The Responsibility to Protect: Can the UN save Zimbabwe?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

By Lelo Khumalo

MugabeShortly after the creation of the UN, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).The CPPCG outlined and outlawed genocide. The day after the CPPCG was adopted; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The Declaration was meant to serve as the most authoritative statement of international human rights norms. With the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there were hopes that the planet would never again see such atrocities as those that occurred before and during WW II.

Rwanda spelled out the bitter mistake of UN inaction, epitomizing a failed peacekeeping mission. The reputation of the UN was tarnished. In 2000 Kofi Annan called on the members of the international community to unite and make sure another Rwanda never happened again. The Responsibility to Protect spelled out exactly what needed to happen in the case of humanitarian crises. Whatever the hopes of these global actions were, we have seen some of the most egregious crimes against humanity persist to this day.

Murders are continuing unabated, with terror spreading to rural areas fanned by ongoing hate campaigns and state-sanctioned violence against the opposition MDC. Since 2000, many have died for the cause for freedom, and the Responsibility to Protect still goes unanswered. With leaders like Thabo Mbeki shielding Mugabe, the prospect is horrendous. The world needs to come together and act to affirm dignity and worth of individuals as set out in the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations. The slaughtering of humanity must be stopped!!!

We need to expose and shame such governments.

Lelo Khumalo is founder of Committee for the Economic Development of Zimbabwe (CEDZ) a young think tank for diasporean/exiled Zimbabweans.