizon in this case, although it may be regarded as being of infinitesimal significance.

No comments: