Blair Pushes For No-fly Darfur

Despite criticism for his own government over apathy towards Darfur asylum seekers, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is drumming up support for a UN-mandated no-fly zone enforceable by air strikes.

Blair Pushes For No-fly Darfur

Despite criticism for his owngovernment over apathy towards Darfur asylumseekers, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is drumming up support for aUN-mandated no-fly zone enforceable by air strikes.

"There could be an agreement in the SecurityCouncil that there could be a no-fly zone," a well-informed Downing Street source told The Guardian onWednesday, March 28.

Blair wants the no-fly zone included in a package ofsanctions already under discussion among the Security Council members,including an arms embargo and freezing assets of Sudanese leaders implicated inthe Darfur conflict.

According to Downing Street,Blair is pushing a Security Council resolution under "chapter 7"which allows the use of force to implement the measure.

"If the Sudanese government broke thatagreement there would have to be consequences," said the source.

Given impracticality of enforcing a no-fly zone overa region the size of France,US and British officials are considering punitive air strikes against Sudanesemilitary airfields in the case of any violation, according to The Guardian.

In 2004, France knocked out most of Ivorianmilitary planes and helicopters on the ground in reprisal for the deaths ofnine French peacekeepers in an Ivorian raid on rebel-held areas.

The Guardian saidthe no-fly-zone proposal was the brainchild of Blair amid skepticism in theForeign Office and Ministry of Defense.

The idea will be a hard sell in the Security Councilas China, a principal backerof Khartoum, islikely to oppose it.

Apathy  

While Blair was pushing for much tougherinternational action against Sudan,his government was being scolded for its apathetic treatment of helpless Darfur asylum seekers.

"The Government's handling of this is adisgrace," James Smith, chief executive of The Aegis Trust group, told TheIndependent.

The pressure group blasted London'sdouble standards as manifested in sending asylum seekers back to face death inwar-ravaged Darfur.

"The government is talking tough about the Darfur crisis but on the other hand they are trying tosend asylum-seekers back to face the regime that has burned their villages andmurdered their families," Smith said.

The trust affirmed that the Home Office was tryingto round up Darfuris before the judgment in a test case that could haltattempts to deport them.

"Thousands are dying in Darfurand we have a moral obligation not to send back anyone whose life is indanger," Sir Menzies Campbell, a Liberal Democrat leader, told the Houseof Commons Tuesday.

"Returning frightened and vulnerable Darfurivictims of ethnic cleansing to Khartoumis morally wrong and totally unacceptable," agreed Glenys Kinnock, aLabour MEP.

Mohammed Abdulhadi Ali, 39, fled Darfur after hisvillage was burned to the ground by militias and came to seek sanctuary in Britain.

After two failed asylum claims, immigrationauthorities are now determined to send him back to Sudan next week.

"When I came to Britain I hoped I would be safe.Now they would like to send me back," Ali told The Independent froma detention centre at Heathrow airport.

"They don't care for human rights."

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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