U.N. 'Compromise' on Darfur Rapes; Whitewashing Khartoum, Janjaweed Crimes

Article excerpt

Byline: Nat Hentoff, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In November, the United States presented a draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly that would directly punish the growing number of governments and their opponents that use mass rape as a political weapon. The language, reported the New York Times (Nov. 17) would unambiguously condemn "rape used by governments and armed forces to achieve political and military ends."

But, as often happens at the spineless, rampantly disingenuous United Nations, the final resolution - after itself being savaged by many self-protecting revisions - stated that, in general, rape is not acceptable, but stripped out rape as an "instrument to achieve political objectives." There was no mention left of government "soldiers and militia members." Instead, the United Nations weakly says that rape should not be used "in conflict and related situations." Who crippled the original American draft language? Not surprisingly, it was the 43-nation African Group Coalition. South African Ambassador Dumisnai Kumalo said America had created two categories of rape and the African delegates wanted "to balance the text by making certain that there was no politicization of rape." Huh? By leaving out rape sponsored by an individual state and its armed militia, the sovereign criminal nation of Sudan was thereby not embarrassed, let alone the Belgian Congo. At first, there was a U.S. objection from Grover Joseph Rees III, our human-rights ambassador, saying that we would have preferred the original language about "the particularly outrageous situation in which a state condones the use of systematic mass rape by its own forces or surrogate militias in order to advance their military or political objectives." But Mr. Rees, a team player, added that the United States does welcome the final agreement by good old consensus. That way, delegates, though disagreeing, can still have a companionable lunch. If only John Bolton were still our man at the United Nations.

After a critical New York Times editorial on the U.S.-abetted consensus, the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, was heard from in a Nov. 21 letter to the newspaper: "The United States did not fail... We are particularly pleased that the resolution requests the secretary general to report on situations in which rape is 'calculated to humiliate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate' members of opposition groups." To which nations might he be referring? Does Sudan simply "calculate" rape as a primary weapon in its genocide of black Muslims in Darfur? And is the world to take heart that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has become the Alberto Gonzales of that organization, is the authority to whom these reports are to be made? …