From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]





Wrong model, right continent
Oct 26th 2006

China knows what it wants from Africa and will probably get it. The
converse isn’t true

THE characters for “Africa” in the Mandarin language mean “wrong
continent”. But the Chinese have often ignored this etymological hint.
In the 15th century the emperor’s emissaries sailed as far as
Mozambique, carrying silk and returning with a giraffe. In the cold
war Maoists dotted Africa with hospitals, football stadiums and
disastrous ideas.

Next week China will host more than 30 African leaders from the wrong
continent in Beijing, offering them a pinch of debt relief, a splash
of aid, plus further generous helpings of trade and investment. China
already buys a tenth of sub-Saharan Africa’s exports and owns almost
$1.2 billion of direct investments in the region (see article). A
Chinese diaspora in Africa now numbers perhaps 80,000, including
labourers and businessmen, who bring entrepreneurial wit and wisdom to
places usually visited only by Land Cruisers from international aid

What is in it for China? It no longer wants Africa’s hearts, minds or
giraffes. Mostly, it just wants its oil, ores and timber-plus its
backing at the United Nations. Thus, even as the Chinese win mining
rights, repair railways and lay pipelines on the continent, Africa’s
governments are shuttering their embassies in Taiwan in deference to
Beijing’s one-China policy.

This suits Africa’s governments. The scramble for resources invariably
passes the ministerial doorstep, where concessions are sold and
royalties collected. China helps African governments ignore Western
nagging about human rights: its support has allowed Sudan to avoid UN
sanctions over Darfur. And some Africans look on China as a
development model, replacing the tough Washington Consensus with a
“Beijing Consensus”: China’s economic progress is cited by statists,
protectionists and thugs alike to “prove” that keeping the state’s
grip on companies, trade and political freedoms need not stop a
country growing by 8%-plus a year.

Think again, Africa

The Chinese part of this puzzle is easier to deal with: even if it is
not the first resource-hungry power to behave poorly in Africa, China
should be condemned wherever it bribes, cajoles or (in the case of
Sudan) permits genocide. But what about the African hope that China
provides an economic model?

Sadly, China’s success is an obstacle, as well as an inspiration. Its
rise has bid up the price of Africa’s traditional raw commodities, and
depressed the price of manufactured goods. Thus Africa’s factories and
assembly lines, such as they are, are losing out to its mines,
quarries and oilfields in the competition for investment. Even if
Africa’s labour is cheap enough to compete with China’s, its roads,
ports and customs are far from good enough. If they are to provide
jobs for their workers, not just rents for their governments, Africa’s
economies must find less-exposed niches in the world economy, such as
tourism or cut flowers. And they should look not to China, but to
Chile or Botswana for examples of how to turn natural bounty into
shared prosperity.

China is doing its bit to improve infrastructure, building roads and
railways. But it could do more to open up its own markets. China is
quite open to yarn, but not jerseys; diamonds, but not jewellery. If
it has as much “solidarity” with Africa as it claims, it could offer
to lower tariffs on processed goods. Chinese firms have also ignored
international initiatives to make project finance greener (the
“Equator Principles”) and to make mining industries cleaner (the
“Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”). Even with China’s
backing, these outside efforts might not succeed: honesty and greenery
come from within. Without it, they will certainly fail.

For their part, Africa’s leaders could also play their hands rather
better. They should talk to each other as well as their hosts in
Beijing. If they negotiated as a block, they could drive a harder
bargain. Just as China insists that foreigners enter into joint
ventures with its companies, so Africans should make sure they get
China’s know-how, not just its money.


Ben Schiller  /  20 – 12 – 2005
As Chinese companies “go global”, NGO campaigners are increasingly
concerned about Beijing’s model of international development.

Angola’s government, in need of reconstruction funds after the
country’s long civil war, was in the process of negotiating a new loan
with the International Monetary Fund in 2004. The IMF, aware of
Angola’s long history of corruption and poor governance since
independence from Portuguese colonial rule in 1975, was keen to
include measures to cut corruption and tighten the country’s economic
management. But as bank officials pushed harder for a signature, the
government suddenly broke off negotiations. The Angolans had received
a counter-offer: a $2 billion loan proposed by China’s export-credit
agency, Exim Bank. The deal from Beijing came with minimal rates of
interest, a generous payback period, and none of the IMF’s
“conditionalities”. The government in Luanda accepted China’s offer.

In February 2005, Global Witness sent a letter to the World Bank and
the IMF complaining that the terms of this contract had not been made
public. The London-based NGO – which has lambasted European banks for
providing oil-backed loans to Angola – said the Chinese had undermined
the IMF’s position, and that there was a lack of openness in the
procurement process for reconstruction work, much of it carried out by
Chinese companies.

A corporate responsibility manager at a large European oil firm active
in Angola says the Chinese package has effectively lowered
transparency standards, making it more difficult for western companies
and governments to push for anti-corruption schemes like the
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Eiti) – which Angola
has signed but has yet to implement. Others have pointed to the terms
of the loan: it allows Chinese companies to bid on 70% of construction
contracts, raising fears that the money will fail to develop local
skills and businesses.

The journal Africa Confidential says that part of the loan is likely
to be used for the government’s re-election campaign in 2006. Despite
a boom in construction, “spending on education, health and sanitation
is way below what is needed to cut poverty”. Angola ranks 160th out of
the 177 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index.

China’s soft power

China’s Angolan loan is hardly unique. Beijing has over the past year
been extending soft credit to numerous countries in Africa, Latin
America and Asia, as part of its push to secure energy supplies and
develop its companies’ interests overseas. The “big three” of Chinese
energy companies – CNPC, Sinopec, and CNOOC – have been buying up
dozens of oil and gas concessions, including those in Angola. And
Chinese construction firms have been building dams, telecoms networks,
railways, hotels, airports, and other major infrastructure –
predominantly in Africa.

China’s aim, observers say, isn’t necessarily profits – at least in
the short term – but rather to build influence in the developing
world, undercutting western governments and companies.

This model of international development, which eschews any
“interference” in the internal affairs of foreign states, is of
increasing concern to NGOs, international financial institutions, and
western companies trying to improve transparency, human rights, and
develop “capacity” in poor countries. The worry is that Beijing will
let nothing get in the way of its “go global” policy, turning a blind
eye to the activities of its companies overseas, even as it tightens
corporate responsibility standards – on corruption, worker safety and
the environment – at home.

In turn, there are those who fear what this will mean for western
companies trying to compete with their Chinese counterparts; whether –
backed by cheap loans, diplomatic pressure, arms sales and military
assistance – China’s companies will lower the bar for all-comers. “The
Chinese approach – less transparent, less accountable – may be a
challenge if (the companies involved) face direct competition with
other companies”, says Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at
Chatham House, an international affairs think-tank in London.

