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A National Gathering of the Next Generation of Human Rights Defenders
Here at Enough, we often swap emails with interesting articles and feature stories that we come across in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some of these stories with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.
Sudanese blogger Amir Ahmad Nasr makes a compelling call for a refocus on the late southern Sudanese leader John Garang’s concept of a ‘New Sudan.’ With political dissent on the rise in Sudan, there’s a “real chance for change,” Nasr writes for Al Jazeera. But Sudanese working for sweeping reform would do well to recognize Garang’s reframing of Sudan’s internal conflict:
Rather than talk in terms of either the counter-productive Arab Muslim north versus African Christian south narrative or Darfur's Arab versus African tribes storyline, he took an honourable stance and made an important valid observation. He affirmed Sudan's pluralistic nature and mixed identity, and emphasised the crucial fact that all Sudanese citizens, regardless of their backgrounds, were suffering under a murderous and repressive dictatorship.
Never seen as a fully cohesive organization, the recent election in Congo has highlighted just how many competing interests exist within the Congolese army. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting examined some of the key fissures, particularly in the East, in relation to the roles the various subgroups played in advancing their interests in the flawed election.
Adventure tales set along the Congo River seem to be cropping up with surprising frequency of late. The most recent, narrated by Phil Harwood, appeared as an excerpt in the Guardian this week, complete with a YouTube video. The introduction plays up the stereotypes of such an adventure in a way that people with more than just a vague sense of Congo might find grating, but it certainly does sound like a thrill and is worth checking out.
The ‘responsibility to protect’—as an emerging international norm and a moral imperative—is getting a lot of attention these days, especially as efforts to stem the violence in Syria intensify. In a thoughtful piece for The Atlantic, Shadi Hamid considers the role of the United States as the concept gains traction.
“Drones for human rights”? That’s the concept put forth by Genocide Intervention Network co-founders Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Mark Hanis in an oped in The New York Times. Their proposal—which they don’t wholeheartedly endorse just yet but seem eager to spark a debate about—rides on the responsibility to protect as justification for violating state sovereignty. Sniderman and Hanis use the state-directed violence in Syria as an example, but they just as well could have cited Sudan:
It may be illegal in the Syrian government’s eyes, but supporting Nelson Mandela in South Africa was deemed illegal during the apartheid era. To fly over Syria’s territory may violate official norms of international relations, but governments do this when they support opposition groups with weapons, money or intelligence, as NATO countries did recently in Libya. In any event, violations of Syrian sovereignty would be the direct consequence of the Syrian state’s brutality, not the imperialism of outsiders.
Of course, video footage captured on cell phones and satellite imagery are testing these concepts as we speak, and the fact remains: Political will—not just raw information—is the crucial ingredient determining where and how the international community intervenes.