12 June 2007

Good News From Sudan

Despite a decades-long conflict, an aerial survey in Southern Sudan has revealed that wildlife populations are thriving on an order that rivals the migrations of the Serengeti and could represent the biggest migration of large mammals on Earth.

Let's hope the aerial survey of Darfur brings equally good news for the human population under pressure there...

Richard Goldstone, a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and a member of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations' Oil-for-Food Program, today calls for the UN Security Council to institute an embargo on oil revenues to the Sudanese Government. After reflecting on some of the weaknesses and failings of the UN Oil for Food Program in Iraq, he concludes:

"We should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, there were weaknesses in the Iraqi program. But many of them could be addressed by simple reforms and better management within the UN. Such an embargo is the best tool that is realistically available to force Khartoum to end the slaughter in Darfur. It would be far better than the bloody status quo."

Evening UPDATE: News is that Khartoum has agreed to a combined United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force of between 17,000 and 19,000 troops and an additional 3,700 police to be deployed in Darfur. Of course, whether it will actually happen is another matter — on the basis of what's become of past agreements, I wouldn't bet on it.