China’s emerging norms

Chinese energy companies are only beginning to understand corporate
responsibility (CR), according to Jonathon Berman, of Development
Alternatives Inc., which advises corporations and governments
operating in developing countries. “The large Chinese energy companies
currently have an approach to corporate responsibility that focuses on
health, safety and environment, much like early corporate
responsibility programmes at many western energy companies”, he says.

Some observers believe greater engagement with institutions like the
World Bank, the need for western capital (including stock-market
filing requirements), as well as the reputational benefits of CR, will
all encourage Chinese companies to begin to take the subject
seriously. The question, however, as Berman says, is “not whether the
norms will influence the Chinese, but rather whether the Chinese will
influence the norms.”

An OECD report on corporate governance in China praised the government
for instituting reforms to foster private-sector activity. But it
noted that many state-owned companies remain unincorporated, and have
to yet to create essential governance structures such as boards. The
report says Chinese corporations lack independence, operating at the
behest of powerful officials, government-controlled market regulators,
and a whimsical judicial system.

Like companies in other post-communist societies (if that is what
China is), Chinese businesses have long been responsible for swathes
of social provision, building housing, clinics and recreational
facilities for their workers and local communities. Mark Eadie,
director of the ERM social consultancy in Beijing, says these
activities are often overlooked when CR campaigners criticise Chinese
firms. He emphasises Chinese progress in recent years in cutting
domestic corruption – China has recently imprisoned and executed a
number of corrupt businessmen – and in developing environmental-
management programmes.

There has, however, been less attention paid to Chinese businesses
overseas, probably because these companies are only beginning to
venture beyond their borders.

China has yet to sign up to international anti-bribery initiatives
like the OECD’s anti-bribery convention, and the Eiti. In 2003, it did
assent to the UN’s Convention against Corruption, but that compact is
seen as much weaker than the OECD treaty.

Peter Rooke, director of the Asia department at Transparency
International (TI) – which recently launched its business-principles
programme in the country – believes China is taking corruption
seriously. But he sees the need for tougher standards overseas, and
greater oversight of China’s state-owned enterprises: “As Chinese
companies expand their investment into other countries, there is a
need for better international standards.”

China’s oil search

The weaknesses of Chinese corporate-responsibility standards are most
evident in developing world – where the majority of Chinese investment
is now focused – and are frequently oil-related.

In Africa, CNPC, Sinopec, and CNOOC have struck exploration deals in
seventeen states, including Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Algeria, and
Gabon. In Latin America, the big three are active in Venezuela, Peru,
Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia. In central Asia, CNPC acquired
PetroKazakhstan in October 2005, while CNOOC operates in Burma. In
October 2004, China agreed to invest $100 billion in Iran’s oil and

Because much of the world’s prime oil supplies are already under
contract, China is turning to countries which (for reasons of human
rights or ideology) are currently out of favour with Washington.
Chinese oil companies have invested at least $2 billion in Sudan –
ignoring US sanctions, the genocide in Darfur, and a full-scale
divestment campaign from NGOs. Sudan now accounts for at least 5% of
China’s oil imports, and Chinese investment is said (by Human Rights
Watch, among others) to be funding arms imports, and a local arms
industry based on Chinese technology.

Beijing has also turned a blind eye in Zimbabwe, another pariah-state.
President Robert Mugabe, whose palace is said to be clad in midnight-
blue Chinese tiles, has promoted something of a Chinese cult,
encouraging his followers to eat Chinese food and learn Mandarin. The
state-owned China International Water and Electric has built a 250,000
acre maize farm, and Beijing has supplied fighter-jets and military
trucks. In summer 2005, running out of friends elsewhere, Mugabe sold
off his country’s mining concessions in exchange for Chinese loans.

China’s environmental impact

China’s environmental practices have also come under fire. A report
from the International Rivers Network and Friends of the Earth in July
2005 criticised Exim Bank for funding projects such as the Yeywa Dam
in Burma, Merowe Dam in Sudan, and the Nam Mang 3 Dam in Laos. It says
Exim has failed to sign up to the environment guidelines adopted by
many export-credit agencies from OECD countries, including Korea and

These guidelines, known as the “common approaches”, compel export-
credit agencies to subject projects to environmental review as well as
relevant host country and international standards. In late 2004, Exim
adopted environmental guidelines of its own; but NGOs point out that
they are not available to the public, or to commercial banks that
arrange funding on Exim’s behalf. The report notes that Exim also has
no apparent policy on human rights, despite loaning to countries, such
as Burma and Sudan, with poor human-rights records.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over the environmental impact of
various Chinese-run mining operations in Africa, including copper
mines in Zambia and Congo, and titanium sands projects in ecologically
sensitive parts of Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Moreover, China is a major importer of illegal timber from forests in
Indonesia, Cameroon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. Though accurate
figures are hard to access, says that up to
50% of all timber imported to China in 2004 was illegal. Chinese
businesses have also been implicated in ivory smuggling, notably in
Sudan and Zimbabwe. According to Care for the Wild International,
Chinese companies buy up to 75 % of Sudan’s ivory.

China’s white elephants

In its rush to expand, development experts say China is reinvigorating
an older, crude style of development, re-establishing an era of “white
elephants” and “prestige projects” with little benefit to local

In Ethiopia, the Chinese state-owned Jiangxi International built $4
million worth of new housing, after a flood left hundreds destitute.
But instead of accommodating the homeless, the blocks ended up being
used by military officials. A Jiangxi manager later told the Wall
Street Journal: “It was a political task for us and so long as
Ethiopia officials are happy, our goal is fulfilled.”

Another feature of Chinese investment overseas is the use of Chinese
rather than local workers. Thousands of Chinese labourers and
engineers have been imported to build Ethiopia’s $300m Takazee Dam. In
Sudan, Chinese workers have constructed an oil pipeline; 74,000
Chinese remain in country, 10,000 employed by CNPC. Chinese workers
are also being used in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and a host of other African

Ross Herbert, Africa research fellow at the South African Institute of
International Affairs in Johannesburg, says recruiting from China
provides little long-term benefit to local people: “You end up with a
stadium, but there’s no knock-on effect, no financial benefit. It all
goes back to China.”

Alex Vines, at Chatham House, echoes the point: “One of the biggest
demands in Africa is for jobs because much of the continent is
inhabited by young people. The Chinese are bringing in their own
people, and they are paying lip-service to employing Africans.”

Ben Schiller is a freelance journalist based in London. He specialises
in United States politics, eastern Europe and corporate responsibility

This article is also published in the December 2005 edition of the
magazine Ethical Corporation

China’s learning

This aggressive push in Africa means that Chinese companies are
beginning to draw fire from local people, and some local businesses.
For example, a WTO ruling that has led to a flood of Chinese clothing
imports has enraged textile manufacturers in South Africa (who call it
China’s “textile tsunami”). As a result, local factories have been
forced to close in Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda and Madagascar,
causing thousands of job losses.

