FRANCE IS ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION: IT IS UP TO THE WORLD TO PUT PRESSURE ON CHINA TO GET IN LINE TO SUPPORT BURMESE VICTIMS OF THE CYLCONE
By Kevin Stoda
According to various reports this past weekend, the French government has been trying to reopen a discussion on the definition of "sovereignty" in order to aid the millions of Burmese displaced, injured, sick, or dying due to the recent reticence of the Myanmar government to allow in much aid and aid workers after the country was hit by the worst cyclone in Asia in 17 years.
According to the newswires, "France has suggested invoking a U.N. 'responsibility to protect' clause and delivering aid directly to cyclone-hit Myanmar without waiting for approval from the [Myanmar] military. The proposal came as internal U.N. documents revealed Myanmar's government is dragging its feet on giving visas to aid workers who are waiting to help the survivors of Cyclone Nargis."
On DEMOCRACY NOW, Jeremy Woodrum, noted last Thursday, "France made a move at the United Nations, since the regime had been rejecting international humanitarian aid. They made a move to force aid into Burma that would essentially overrule Burma's sovereignty in this very limited circumstance and allow countries to bring in aid, food and supplies and water directly. I believe they're going to make another try at that today. It looks like China will probably block it, but we're hoping for the best."
Noting that there is an ongoing security council level discussion at the UN on this topic, "French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters on Wednesday that the United Nations recognized in 2005 the concept of "responsibility to protect" civilians when their governments could or would not do it, even if this meant intervention that violated national sovereignty."
We are currently being told that China is the lone nation at the Security Council that has been indicating that it would veto such application of the re-conceptualized definition of the UN's "responsibility to protect" the citizens of Burma from neglect leading to death.
Kouchner adds, "We are seeing at the United Nations if we can't implement the responsibility to protect, given that food, boats and relief teams are there, and obtain a United Nations' resolution which authorizes the delivery (of aid) and imposes this on the Burmese government."