ME and Ophelia

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Is global warming and to get better policies
in the area of failing states

Clive Soley MP, in his recent post on the Sudan and failing states (note also his responses here and here), says that apart from the problems of global warming, the challenge of this century is to get better policies in the area of failing states.

He makes the point that "currently the world lurches between doing nothing as in Rwanda or intervening with heavily armed troops as in Afghanistan and Iraq between there are cases like Somalia where the world’s intervention failed and East Timor where it succeeded but not until much of the damage had been done".

He feels Sudan is just the latest in a long line of failed or failing states, and very much fears this is going to be the pattern for many years yet.

And notes that Kofi Annan has a high level panel looking at this problem and it may be ready to report at the end of the year.

It makes me wonder why has it taken the U.N. 60 years to look into the problem - especially after genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia took place ten years ago - and the West, including Kofi Annan, said "never again".

The U.N. administration needs to get its priorities straightened and work more efficiently if they want to be seen as good value for money (which I think they are not - the whole business needs looking at, along with the UN refugee agency and World Food Programme).

Since Clive is planning to write a Fabian pamphlet on failing states, and I am hoping the Bill of Human Rights forms the basis of debates, papers and policies on failing states - I shall now go over to his blog and post a comment (consisting of my last two posts here) as a contribution to the discussion.
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Update: Note the comment left in a post below by top British blogger Alistair Coleman of Scaryduck fame who is studying human rights and democracy at Britain's Open University.

Alistair writes: "The problem with world human rights is that any judgement handed down by the UN do not carry legal weight. This means countries can - and will - ignore them. The only way enforcement can occur is by concerted pressure by the world community, hoping to either embarrass a country into compliance, apply sanctions or act militarily. In the case of Darfur, the whole world is being embarrassed into grudging action. What a mess."

Why is it that a judgement handed down by the U.N. carries no legal weight - is it too difficult to introduce? What would it take for judgements to carry legal weight -- is it being worked on, and if not, why not -- does anyone know?

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/12/2004
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