For this and other reasons, Chris Alden, lecturer in international
relations at the London School of Economics, says there is growing
unease about Chinese investment in parts of Africa. “The nature of its
closed society and relative wealth may breed resentment and even
conflict, as it has in parts of southeast Asia”, he says.

Whether Chinese companies will be able to reverse this trend is an
open question. Martyn Davies, director of the Centre for Chinese
Studies in Cape Town, says Chinese companies need to work harder
building relationships with local groups, believing some of the
tensions come down to cultural misunderstanding: “A lot of it comes
down to a lack of trust. The Chinese are not doing enough to build
relationships with civil society.”

Chinese companies will have to work harder if they are to establish
themselves as good corporate citizens, seen not only as “can-doers”,
but responsible actors on the world stage. Judging by the first
chapter of Beijing’s “go global” campaign, however, China’s nascent
corporate behemoths will bear watching in the months and years ahead.


The U.S. and the international community have sought to secure the
cooperation of China to use its political, economic and diplomatic
influence on the government of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to
end the conflict in Darfur, which has resulted in the deaths of as
many as 400,000 people and an estimated 2.5 million persons displaced
to refugee camps.  China’s relationship with Sudan includes close and
comprehensive bilateral economic, political and military ties, as well
as diplomatic support in multilateral institutions such as the United

Economic Ties

* Oil:  China is the world’s largest player in Sudan’s oil
industry, with major roles in the development, extraction, and
acquisition of Sudan’s oil.  Oil accounts for 70% of Sudan’s total
global exports ($5.25 billion in 2006).  Sudan’s oil exports account
for 7% of China’s total oil imports.  An ex-Minister of Finance for
Sudan has stated that 70% of Sudan’s oil profits help to fund the
government’s military.

* Foreign investment:  China is the largest foreign investor in
Sudan.  Chinese firms are active in several energy-related sectors of
Sudan’s economy, including construction of oil pipelines, electricity
and hydropower facilities.  China’s National Petroleum Company is the
largest stakeholder in Sudan’s largest energy consortium, the Greater
Nile Petroleum Operating Company.

* Trade:  China is Sudan’s largest trading partner in the world –
purchasing 71% of Sudan’s global exports, and providing 21% of its
global imports.  Sudan, in turn, is China’s third largest trading
partner in Africa.  Sudan accounts for 13% of China’s total trade with

* Aid:  China offers significant economic aid to Sudan.  During
President Hu’s visit to Khartoum this February China agreed to write
off $80 million in Sudanese public debt and to provide an interest-
free, unconditional loan of $13 million for infrastructure projects,
including a new presidential palace.  This new economic aid
substantially exceeded a new pledge of $5.2 million in humanitarian
assistance for Darfur.

Political Relations

* Bilateral ties:  There is an active bilateral relationship
between Beijing and Khartoum, including frequent high-level government
visits and missions.  President Hu Jintao of China visited Sudan in
February 2007.  China emphasizes that its economic ties and assistance
to Sudan are not conditioned on that country’s human rights or
political behavior.  China has adopted a policy of “non-interference”
in Sudanese domestic issues.

* Multilateral institutions:  China has been the leading supporter
of Sudan at the United Nations, and the major impediment to strong UN
Security Council action against the government of Sudan for its role
in the mass killing and genocide in Darfur.  China has succeeded in
watering down or weakening several Security Council resolutions
related to Darfur, including Resolution 1706, which authorized a
robust peacekeeping force of 22,500 UN troops to protect civilians;
China insisted this resolution be deployed only “with the consent” of
Sudan.  China has also prevented resolutions that would impose
multilateral economic and diplomatic sanctions, and resisted efforts
to sanction Sudanese officials charged with war crimes.

* Recent Darfur peace efforts: Beijing played a role in
negotiating the November 2006 Addis Agreement, in which Sudan agreed
to a UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force. China has publicly,
and reportedly privately, expressed displeasure at President al-
Bashir’s subsequent reversal of this commitment.  In recent weeks,
China has pushed Sudan harder to live up to this agreement; this
perhaps had an influence on Sudan and its decision to reaffirm its
commitment to Phase II of the agreement.  China also just announced it
will send 275 military engineers to Sudan to help implement the

These and other steps suggest that China has begun to play a
modestly more constructive role in ending the genocide as
international pressure has mounted.  China’s support of the key
feature of the November 2006 agreement (“Phase III,” the large-scale
introduction of additional peacekeepers into Darfur), remains
ambiguous, however.  Further, even this year, China has continued to
strengthen its military and economic ties to Sudan.

Military Cooperation

* Arms sales:  China has sold arms and weapons to Sudan since the
1990s, including an estimated $100 million in fighter aircraft and
troop transport helicopters.  Beijing defends its military sales to
Khartoum as legal.  UN and human rights organizations have reported
sightings of Chinese-made small arms weapons, military trucks, and
other war materiel being used by Sudanese government forces, and their
janjaweed militia, in Darfur.

* Weapons factories:  China helped establish three weapons
manufacturing facilities in Sudan, including one that assembles T-55

* Defense cooperation:  China maintains a defense relationship
with Sudan, despite a UN-imposed arms embargo against the country
which has been in place for Darfur since 2005.  In April 2007, China’s
Defense Minister Cao received Sudan’s armed forces Chief of Staff in
Beijing in a visit that appears to have strengthened bilateral
military ties.  In that meeting, the Chinese media reported that
China’s Minister of Defense told the Sudanese official that China was
“willing to further develop cooperation between the two militaries in
every sphere.”

What China Can Do

Given its economic, political and military influence in Sudan, China
is beginning to be targeted by activists and media in the
international community for its open support of the Sudanese
government.  Generally, China is well-positioned to use its leverage
on the Sudanese government to ensure that peace and security is
established in Darfur.   Among the specific actions China should take
to influence Sudan’s behavior and cooperation with the international
community are:

* Acknowledge publicly and condemn the mass killings, torture,
rape and displacement in Darfur

* Affirm, in line with a vast body of international assessment,
that the Sudanese government bears primary responsibility for the
conflict in Darfur, even as it notes that other actors also bear

* Call for the Sudanese government and other actors to participate
in a sustainable peace process to end the conflict, and contribute its
own diplomatic offices to facilitate this.

* State that President al-Bashir’s continued obstruction of
deployment of UN peace keepers is unacceptable, and will contribute to
Sudan’s increased isolation in the international community.  Compel
Sudan to accept these peace keepers.

* Signal that it will not block, and indeed will support, the
draft resolution shortly to be discussed in the UN Security Council
that would mandate targeted sanctions against Sudan.

* Inform the Sudanese government that Chinese investments and
trade relations will be reconsidered if Sudan does not cooperate with
the international community.
* Redirect economic and infrastructure assistance funds provided
to Sudan (including those recently provided for the new presidential
palace) to humanitarian efforts in Darfur.

* Suspend arms sales and military cooperation with Sudan until the
Darfur conflict is resolved.


