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Labour should put pressure on UN

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith
National Party Foreign Affairs & Trade Spokesman

8 February 2005

Labour should put pressure on UN

National's Foreign Affairs spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says the Labour Government should be demanding the United Nations prove it can act to protect innocent people from troops under government control, rather than just calling for it to renew its efforts.

He is commenting after Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff announced support for a recommendation by the International Commission of Enquiry on Darfur that the UN Security Council refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

"That's all very well but the human suffering won't stop.

"This is a human tragedy not unlike Rwanda or Kosovo. The commission found that troops and militia under the Sudanese Government's control have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"The problem is this: because Sudan is not a party to the International Criminal Court Treaty it can continue to thumb its nose at the court and the UN.

"The UN failed the people of Rwanda, and those suffering in Bosnia and Kosovo were helped only when the United States intervened with military power.

"The Minister has acknowledged that two million people remain displaced in Sudan, with many dying. There is still violence, rape, bombing and pillaging.

"The United Nations cannot afford its credibility to be further tarnished by a repeat of the human tragedy of Rwanda. It must prove it can act, and the Labour Government should be putting some pressure on", Dr Smith says.

Ends

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