Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sudan and Human Rights Commission

I recently came upon a very interestingcartoon (Daily Nation - kenyan daily - 6th May 2004). The Cartoon showed two smoldering huts, a bleeding body sprawled on the ground and a pile of human skulls and bones, a sign was posted on the skulls: "Darfur Southern Sudan" The skulls were busy talking to each other, one asked:"Any Reaction from the International community about our plight." And another responded: "OH! NEVER AGAIN!"The cartoon illustrated the plight of Back Muslims ofWestern Sudan. According to the Human Rights Watch, anestimated 50,000 Black Muslims have been killed and afurther 1 million displaced by marauding government-backed militias known as the "Junjaweed".

The U.S government has been raising a stink about the issue: The President, Secretary of State andNational Security adviser have all called Khartoum to express their displeasure, the Senate majority andMinority leaders (and other senators) have also voiced great dissatisfaction with the situation and the House of Representatives has held committee meetings on the issue. The human rights community has also chimed inon the issue.

However, the most interesting reactionhas been that of African countries. At a time when one of our own has been accused of gross violations of human rights, we do the logical thing: we help elect them to the UN Human Rights Commission. Why not reward human rights violations with a seat at an organizationthat aims to uphold human rights. Well, it would seem that "Outwitting America" (as one Kenyan Daily put it,(East African Standard May 5th) is more important to Africa than stumping out human rights violations. We surely have our priorities right. The skulls should have asked:"What are our African Brothers doing for us?"


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