America Abroad : China and Sudan
By Lee Feinstein

As the one-year anniversary of the failed Darfur Peace Agreement
approaches, a key question is whether China will continue to offer
strong support to the government of Sudan, despite its role in the
four-year old conflict. Or, will China increase pressure on Khartoum
to accept an international peacekeeping force out of concern about
damage to its international reputation.

A partial answer is that China’s policy toward Sudan is driven by more
than its growing appetite for oil and natural gas. Beijing also has a
stake in positioning itself in Africa and globally as an alternative
to western “meddling” on issues of human rights and governance.

Beijing is weighing these issues against against concerns about damage
to its international position, reputational and otherwise, especially
as it prepares to host the Summer Olympics next year, as I outline in
the research note, below.

China, Sudan, and Darfur

The economic, political, and military relationship between China and
Sudan is extensive, but not without limits. China is Sudan’s number
one consumer of oil and its largest foreign investor. China is an
important supplier of arms and equipment to Sudan. China has also been
Sudan’s main defender at the United Nations and elsewhere against
efforts to apply sanctions against Khartoum for its role in the Darfur
conflict. China has also shown that it will apply pressure on Sudan
out of concern about damage to its own international standing,
particularly as Beijing prepares to host the Summer Olympics in 2008.

China’s close relationship with the government of Sudan is part and
parcel of Beijing’s overall policy toward Africa, where China has
recently emerged as one of the world’s most influential players.
China’s involvement in Sudan dates to the early period of its
independence in the late 1950s. But China’s fast growing energy needs
have since the mid-1990s significantly elevated the importance Beijing
attaches to its relations with Khartoum. Africa today supplies more
than a quarter of Beijing’s imported oil needs, and Beijing is, along
with the United States and France, among Africa’s most important
trading partners. The political ties between China and much of Africa
have also intensified in recent years, reflecting common interests as
developing nations as well as common interest, in certain instances,
in opposing interference by the west on human rights and related

China explicitly offers diplomatic support, investment, and assistance
to Sudan on a principle of “noninterference.” That principle provides
a counterweight to international pressure in support of human rights,
good governance, and democracy. And, it is the principle on which
Beijing bases its relations with Khartoum, despite the Sudanese
government’s role in the mass killings and genocide in Darfur.

THE ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP. The basis of China’s interest in Sudan, and
Africa more broadly, is principally oil. China became a net importer
of oil in 1993, and its consumption has grown exponentially since
then. China surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest consumer of
oil, after the United States, in 2004. Its oil imports continue to
grow. By 2025, it is estimated that China will import as much oil as
the United States currently does.

Africa holds nine percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, modest
compared to reserves in Saudi Arabia and Russia, but important as an
alternative source of reserves, nonetheless. Sudan, in particular,
provides unique opportunities and advantages for China and others
because many western governments and firms have withdrawn from the
country for political or security reasons.

Sudan is a relatively minor but new and growing source of oil. Sudan
now accounts for 0.4 percent of the world’s total oil supply,
producing roughly 360,000 barrels per day. It has proven reserves of
roughly 560 million barrels.

American and Canadian firms withdrew from Sudan in the mid-1990s due
to a combination of security and human rights concerns. U.S.
regulations, first imposed during the Clinton administration, bar
investment in Sudan’s oil sector. China stepped in to fill the vacuum.
In 1999, less than 1 percent of Beijing’s total oil imports were from
Sudan. Today, China gets 7 percent of its oil imports from Sudan.
Roughly two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports go to China. Oil revenue is
a principle source of funding for Sudan’s military operations. As much
as 70 percent of Khartoum’s oil revenues goes to military spending,
according to a former Sudanese finance minister.

Specifically, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation is
the largest stakeholder in Sudan’s main oil producing consortium, the
Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. Since 1996, China has held a
forty percent stake in the Nile project, which produces the majority
of Sudan’s oil. Malaysia’s Petronas Nasional Berhad and ONGC Videsh
Ltd., a unit of India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, are the other
major investors.

Chinese firms have also participated in numerous other energy related
enterprises, including construction of hydropower and electric power.
On the strength of its energy investments, Sudan is China’s third
largest trading partner in Africa, after Angola and South Africa. It
accounts for 13 percent of China’s total trade with Africa. China, in
turn, is Sudan’s largest trading partner, purchasing roughly two-
thirds of Sudan’s exports and providing some 20 percent of its

China also offers substantial aid and assistance to Sudan. In February
2007, for example, Chinese President Hu Jintao traveled to Sudan to
meet with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, as part of a eight-nation
trip through Africa. The advance billing for this trip suggested the
possibility that the Chinese government would use the visit to press
Khartoum strongly to improve the situation in Darfur. The main
results, however, appeared to be a new package of economic and other
aid. Hu announced new economic agreements, including to write off $80
million of Sudanese debt and to provide an interest-free loan of $13
million for infrastructure projects, including a new presidential
palace. China also pledged $5.2 million in humanitarian assistance for

THE POLITICAL RELATIONSHIP. Although oil and other natural resources
are the main attraction for China, Beijing’s political relationship
with Sudan is also important.

Beijing’s sensitivity about interference in its domestic affairs is
well known, and on this point there is some overlapping interest with
some African countries. Many African states rallied to Beijing’s
defense after western nations criticized and imposed sanctions on
China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. More
recently, China has been concerned about efforts to redefine the UN
Charter’s principle of noninterference into the “domestic
jurisdiction” of states. In September 2005, the General Assembly
endorsed the “responsibility to protect,” a principle which
establishes an international responsibility to take action to prevent
or stop “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against
humanity.” While China and Sudan joined the General Assembly consensus
to endorse this principle, China is concerned about the precedent it
sets, and its potential use as a political weapon.

Some African states share China’s historical mistrust of western
motivations in pursuing a human rights agenda, although the sub-
Saharan democracies are strong backers of the responsibility to
protect. Beijing sees Sudan and other African states as natural allies
in the effort to push back against efforts to condition state
sovereignty on the behavior of states. China’s continued support of
Sudan also enhances its position in Africa as an alternative source of
support for governments that have chafed under western pressure to

China is the world’s second largest economy, but is also the world’s
largest developing nation. For the purposes of its relations with
Africa, China self-identifies as the leader of the developing world,
and there is evidence that this resonates with some Africans, who view
Beijing as the developing world’s only permanent representative on the
UN Security Council.

China has also provided much needed economic assistance and
peacekeeping support for Africa. At the November 2006 Beijing Summit
of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, for example, China announced
it would cancel the debt of 31 African countries. In recent years,
China has abandoned its traditional aversion to participation in UN
peacekeeping operations, becoming the largest contributor of troops
among the permanent five members of the Security Council. As of today,
China has 1,200 troops in three missions in Africa, the world’s
thirteenth largest contributor overall. China supported the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan that ended the 20-year-old
civil war between the North and South, and contributes 565
peacekeepers to UNMIS, the UN mission that monitors implementation of
the agreement.

