Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Why Koffi Annan's study of Kajumulo's report is only academic

Sometime over the next few days, Koffi Annan the UN secretary general, will study the report compiled by his special envoy to Zimbabwe on the urban removals according to this press release. This study is only academic.

Even though he might be appalled by the status quo in my Southern African nation, Annan is powerless to get the UN into action over Zimbabwe. Mugabe is, I'm afraid to say, better connected than Annan. The secretary general can't even get Zimbabwe, a country he'll now have documented evidence of rights abuse on, out of the 15 member human rights commission at he UN.

And Monomotapa House (home of Mugabe's offices) knows it. Just last Monday the Herald gloated over the failure by the UK to get a resolution passed in the security council on Zimbabwe's rights abuse record thus;
"Zimbabwe continues to receive the support of the international community at United Nations Security Council meetings despite attempts by Britain to get Harare to be on the agenda of the world body’s crucial organ on the basis of alleged human rights violations.

At last week’s Security Council public discussion on the role of the UN organ in humanitarian crises, Britain once again tried unsuccessfully to have Harare labelled as a case of concern over humanitarian issues.

As in the past, London did not mention Zimbabwe directly in the discussion but used Canada to call on the Security Council to put Zimbabwe under surveillance for alleged human rights abuses.

Canada cited the clean-up operation that the Government embarked on to rid urban areas of illegal structures and criminal activities.

Britain has used the strategy of not attacking Zimbabwe directly at UN Security Council meetings but uses other Western countries to condemn Harare because it fears it would be dismissed as dragging a bilateral dispute with Harare onto the international forum."
But writing on the same incident, SW Radio Africa's Tererai Karimakwenda said,
"In a move that surprised no other countries on the United Nations Security Council, nations that are friendly with Robert Mugabe again blocked discussion of his human rights abuses during a public debate last week. The state controlled Herald newspaper gloated on Monday, claiming Zimbabwe continues to receive the support of the international community at United Nations Security Council meetings. The Herald said it was Britain that attempted to get Harare on the agenda, even though it was Canada that cited the recent clean-up operation as an example of a crisis created by a government's own policies against its people.

In the debate, Canada's permanent representative to The United Nations said "It is also important to acknowledge that humanitarian crises are not solely the result of armed conflict. There are also those prompted by the misguided and malevolent policies of governments towards their own populations." In this regard, Zimbabwe's controversial cleanup operation was an appropriate example, especially given that the UN had found it necessary to send a special envoy into the country to investigate.

But The Herald chose to ignore this important point, focusing instead on how the usual suspects - India, China and Venezuela - rejected Canada's position. Helmoed Romer Heit Man, the South Africa correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly said what happened last week is nothing new to the Security Council. It goes back to the Korean conflict and how the Soviet Union used its powers in that situation. Romer Heit Man said proposed changes by secretary general Kofi Annan might limit the usual suspects from blocking important issues, but they probably won't work as no country with veto powers will be prepared to give them up."
Where does this leave us? Well, let's see. The UN remains an academic institution that has fatally aborted on it's mission to protect and advance civilization across the world. As for Zimbabwe's leaders; you just gave Condi Rice the justification for lumping alongside the "outposts of tyranny" by touting the fact that you associate yourself with leaders of this ilk.

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