28 February 2007

Sovereignty, of the people or the scum on the top?

Whether it's Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Uzbekistan . . .
It doesn't matter which country, the situation's the same. The recognition of the sovereign right of whichever elite runs the nation and rules the people within its borders is a matter for that elite.

Thus, today Salah Sarrar at Reuters reports:

"Neighbors Sudan and Chad pledged to redouble efforts to end border violence being fueled by Darfur's conflict, concluding their third agreement in 12 months to end hostilities and respect each other's sovereignty . . ."The governments of both countries are committed to respect the sovereignty of one another and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the other country, and refrain from any hostile activity against one another, and to work for full normalization of their relations," the statement said."
Non-interference in internal affairs. This is the way that China likes to put it, and the reason that the recent UN resolution on Burma failed, given that China is the new world leader and nations like South Africa prefer to vote with China than to follow a moral imperative that one would think was natural to them, but which has become embarrassingly, laughably 'Western' (and why should high-flying morals be laughed at less in the UN than they are in Washington, Canberra, London?).

The Chinese message to dictators and despots is as welcome as the US's has always been, but China's is refreshingly lacking in hypocritical cant. China is making deals and forging partnerships around the world at a rate that has made the US irrelevant (as for Europe, it's been irrelevant for years). Non-interference in internal affairs no matter what when it comes to their own country, is, come to think of it, the way that the great majority of world leaders like the status quo to be, and if I scratch your human rights violations, you scratch mine.

"Respect for each country's sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs are universally recognized principles of international law."
- Human Rights in China - Chinese government 'Whitepaper')

"In carrying out its responsibility in maintaining international peace and security, be it peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, post-conflict peace-building or activities in other related areas, the United Nations should always follow the fundamental principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs"
- China on UN Peacekeeping Operations - People's Daily

"Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win made the country’s first address to the 60th UN General Assembly on Friday afternoon in New York, using the occasion to highlight the organization’s policy of non-interference in internal affairs."
- Burmese FM stresses non-interference in UN address - Burmanet News

"For a number of reasons, the United States decided that the ICC had unacceptable consequences for our national sovereignty."
- The United States and the International Criminal Court - US Department of State

May 2008 update
- Burma: The Dark Side of Sovereignty - IntLawGrrls

- Zimbabwe: I Refuse to Be Silent - Maxwell B. Madzikanga, Fahamu

"Less talk and more action" -
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, August 2000

"UN chief Ban Ki-moon flew to army-ruled Myanmar's remote new capital on Friday, for a rare audience with junta supremo Than Shwe to press him to accept more aid for 2.4 million people left destitute by Cyclone ..." -
Patrick Worsnip YANGON (Reuters) - U.N. chief to press Myanmar junta boss on aid 23 May 2008

"As a citizen of Burma and an elected representative, I want to stress that, pursuing diplomatic options to convince an intransigent regime like the Burma generals, is like waiting for people to die and time is something that the people of Burma do not have." - Sein Win, the prime minister in exile of Burma,
No Time Left for Diplomatic Options: Sein Win by Lalit K Jha, irrawaddy.org

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