China pursues its comparative advantage by emphasizing its policy of
investment and assistance in Africa with no strings attached, in
contrast to the IMF and other international donors, which have
conditioned assistance to African governments on economic reforms and
transparency. In the extreme cases of Sudan and Zimbabwe, Beijing has
been willing not only to deepen economic and diplomatic relations, but
also to protect the regimes against international criticism and

THE MILITARY RELATIONSHIP. China maintains a defense relationship with
Sudan, despite the UN arms embargo that has been in place for Darfur
since 2005. The Security Council imposed an embargo on all
nongovernmental forces operating in Darfur in July 2004, and expanded
it to include government forces as well in 2005. Sales to Khartoum are
still permitted, although a UN panel, which visited Sudan in August
2005 to investigate violations of the embargo, recommended in April
2006 that the Security Council expand the embargo to the entire

Information about recent Chinese arms sales to Sudan is difficult to
discern both because of China’s secrecy and because of the inherent
difficulty of tracking the flow of small arms, which are below most
international reporting thresholds. The UN Panel of Experts reported
spotting Chinese-made military trucks in the Port of Sudan that
appeared similar to those used on Sudanese Army bases in Darfur. Non-
governmental organizations have reported that small arms used by
rebels, janjaweed, and government forces in Darfur are of Chinese
origin. There are also reports that Khartoum supplied Chinese-made
automatic grenade launchers to the United Front for Democratic Change,
a Chadian rebel group that also operates out of bases in Darfur.
Russia and France are also suppliers of arms and military equipment to
Sudan. In the last six years, Russia reported to the United Nations
deliveries of 33 attack helicopters to Khartoum, eight combat
aircraft, and 30 armored combat vehicles. (Between 2001 and 2004,
France exported over $1 million of mostly small arms, spare parts, and

Beijing defends its sales to Khartoum as legal, and says that it
requires all of its buyers not to transfer arms to other parties,
including guerilla groups, a claim which is difficult to confirm
independently. Zhai Jun, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign
Affairs, said in March 2007, “With Sudan, we have cooperation in many
aspects, including military cooperation. In this, we have nothing to

In early April, China received Sudan’s Joint Chief of Staff. The
Chinese Minister of Defense told his Sudanese counterpart that China
was “willing to further develop cooperation between the two militaries
in every sphere.”

CHINA AND DARFUR. China has been the chief impediment to strong
Security Council action against the government of Sudan for its role
in the mass killings and genocide in Darfur, although it has
calibrated its position as international criticism has grown. The
Security Council has passed six resolutions on Darfur in the four
years since the present conflict began, but has yet to impose economic
sanctions or other penalties on the government, although travel and
financial sanctions have been imposed on four individuals implicated
in war crimes. The Chinese Ambassador to Sudan, Zhang Dong, explained
his government’s position in 2007, saying, “China never interferes in
Sudan’s internal affairs.”

For example, China succeeded in watering down Security Council
resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004). That resolution imposed an arms
embargo on nongovernmental combatants in Darfur, required Khartoum to
allow humanitarian assistance into Darfur, and also required the
government of Sudan to disarm the janjaweed. The original draft would
have established a committee to monitor Khartoum’s compliance; due to
the threat of a Chinese veto, however, the final resolution included
no enforcement mechanism. Two months later, China succeeded in
weakening an effort to credibly threaten sanctions on Sudan’s
petroleum sector and delayed by six months imposition of a ban on
offensive military flights, which was imposed by UNSCR 1591 (March 29,
2005). China abstained on a resolution (UNSCR 1593, March 31, 2005)
that referred indicted war criminals to the International Criminal
Court (as did the United States). The following year, China resisted
efforts to sanction Sudanese government officials charged with war
crimes, whittling down from seventeen to four the list of those
individuals subject to Security Council travel bans and financial
sanctions (UNSCR 1672, April 25, 2006). China, backed by Russia,
publicly threatened to veto an initial draft of that resolution.

In August 2006, China insisted that the Security Council’s resolution
authorizing a peacekeeping force for Darfur include the condition that
it deploy “with the consent” of the government of Sudan. In a
compromise between China and the United States and Britain, the final
resolution “invites” but does not require the consent of Khartoum.
China and Russia abstained rather than veto the resolution.

The impact of China’s successful efforts to block strong action have
been significant as they are seen by Khartoum and others as an
indication of continuing Security Council division on whether and if
so how to pressure the Sudanese government to take action to end the

China has calibrated its position as international opposition has
grown. Beijing played a helpful role in gaining Sudanese acceptance on
November 16, 2006 of a three-phase plan for deployment of a hybrid
African Union/UN peacekeeping force of 22,000 troops. Since then, as
Sudan has equivocated on the meaning of a “hybrid” force, China has
begun to register its displeasure with Khartoum. During his February
trip to Sudan, Hu reportedly spoke privately to Bashir about upholding
his commitment to accept a peacekeeping force. In a public statement
following the meeting, Hu added to China’s list of guiding principles
for resolving the conflict the imperative to “improve the situation in
Darfur and living conditions of local people.” After the visit, in
February, China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced
that Sudan no longer had preferred trade country status, removing
certain financial incentives provided to Chinese companies that invest
in Sudan. China’s ambassador to the United Nation also publicly
expressed disappointment with Khartoum following President Bashir’s
March 2007 letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rejecting several
aspects of the UN’s hybrid force plan.

The degree to which China will push Sudan on Darfur remains an open
question. There are strong reasons why China may not pressure Khartoum
in a meaningful way. For Beijing, a decision to pressure Sudan would
have consequences beyond the bilateral relationship, which is
important in its own right. China’s quest for control of and access to
natural resources is presently predicated on its ability to negotiate
arrangements with governments who promise it exclusivity or
preferential treatment. China’s comparative advantage is that it is
willing to do business with governments that others spurn, and with no
strings attached. A decision to pressure Sudan would erode China’s
reputation as a genuine alternative, which could have broader economic
consequences in Africa. It would also weaken China’s claim to be a
standard bearer against unwanted western meddling, including
international criticism of its own human rights practices.

On the other hand, China’s relationship with Sudan is worrisome to
officials in Beijing, especially as Beijing prepares to host the
Summer Olympics in 2008. Beijing’s interest in improving its
international standing may shift its position towards more strongly
pressuring Khartoum.


Building an Anti-Genocide Regime
Gregory H. Stanton

When the Genocide Convention was passed by the United Nations in 1948,
the world said, “Never again.”

But the history of the twentieth century instead proved that “never
again” became “again and again.”  The promise the United Nations made
was broken, as again and again, genocides and other forms of mass
murder  killed at least  170 million people, more than all the
international wars of the twentieth century combined (Rummel, 1994).
[2]  Genocide, the devil on horseback, still rides unchecked, armed
not with a scythe but with a Kalashnikov.

