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The African Union mandate ends in December 2006, so the pressure is on. We have fudged it once already. We must ensure that what happens before the end of 2006 has forward momentum and, if the hybrid solution is the way forward, that we know how we will go on from the end of the year. There is added piquancy because of the problems in Chad, with the possibility of an upsurge in violence and attacks on the Government there. Again, the French may have a role. That may not have been seen as clearly as one would have hoped, but perhaps the French Government could do something.
Andrew George (St. Ives) (LD): I congratulate the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on everything he has achieved and I want to be associated with the comments of the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow).
Does the hon. Member for Stroud agree that in recent years the international response has been characterised by relative timidity when compared with the international response to the situation in Iraq, particularly the forthright way in which both America and the UK approached the matter and the resources that have been deployed to deal with the situation? Does he also agree that, as we come to the end of the AU mandate, it is important that henceforth we are considerably more forthright in our dealings with the situation in Sudan and Darfur?
Mr. Drew: I agree that we must be forthright, but we must also understand the complexities on the ground. The problem is that we sometimes pretend that the complexities can be diluted, but that is not possible. Without going over the historywe all know that there are many antecedentsthe Sudan Government have the largest share of the blame, which they can escape, but other forces that we have met here and have talked to on the ground have no clear agenda. They need an agenda, starting with a ceasefire, because they have achieved many of the things that they apparently wanted to achieve.
On the ceasefire and the political settlement that will hopefully follow, the key question is: following Addis, where is the Darfur peace agreement on which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State worked with great effort, and what is its status? What are the UK Government in particular doing to put pressure on the different forces when we do not know who is fighting whom because of the tribal and ethnic divisions and the fact that new organisationsfor example, the National Redemption Fronthave arisen out of the anarchy on the ground? Where are we with the long-held desire for a no-fly zone? The hon. Member for Buckingham raised that at least a year, if not longer, ago. Yet apparently the Sudanese Government are acting with impunity, which is not acceptable. A no-fly zone should be in force.
Where are we with the rebel groups, whoever they may be? Can the UK Government talk directly to those groups on the ground, in other parts of Sudan or even in Londoneveryone, at some time, comes through London. Last but not least, where are we with the Darfur-to-Darfur dialogue? People on the groundcivil societymust work on that if there is to be a long-term settlement.
What else can we do? There must be a proper sanction on countries that continue to bring small arms and other ammunition into this terrible zone of conflict. The UN appointed a panel to see who was breaking the so-called sanctions and still arming the Arab militias. It would be interesting to know what action the UK Government are taking through the UN to put pressure on them. I asked a parliamentary question about a British firm, but I shall not discuss that here because the information is perhaps more complicated than I at first thought. However, Britain must ensure that its house is in order and I hope that my right hon. Friend will talk to the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that arms exports are controlled and do not reach Sudan at second hand, which is often what happens.
The issue is not just what we can do directly about what is happening in Sudan. Some of us are worried about what is happening in the surrounding countriesEthiopia, the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia and so on. The last thing the region needs is a conflict in some other part of the horn of Africa, so we need arms control over the whole region. That may be difficult to achieve, but unless we are ambitious, Darfur will lose out.
My final point is a specific one that anyone who has been to the camps or has an interest in the area knows only too well. The worst aspect has been the gender issue: the sexual violence against women and girls, which has been a weapon of war in Darfur. Rape has been used with no thought for the lives of those affected, and that must be borne down on. The situation is probably the worst we have ever seen because sexual violence is a deliberate attempt to drive people from their homes. I believemy right hon. Friend may care to commentthat not only are women attacked as they leave the camps to pick up firewood but they are increasingly attacked in the camps. What security is on offer and who is in charge of that security? I condemn the Sudan Government for being unwilling, sadly, to recognise sexual violence for what it isa crime against humanity.
I said that I would not talk about genocide, but I will talk about crimes against humanity. Rape and worse are used against women, and that must stop. We must put in place the security to ensure that it stops. Again, I ask my right hon. Friend to comment particularly on what we can do to deal with gender violations when women are bearing the brunt of the attacks. The situation is dreadful, and we must move forward. I hope that this debate will give us the opportunity to do so, and I make no apology for bringing it back to this Chamber.
Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con):
Probably everyone in the Chamber can bear witness to what has happened in the camps in Darfur, and to the attitude of the Khartoum Government. I well remember a sitting of the International Development Committee with the Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, in which after a while, his insouciance and his uncaring attitude to what was going on prompted my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) to ask, What is it like to be an international political leper? The Minister did not bat an eyelid; he just went on with
what he thought was his charm offensive. We have seen the horror of the camps and the attitude of the Government of Sudan, but it would be pointless to dwell on those aspects today.
The hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) made an excellent speech, none of which needs repeating, but I want to respond to one point that he made. What is the point of a war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone bringing Charles Taylor to justice, demonstrating that even for Heads of State there is no immunity under international lawI am convinced that Gaddafi was brought back into line by the threat of being brought before the International Criminal Court in Freetownif people in Sudan seem to be able to act with impunity? There has been much talk of the ICC indicting people, but so far very little seems to have happened.
I want to broaden the debate to encompass international policy on intervention, because it is important that we do not lose track of where we have already been. Way back in 1998, Kofi Annan, in a lecture at Ditchley on intervention, said:
Our job is to intervene: to prevent conflict where we can, to put a stop to it when it has broken out, orwhen neither of those things is possibleat least to contain it and prevent it from spreading.
Darfur has demonstrated one reality of humanitarian intervention. In practice, there are probably only three countriesourselves, the United States of America and Francewith the military capability to mount offensive humanitarian, peacekeeping military operations, which involve recovering and re-establishing security. We did so in Sierra Leone, and the French helped to do so in Ivory Coast.
The problem with Sudan was that the United States and the United Kingdom were heavily committed in Iraq and elsewhere, and they certainly did not want to become involved militarily in another Muslim statewhether in north Africa or in the middle east. In an interesting book, The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention, Michael Ignatieff says:
As long as the chief motive for intervention is conscience alone, we can only expect sporadic action from a few responsible actors. Once it is realised that we are looking at a crisis in the international order, a tear in the ozone layer of global governance, states that would otherwise remain uninvolved might understand that their long term interest in stability and order compel them to commit resources to the problem. Putting national interest criteria into the debate also helps with the problem of triage. There are many failed and failing states. The ones that will actually receive sustained international attention will be those that directly threaten the national interest and national security of powerful states.
the odds are that if any Western force did intervene
it would become bogged down and that some new cause for all the Jihadists in the world would emerge and we would find ourselves very quickly being shot at by all sides.
The Government and others clearly decided to support the African Union. Indeed, the Secretary of State made much of that when he appeared before the International Development Committee during the previous Parliament. He said:
I think we do have to recognise that this is a very significant moment in the history of the AU. They sense it and we should sense it. Why? Because this is Africa saying We have responsibility for dealing with conflict on our own continent and we intend to take the lead.
The AUs Peace and Security Directorate is responsible for 53 member states in the continent. It has less than ten people, professionals who are technicians in the area of peace and security, and these people are supposed to prevent conflict, manage conflict and resolve conflicts in the whole of Africa.
The international community has confused theories about when we should intervene. The Prime Minister, in 1999, gave a speech in the United States entitled, Doctrine of the International Community, on how we decide when and whether to intervene in other countries.
Tony Baldry: It was an excellent speech. It took place at the Economic Club in Chicago. But nowhere in that speech did the Prime Minister mention the entire international community conducting humanitarian intervention. He asked:
have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo.
The Canadian Government set up the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which came up with the concept of the responsibility to protect. The UN took up that concept in September 2003, with Kofi Annans high-level panel on threats, challenges and change, which produced a report in December 2004. The headlines about the report were dramatic:
UN to back pre-emptive strikes in first major overhaul.
emerging norm of responsibility to protect civilians from large scale violence.
I attach very high priority to improving the international humanitarian effort to save lives and alleviate suffering...I think the Panel is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to seize the chance for reform and the international community needs to respond boldly. I strongly support the recommendations of the High Level Panel on the responsibility to protect.
John Bercow: Does my hon. Friend agree that intervention must be not just humanitarian intervention, the purpose and effect of which is to slow down the death rate by reducing the incidence of disease? Given that the Secretary of State said on 18 May in this Chamber that he fully and reasonably expected a UN force to be deployed by now, but it has not been, does not my hon. Friend agree that the time has come for the international community to decide whether the responsibility to protect is to be a serious attempt to avert genocide or a futile exercise in vacuous moral posturing?
