February 4, 2006

UN Security Council and Darfur

From the New York Times:
American and United Nations officials said they expected the United Nations force to absorb the 7,000 African Union troops already there, rearm them and then increase the total troop presence to a level between 12,000 and 20,000. More than 200,000 residents of Darfur have been killed since the violence began three years ago, and as many as three million rely on international aid for basic sustenance.

The violence has ramped up recently, and its good to see that something is happening, even if it happens over the objections of Khartoum, and even if SC members Russia and China will oppose any direct action against Khartoum. The problem is really going to come in finding the troops. The US has no intention of providing combat troops, and the UN expects these troops to come from our army. As far as I can tell there is no deadline for resolving this issue, but in the meantime, at least the AU troops will be given adequate arms and an expanded mandate to protect the people and enforce the ceasefire.

On the campus activism side of things, the University of California system was expected to approve divestment two weeks ago. Stating that they did not have adequate information to act on, the Board of Regents ordered the President's office to compile a report. UC is expected to divest as much as $150 million of its $6.5 billion endowment at the next scheduled Board meeting in March. Amherst College recently approved divestment from 19 firms involved in Sudan, and the College's press release included a quote from Nobel laureate and trustee, Joseph Stiglitz '64, reaffirming the rationale for divestment. Brown University's responsible investment committee has also approved divestment, and Yale's equivalent committee is currently preparing a report on the subject.

I'll be the first one to admit that there is no direct relation between divestment and the UN's recent decision. However, I think it is significant that anything at all has happened, and were it not for college activists and human rights advocates within the evangelical community, I don't think the genocide in Darfur would have ever made it onto Bush's agenda.

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