Why?  Why are there still genocides?  Why are there genocidal
massacres being perpetrated in 2006 against the Fur, Massaleit, and
Zaghawa in Darfur; and the the Banyamulenge, Hutus, Hema, and Lendu in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo?  Why does ethnic and religious
hatred still divide Côte d’Ivoire and Iraq and threaten to erupt again
in genocidal violence?

There are two primary reasons why genocide is still committed in the

1. The world has not developed the international institutions
needed to predict and prevent it; and
2. The world’s leaders do not have the political will to stop

In order to prevent genocide, we must first understand it.  We must
study and compare genocides and develop working theories about the
genocidal process.  There are many centers for the study of genocide
that are doing that vital work in universities and research institutes
in Europe, North America, Australia and Israel.  But studying genocide
is not enough.  Our next task should be to create the international
institutions and political will to prevent it.  Three institutions, in
particular, are needed: (1) politically effective centers for genocide
prevention; (2) rapid response forces for non-violent prevention and
armed military response; and (3) effective international courts for
punishment.  To create political will, an international movement to
end genocide must be built, requiring a massive educational, media and
political campaign.

Creation of a Genocide Prevention Focal Point at the UN

The U.N. Security Council and key governments need strong, independent
early warning systems to predict where and when ethnic conflict and
genocide are going to occur, and to present options for prevention and
intervention to policy makers.  When The International Campaign to End
Genocide (ICEG), a coalition of human rights organizations, attempted
to contact officials at the UN about the genocidal massacres in East
Timor in 1999, we discovered that no one had responsibility for
receiving information or coordinating action about genocide.
Therefore, in 2002, the ICEG recommended the creation of a Genocide
Prevention “Focal Point” at the United Nations in New York,  with a
small permanent staff at the highest level that would receive
information about risks of genocide and coordinate UN responses.   UN
officials in the Secretary General’s Office of Policy Planning at
first warned about negative reactions by some member states to
previous proposals for UN preventive capacity.  But as the idea was
discussed and refined, it gathered support from high ranking UN
officials like Danilo Turk and Edward Mortimer, who recommended it to
Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The result was a proposal made at the Stockholm Forum on the
Prevention of Genocide in 2004 by Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch
(Stanton, 2004a), which recommended appointment of a Special Adviser
to the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide and creation of
an independent Genocide Prevention Center to support the Special
Adviser’s work.  The Secretary General announced his support for the
proposal at the Stockholm Forum, and in July 2004, he created the new
post and named Juan Mendez as his first Special Adviser on the
Prevention of Genocide.

Establishment of a Genocide Prevention Center

Realizing that the United Nations has limited resources, the ICEG also
recommended to the governments and NGO’s attending the Stockholm Forum
that an independent Genocide Prevention Center be established to
support the work of the Special Adviser.  The Center would be  located
in New York and staffed with full-time early warning, political and
operational planning specialists who have direct access to an
international network of government officials, country experts, human
rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the Special Adviser’s
office. (Stanton, 2004b)

The Brahimi Report of the Panel on U.N. Peace Operations (U.N. Doc. A/
55/305 – S/2000/809: 2000) suggested such an office (the Information
and Strategic Analysis Secretariat) at the U.N., but its
recommendations were blocked by states (mostly from the G-77
developing nations plus India and China) that considered such a
function (i.e., “intelligence-gathering” into “domestic” affairs)
beyond the U.N.’s mandate. That is precisely  why a Genocide
Prevention Center must be independent of the U.N., but on the U.N.’s
periphery, and considered by the Special Adviser to be a trusted
source of reliable information.   If the Center is not independent, it
will be unable to issue opinions that displease member states,
particularly states at risk or that are committing genocide.  Yet it
must have the confidence of the Special Adviser and develop a close
informal relationship with him.  Several human rights groups, notably
Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group (an ICEG
member), currently have such relationships with the Secretary
General.   The Genocide Prevention Center would become a clearing
house and validator for reports from human rights groups and open
sources around the world.  It would operationalize those reports into
options and plans for preventive action, and the Special Adviser and
the Secretary General would use them to formulate recommendations to
the U.N. Security Council.

One problem such a Center would face immediately is the closed nature
of both government and U.N. information systems.  Reports from UN
field officials and government intelligence agencies are classified
“confidential” or secret.  Access to the country desk officers and top
officials of the U.N. system would thus probably be indirect, through
the Special Adviser.  Access to government intelligence reports
remains unlikely.  However, the open secret of the new information age
is that policy-makers would get better information if they ran a daily
algorithm of world newsmedia for early warning signs, and regularly
read leading newspapers, magazines, and human rights groups’ reports,
than if they counted on their embassies’ classified cables.  Several
such open source, unclassified reporting services (IRIN, Reliefweb)
provide daily collections of articles to the U.N. and others
interested in reading them.  However, none currently focus on
potential genocide.

Even before a Genocide Prevention Center is established, coalitions of
NGOs and genocide studies programs should establish independent early
warning networks that can provide daily reports and regular policy
options papers to the U.N.’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of
Genocide, to the Security Council and to individual governments.  A
few networks currently exist (see Harff, “The Development and
Implementation of Genocide Early Warning Systems,” in this volume) but
they do not yet produce coordinated analyses. Even after a Genocide
Prevention Center is established, NGOs should continue to provide
reports independently to the Special Adviser, UN agencies, and member
governments.  The Center is not intended to be a unique source.

Briefings could be given to the Security Council by the Special
Adviser.  The first attempt by the Special Adviser to give such a
briefing on Darfur was blocked by objections from the U.S., China,
Russia and Algeria (Reuters, 10 Oct. 2005.)  But the Secretary
General, himself, could exercise his prerogative under Article 99 of
the U.N. Charter to “bring to the attention of the Security Council
any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of
international peace and security.”

Early Warning Models

Early warning models matter. They must be comprehensible to policy
makers, and provide specific guidance. The U.N. Office for
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency have each had contracts with social scientists who use multi-
variate, statistical models to predict the likelihood of genocide and
other forms of violence.  The models assign country scores to a large
number of abstract risk factors (“level of democracy, trade openness,
history of armed conflict, ethnic diversity”) and then assess the risk
of genocide from their sum (Harff, 2003; Krain, 1997). The models are
useful to the extent that they demonstrate the benefit of promotion of
democracy and other general policies.  But statistical models do not
describe the intentional process by which political leaders push a
society toward genocide.  They therefore are not sufficient to
formulate specific counter-measures at each stage of the genocidal

To provide immediate early warning signs, Harff (1998) has identified
accelerators and triggers that may lead to genocide.  They include
refugee and internally displaced persons flows, compulsory visible
identification of  targetted groups, arming of ethnic militias, hate
speech, killing of opposition leaders, and massacres. However, Harff’s
accelerators are not ordered within the predictable process of
genocide, the stages that all genocides follow, and therefore fail to
predict how close a genocide may be.  So that policy-makers can
recognize early warning signs and plan specific counter-measures at
each stage to stop the process, Stanton has proposed a structural
theory of the genocidal process, “The Eight Stages of
Genocide.” (Stanton 1998)   Genocide’s eight stages are:

