Friday, July 8, 2011

A strange juxtaposition

Isn't this a strange juxtaposition of news stories? It was on the World News page of the Daily Telegraph (UK) online edition.

So on the one hand, the UN is very aggrieved that the US state of Texas would proceed with the execution of a Mexican national without taking into account that he did not have consular assistance at trial. The US Supreme Court denied a last-minute stay because US law does not recognize the lack of consular assistance as the basis for a Federal appeal.

Not that this was anything other than a stalling tactic. The condemned killer, Humberto Leal, tortured and murdered a 16-year-old girl: the physical evidence conclusively disproved his version of the events.

At the same time that the UN is deploring the execution of a particularly vicious rapist-murderer, its "peacekeeping" mission in Sudan stood idly by as Sudanese government forces attacked and murdered civilians:

Hundreds of people gathered outside a UN base for safety after Sudan's armed forces moved to crush a fresh rebellion by opposition militia in the town of Kadugli in the country's southeast.

They were refused entry to the fortified compound and instead camped outside its barbed wire perimeter with little shelter, food or water.

Reverend Barnaba Ibrahim said soldiers arrived in the middle of the night and dragged men accused of being rebel sympathisers away to be killed.

The allegations, supported by other reports from the area, again call into question the ability of the £650 million-a-year UN mission in Sudan to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians.

"I was just hiding, lying down pretending to be asleep, and they took the man next to me and beat him to death with sticks, five metres from the walls of the UN base," Rev Ibrahim said in Juba, capital of South Sudan, where he has fled for safety.

"Two other men were taken the same night. They were screaming and protesting.

The next day, we found their bodies nearby and they had been shot." Rev Barnaba, an Anglican pastor from Kadugli, said that "there is no way the peacekeepers did not know what was happening".

"There are armed guards all around that place, even at night," he said, still wearing the white shirt and grey slacks he fled in, a month ago.

"The peacekeepers are supposed to be there to protect us. They did nothing. This happened more than the one time I witnessed." Anderson Yacoub, who works with the Anglican diocese of Kadugli, said colleagues sleeping outside the same UN base, at Shaahir on the city's outskirts, had reported similar stories.

"There were other people who fled into the mountains, even though that seemed more dangerous, and they survived," he said, also in Juba.

"Those others who went seeking refuge at the UN, they were the ones who died." The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has been plagued by allegations that it has repeatedly failed to carry out its central mandate to protect civilians, by force if necessary.

The UN protests that an American state executes a brutal killer, while the force it deploys with the mandate to stop brutal killers from brutally killing civilians simply stands by as those brutal killer brutally kill civilians. It seems to me that the UN as an organization is culpable in the deaths of the Sudanese who believed its promises of safety and protection, especially since those people flocked to the UN compound precisely because of those promises and were thus nicely arranged in a compact group for the murderers to slaughter.

And note that the UN donor countries pay $1 billion a year to have UN peacekeepers sit on their thumbs and watch civilians be murdered. I would rather have my taxes go to the costs of executing more Humberto Leals rather than to subsidizing the incompetence and cowardice of so-called "peacekeepers" whose presence actually facilitates the killing they were sent to prevent.

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