Tony Baldry: I entirely agree. The Government must provide a lead and we must ensure that if we undertake military intervention for humanitarian purposes, it is effective. The African Union has not been effective. It had only Land Rovers; it did not have any lift capacity. But we saw effective military intervention for humanitarian purposes in Sierra Leone. We have done it; we know that we can deliver it. However, the international community must define more clearly when it will intervene for humanitarian purposes, and intervention must be effective; otherwise, what is the point of international order?
In the absence of a commensurate increase in available personnel, United Nations peacekeeping risks repeating some of its worst failures of the 1990s.
This debate rightly focuses on Darfur, and it is clear to everyone that humanitarian intervention is required there. We tried with the African Union, but that intervention failedit is unfair to accuse the African Union itself of failing, but it has not deliveredand we are now back to the United Nations, which has yet to intervene. What has happened to the emerging norm underlying all that? It does not yet seem to have emerged very far. Unless we are all clear that the international community will intervene speedily in cases of humanitarian disaster, regimes such as the Government of Sudan will continue to believe that they can treat their people with impunity for a long time to come.
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold) (Con): Thank you for allowing me to catch your eye, Miss Begg. I had not originally intended to speak, but I should like to ask the Secretary of State one or two questions that have not yet been fully covered. I congratulate my neighbour, the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), on securing this debate, because it addresses an international scandal. The conflict broke out in 2003, and since then more than 450,000 people have been killed, more than 2 million people have displaced and every sort of humanitarian disaster and atrocity has taken place. However, the international community has largely not taken the action that it ought to have taken. I also want to return to some of the things that my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) said.
I should like to take us back to a week ago last Thursday, to the agreement in Addis Ababa, and ask
the Secretary of State whether he can tell us a little about Chinas role. The Chinese have a crucial role to play in the disaster, because they are one of the chief funders of the Sudanese Government, through their oil purchases, and China is also one of the members of the P5. We have heard reports that China played a role in that process, so it would be useful to have a first-hand report and hear what role it played.
What was agreed at Addis Ababa was the UN-AU hybrid force. The AU mandate runs out at the end of this year, so it would be useful to know from the Secretary of State what will happen if the hybrid force has not managed to get agreement from the Sudanese Government to go in before the end of the year. What arrangements will be made in the intervening period, between when the AU mandate runs out and when the hybrid force commences operations?
It would be interesting to know how the hybrid force is to be made up. The hon. Member for Stroud asked some questions about that. Who will supply it with military assets? It would be logical for this country to supply some, but we are already well overstretched elsewhere, so exactly who will supply the hybrid force with the necessary assets, equipment, soldiers and so on? Most importantly, who will command it? If it is to have any chance of success, it will presumably have to be commanded by an African commander, and preferably one of Muslim origin. It would be interesting to hear what the Secretary of State has to say about that.
a different approach to this
that is, to UN Security Council resolution 1706and is open-ended. That might address part of my question of what will happen when the AU mandate runs out at the end of the year. Perhaps the US Administration have something different in mind, but perhaps the Secretary of State could fill us in on that. Andrew Natsios was responding to a Sudanese official at that meeting who said that Sudan had
every single right to be suspicious about these things because of broken promises of the U.S. government and the international community over there.
In other words, the Sudanese Government are preparing still to be obdurate about the use of the hybrid force. One can think of any number of excuses that they might deploy to prevent that force from acting. If it does not act, what further action can the international community take?
Mention has been made of the call that my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) has made for a no-fly zone, which is one of the simpler things that we could implement. No-fly zones were implemented pretty successfully in Iraq between the first and second Iraq wars. We hear reports of the Sudanese Government or rebelsI know not whichbombing cities in Chad and causing destabilisation there, which is a serious aspect of the crisis. There is now a significant build-up of refugees crossing the borders between Sudan and Chad, and between Sudan and the Central African Republic, which I have asked the Secretary of State about. If there were further destabilisation in those other countries and across
Africa, the conflict would be much more serious than it already is, so perhaps he could say something about that.
Mention has been made of what the international hybrid force is supposed to achieve and how it will operate if the Sudanese Government refuse to admit it. It is all very well saying that the UN has a duty to keep the peace, but how will it do that? I got my research assistant this morning to print off about six pages of chapter VII resolutions since 1950, which are the highest UN resolutions. Chapter VII allows the Security Council to
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