1.      Classification: Underlying most social scientists’ theories of
genocide is an image of “ethno-centric man.”  Because all people grow
up and live in particular cultures, speaking particular languages,
they identify some people as “us” and others as “them.” This
fundamental first stage in the process does not necessarily lead to
genocide.  Genocide only becomes possible with another common human
tendency  —  considering only “our group” as human, and “de-
humanizing” certain others.  Thus, we not only develop cultural
centers, we also create cultural boundaries that shut other groups
out  —  and the latter may become the boundaries where solidarity
ends and hatred begins. “Us versus them” can be converted by political
elites desiring to gain or retain power into ideologies of purity,
exclusion, and destruction.  (Valentino, 2004) Regimes bent on
genocide take great pains to classify their populations.  The main
preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic
institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively
promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications
that transcend the divisions.

2.      Symbolization:  Names or other symbols are assigned to the
classifications. People are named “Jews” or “Gypsies”, or
distinguished by colors or dress. When combined with hatred, symbols
may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: e.g. yellow
stars for Jews.  To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally
forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. If widely supported,  denial
of symbolization can be powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, when many
Jews refused to wear the yellow star and were not turned in by their
Christian neighbors, depriving the yellow star of its significance as
a Nazi symbol for Jews.

3.      Dehumanization:  One group denies the humanity of the other
group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or
diseases. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against
At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to
vilify the victim group. In combating dehumanization, incitement to
commit genocide should not be confused with protected speech.
Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing
speech, and should be treated differently than democracies. Hate radio
stations should be shut down, and hate propaganda banned.

4.      Organization:   Genocide is always organized, usually by the
state, though sometimes informally (Hindu mobs led by local RSS
militants) or by terrorist groups. Special army units or militias are
often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings. To
combat this stage, membership in such militias should be outlawed.
Their leaders should be arrested and denied visas for foreign travel.
The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of
countries involved in genocidal massacres, and international
commissions should investigate crimes against humanity.

5.      Polarization:  Extremists drive the groups apart. Hate groups
broadcast polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or
social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates,
intimidating and silencing the center.
Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or
assistance to human rights groups. Assets of extremists may be seized,
and visas for international travel denied to them. Coups d’état by
extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.

6.      Preparation:  Victims are identified and separated out because
of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up.
Members of victim groups are forced to wear identifying symbols. They
are often segregated into ghettoes, forced into concentration camps,
or confined to a famine-struck region and starved. At this stage, a
Genocide Emergency should be declared. If the political will of the
the U.N. Security Council or NATO can be mobilized, armed
international intervention should be prepared, or heavy assistance
given to the victim group to prepare for its self-defense. Otherwise,
at least humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. and
private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees.

7.      Extermination:   Extermination quickly becomes the mass
killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the
killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human.
When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with
militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge
killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool-
like cycle of bilateral genocide, as in Burundi.
At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop
genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be
established with heavily armed international protection. (False “safe
areas” are worse than none, because they only concentrate the
victims.)  A multilateral force authorized by the U.N., led by NATO or
a regional military power, should intervene. Militarily powerful
nations should provide the airlift, equipment, and financial means
necessary for the intervention.

8.      Denial: is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It
is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The
perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try
to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that
they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the
victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to
govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile.
There they remain with impunity unless they are captured and a
tribunal is established to try them.  The best response to denial is
punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. There the
evidence can be heard, and the perpetrators punished. (Stanton, 2005.)

Rapid Response Forces

Early warning is not enough.  What if the U.N. Security Council passed
a resolution to implement a peace agreement, and sent in peace-
keepers, but then genocide began?  That is what happened in Rwanda.
There were plenty of early warnings.  The U.N. Assistance Mission in
Rwanda (UNAMIR) commander, General Roméo Dallaire learned of the plans
for the genocide three months before it began, had conclusive evidence
of massive shipments of half a million machetes to arm the killers,
and knew of the training camps for the Interahamwe genocidists.  Yet,
when he cabled the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations
requesting authorization to confiscate the machete caches,
Undersecretary for Peacekeeping Operations Kofi Annan’s deputy, Iqbal
Riza, refused, claiming the action would exceed UNAMIR’s mandate.
Then, when the genocide actually began in April 1994, Dallaire
desperately asked for a mandate and reinforcements to protect the
thousands of Tutsis who had taken refuge in churches and stadiums.
Led by the U.S., the Security Council instead voted to pull out all
2500 UNAMIR troops.  General Dallaire has since said that even those
troops could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, had they
remained (Stanton, 2004c).

Among the problems with U.N. peacekeeping forces is that they are
composed of national troop contingents voluntarily contributed by risk-
averse national governments, and may even take their orders from those
governments rather than their U.N. commanders.  Such forces take
months to organize and are seldom composed of the world’s best-trained
and equipped soldiers.[3]

One regional military alliance lacks these drawbacks  —   NATO.  It
has a coordinated command structure, extremely well-trained troops,
and major resources.  It proved to be quite effective once it was
mobilized in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.  But it has only begun to
contribute to peace-keeping operations outside of Europe. The Standing
High Readiness Brigade organized by Denmark, Austria, Canada, The
Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden in 1996 (since expanded to
include Finland, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania,  Portugal, Romania,
Slovenia, and Spain) was organized to provide a rapid response force
of 5,000 heavy infantry and support personnel to the U.N. Security
Council on thirty days’ notice.  It has thus far assisted Chapter VI
(peacekeeping with the consent of the host country) monitoring
missions in Ethiopia/Eritrea, Liberia, and Sudan.  The European Union
(EU) is organizing thirteen 1,500 person battlegroups ready to respond
within ten days to decisions by the EU.  However, the EU is likely to
be hamstrung by the requirement for unanimity in its foreign policy
decision making.

The United Nations eventually needs a standing, volunteer,
professional rapid response force that does not depend on member
governments’ contributions of brigades from their own armies.  A
standing U.N. force would need the support of at least some of the
major military powers, must be large enough to effectively intervene
in situations like Rwanda, and should be composed of volunteers from
around the world, the best of the best, who train together
specifically for U.N. peace-keeping.  Its capabilities and training
would need to include many non-military functions, including policing,
administration of justice, and conflict transformation.  Although the
U.S. and other Permanent 5 members of the Security Council do not
currently support creation of such a standing U.N. force, it is an
idea whose time will come.

Non-violent Intervention

We must build institutions to intervene non-violently before genocide
begins.  Every church, synagogue, mosque, and temple should teach
peace-making, and inter-religious leaders’ councils should be formed
wherever there is religious division. In ethnically divided societies,
radio and television and educational systems should be used to
advocate tolerance and to humanize the other groups in the society, to
show that they are like “us.”

