Washington News Forum

*****We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others. John F. Kennedy***** ****** Email: newsfromwashington@yahoo.com

Friday, November 04, 2005

A New Policy Approach to Human Security in the Sub-Saharan

by Meir Haija

The Raging Liberal

As the echoes of Rwanda’s now more than decade-old genocide still seem deafening, we seem to mistaken these pleas for a similar sound coming out of Sudan. We are now presented with what may be a comparable Western oblivion or denial, with the crisis in Darfur. While the United Nations (UN) and other Western nations chose to focus on the territorial issues of Rwanda, an estimated one million Tutsi’s were massacred with machetes. Once again the Western response to a Sub-Saharan crisis is too passive and maybe too late.

It was revealed that the $250 million dollars the United States sent in the aftermath of the Rwandan massacre could have been reduced to a sum of $35 million had it been sent twelve-weeks prior, and more importantly possibly thwarted one of the most gruesome 100-day periods in recorded history. Had the United States authorized a peacekeeping force prior to the massacres, this humanitarian catastrophe could have been avoided along with securing $200 million dollars toward critical social needs in the region. However, the protection of people was not within the primary framework of the human security policy toward Rwanda at the time, and the crisis in Darfur does not appear to be a Western priority either. There are great moral ramifications in the commitment to certain expenditures and the denial of others when atrocities and humanitarian crises like this are occurring.

Outside actors, such as the UN and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), must call on Sub-Saharan nations to implement a system where developing Sub-Saharan nations are encouraged to ratify a program developed around making human security the forefront of their governmental policy. This system should be mandated and audited in each region of each respective Sub-Saharan nation, and report to an international platform as to provide a measure of checks and balances. This mission shall be dedicated solely to the proper administration of a directed human security policy. Human security belongs in the hands of the people who are impacted, and an international platform must protect and secure this mission. Human security administered by the many Sub-Saharan leaders often will not focus on the value of human life and essentially amounts to a bankrupt program of political survival. One must be mindful that when determining the best course of action in the Sudan, the issue of human life may not be placed on the back burner as it was in Rwanda. The UN and Western approach to Rwanda was one of reckless nature through its passivity and ill judgment.

A commitment to territories, establishing democracies and sovereignty of nations should not be the immediate focus of human security when dealing with on-going humanitarian crises, such as in Darfur, certain issues must be given precedence. These crucial issues are to be examined in the context of what the securing of territory will do for these particular issues. As in the case of Rwanda, it was apparent that the security of the state was experiencing internal unrest. However, there was clearly no way of preventing what occurred without an external agent acting to protect the security of the people. In many instances, the protection of people and territory can work hand-in-hand; however, the former should never take a supporting role to the latter.

Preventing humanitarian disasters requires the establishment external international agents that work solely toward preventing atrocities through an established platform of representation of each respective citizenry. The inherently snide tendencies of Sub-Saharan leadership to act in their own political and financial self-interest makes for sometimes deadly results and it is the populace underneath the policymakers who bare the brunt of the reckless actions by their leadership. In many cases in the Sub-Saharan the territorial sovereignty of a nation may be in a state of relative security, while the citizenry are beleaguered with dire humanitarian conditions. International bodies such as the UN and some NGOs have only recently begun to take proactive roles on these issues by using the bypass of government. However, many Sub-Saharan leaders are fearful that the presence of these organizations and their “ownership” roles in some regions, are simply a front for Western corporations to exploit resources.

In the case of the UN action in Rwanda, the actions, or lack thereof, cannot be entirely imputed on policy, but rather the unwillingness of member states to abide by their treaty obligations. Generally this is due to the increasing danger and difficulty in assisting to curb these human security issues. The condition of member states to renege on their obligations poses a great difficulty in acting on the policies set forth by the UN and often leaves its decision makers at the mercy of their detached members.

The focus of human security should indeed be the protection of people. The dangers and difficulties of any other issue taking greater importance creates a serious dilemma for the future of any people, just as we are witnessing now in the Sub-Saharan. One might say the only logical approach is establishing a secure territory with a leadership that is supportive to its citizenry. But as history has shown, this too has many pitfalls. The pessimist might say that we have no clear-cut option, but maybe the logical optimist might come to this conclusion as well. Nevertheless, the issue of human security should instill a primary focus on the security of human life, and we cannot count on independent nations to prevent widespread atrocities from occurring in regions where the law is ignored. A wide body of Sub-Saharan citizenry must be given an international platform to report on emerging human security violations, and the international arena must dedicate its most fortified and equipped missions toward maintaining a watchful eye on developments of human security. Preventing all humanitarian violations is a pipe-dream, but within policy, focus, and platform, this dedication toward human security must remain at the forefront.

Meir Haija writes for The Raging Liberal on issues related to policy and government