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Security Council Briefing on Zimbabwe March 17, 2007

Posted by publicpolitics in Uncategorized.
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Evelyn Leopard reports that Britain has asked the UN to brief the Security Council on the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe. On Friday, March 17th

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said he asked for “a humanitarian briefing” because of the attacks on Tsvangirai, the economic crisis and the general political situation.

Jones Parry said he was not asking at this stage for specific action. Instead, he said he wanted to focus attention on the events of the last week and the economic and political situation, which had caused Zimbabweans to flee to other countries in southern Africa.

Source: alertnet.org

According to the Leopard story, South Africa immediately entered the fray:

But Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa’s U.N. ambassador, said that while he and other council members had no objections to the briefing, the turmoil in Zimbabwe did not affect international peace and security — the council’s mandate.

“We do not believe that the issue of Zimbabwe belongs in the Security Council,” Kumalo said. “So to bring it to the council is surprising.”

Source: alertnet.org

What is even more surprising is how Kumalo glosses over the Zimbabwean refugee problem, one that clearly affects international peace and security-in his own country. Out of a population of 14 million, an estimated 3-5 million refugees have fled Zimbabwe for South Africa. The South African government, says James Kirchick

actually deports thousands of Zimbabweans back to their country, where many are later imprisoned and tortured.

Source: nysun.com

Kirchik argues that the Zimbabwean refugee problem dwarfs the much more publicized and better funded Palestinian one, but we need not accept Kirchik’s whole argument to understand that by any reasonable definition, a government that compels 20-35% of its citizens to flee to another country with already overburdened social services is a threat for international peace and security. Does half the population need to leave before the world community deals with Mugabe? Three-quarters?

Whether the Security Council is an appropriate forum for concerted action on Zimbabwe is open for debate, but the existence of an international problem is no longer contestable. Zimbabweans have voted on that with their feet, and they will no doubt continue to do so until their is a change of government their homeland.

Tags: Turmoil | situation | humanitarian | Crisis | brief | attacks | Asked | action | Zimbabwe | UN | tsvangirai | Politics | PARRY | Jones | Emyr | Council | Britain | AMBASSADOR | Africa

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