The 2005 report of the U.N. High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges,
and Change  (U.N. Doc. A/59/565 (2005)) recommended creation of a U.N.
Peacebuilding Commission to be tasked with prevention of conflict and
state failure.  The problem with the recommendation is that most
genocide does not arise out of state failure or conflict.  It is the
result of unchecked state power.

The Carnegie Commission  Report on Preventing Deadly Conflict (1997)
is the best known example of the common assumption that conflict
prevention will also prevent genocide.  Conflict prevention is often a
laudable goal, and sometimes it will contribute to genocide
prevention.  But it often will not.  Jews had no conflict with
Germans, nor did Armenians with Turks.  In Rwanda, Kuperman (2001)
argues that the Arusha Accords actually increased the likelihood of
genocide when the Hutu Power elite realized they would lose their grip
on power if the Accords were implemented.  Faced with the negotiated
reduction in their power, they instead decided to kill every Tutsi in

Diplomats believe in conflict prevention, so it is the default
position of most foreign ministries.  But in cases of genocide,
forceful intervention to overthrow a dictator or stop mass killing may
be much more effective than a peace agreement.  Negotiations with
genocidists may result in appeasement that encourages their will to
power, as it did with Hitler, Stalin,  and Habyarimana  — and,
currently, with al-Bashir in Sudan.

The International Criminal Court

The world needs and finally has an International Criminal Court
(ICC).  Impunity for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity
must end.  The ICC must be backed by the will of nations to arrest
those it indicts.  The ICC may not deter every genocidist, but it will
put on warning every future tyrant who believes he or she can get away
with mass murder. Despite the opposition of the U.S. government, which
is still advocating impunity for U.S. officials (a position that would
have immunized every tyrant of the last century), the ICC is now a
reality and will soon be able to try perpetrators of genocide, war
crimes, and crimes against humanity.  The ICC Prosecutor has
undertaken investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda,
and Côte d’Ivoire.  Through referral by the U.N. Security Council, he
is now also investigating the crimes against humanity in Darfur,

Building a Mass Movement Against Genocide to Create Political Will

These institutional changes will not be enough to end genocide in the
twenty-first century.  Eventually we must return to the problem of
political will. It was not for want of U.N. peace-keepers in Rwanda
that 800,000 people were murdered. They perished because of the
complete lack of political will by the world’s leaders to save them.
Indeed, it was their political will to actually withdraw the U.N.
peace-keepers and leave them to their murderers.  Neither the U.S. nor
any other member of the U.N. Security Council had the political will
to risk one of their citizens to rescue 800,000 Tutsis from genocide.

There is something profoundly wrong about that.  The wrong stems from
the problem of ethno-centrism.  We drew a national boundary, a circle,
that shut Rwandans out of our common humanity.  In October 2000, the
second debate of the candidates for President of the United States
demonstrated that neither candidate had learned the lessons of
Rwanda.  Then Governor George W. Bush said the U.S. was right not to
send in U.S. troops because Rwanda is not in the sphere of America’s
national interests.  Then U.S. Vice President Al Gore tried to excuse
the Clinton administration’s policy failure by saying the U.S. had no
allies to go in with, as it did in Bosnia; ignoring the fact that 2500
U.N. peace-keepers were already on the ground in Rwanda.  Evidently,
he dismissed the use of the U.N. as a multi-lateral peace-keeper.

How can the political will of the world’s leaders be mobilized to
prevent and stop genocide?  We must create a world-wide movement to
end genocide, like the movement to abolish slavery in the nineteenth
century. National leaders must learn that if they do not stop
genocides, they will be voted out of office.  The International
Campaign to End Genocide was organized at the Hague Appeal for Peace
in May 1999 to mobilize the international political will to halt
genocide once and for all.  The ICEG envisions a world-wide network of
organizations working together and separately toward that common goal.

The first job in preventing and stopping genocide is getting the facts
in clear, indisputable form to policy makers.  Some of that job is
done by the news media.  But conveying the information is not enough.
It must be interpreted so that policy makers understand that genocidal
massacres are systematic; that the portents of genocide are as
compelling as warnings of a hurricane.  Then options for action must
be suggested to those who make policy, and they must be lobbied to
take action.

Policy makers act when they feel public pressure to act. If the
international campaign is to be effective, it must build an
international mass movement that will exert the political and cultural
pressure on world leaders necessary to create political will.

Only fifty years ago, segregation was still the law in the southern
United States and  less than twenty years ago apartheid still ruled
South Africa.  But in both the U.S. and South Africa, mass movements
created the political will to change the laws and gradually the
cultures of racism are changing as well.  Non-violent resistance
finally broke up the Soviet communist empire, once thought to be
frozen forever in tyranny.

Mass movements must  mobilize the religious leaders, the celebrities
and stars, the churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples.  We must
make indifference to genocide culturally unacceptable and politically
impossible.  We must educate and advocate, demonstrate and legislate.

Just as the nineteenth century was the century of the movement to
abolish slavery, let us make the twenty-first the century when we
abolish genocide.  Genocide, like slavery, is caused by human will.
Human will   —  including our will   —  can end it.


Carnegie Commission Report on Preventing Deadly Conflict (2001),
Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Harff, Barbara (2003).  “No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust?
Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political Mass Murder since 1955.”
American Political Science Review (February) 97(1): 57-73.

Harff, Barbara (1998).  “Early Warning of Humanitarian Crises:
Sequential Models and the Role of Accelerators.”  In Preventive
Measures: Building Risk Assessment and Crisis Early Warning Systems,
ed. L. Davies and T.R. Gurr.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Krain, Matthew (1997).  “State-Sponsored Mass Murder: The Onset and
Severity of Genocides and Politicides.”  Journal of Conflict
Resolution 41: 331-360.

Alan J. Kuperman (2001). The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention.
Genocide in Rwanda, The Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Rummel, Rudy (1994). Death by Government. New Brunswick, NJ:
Transaction Publishers.

Stanton, Gregory (1998) The Eight Stages of Genocide. Yale Genocide
Studies Series, GS01, February, 1998.

Stanton, Gregory (2004a) “Create a United Nations Genocide Prevention
Focal Point and Genocide Prevention Center,” in Preventing Genocide:
Threats and Responsibilities, Options Paper for the Stockholm
International Forum on Genocide Prevention, Proceedings, January

Stanton, Gregory (2004b) “The Genocide Prevention Center: A

Stanton, Gregory (2004c).  “Could the Rwandan Genocide Have Been
Prevented?” Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2004,
211- 228.

Stanton, Gregory (2005).  “Twelve Ways to Deny A Genocide,” in Apsel,
ed., Darfur: Genocide Before Our Eyes, Institute for the Study of
Genocide, 43 – 47.

U.N. Doc. A/55/305 – S/2000/809 (2000). The Brahimi Report of the
Panel on U.N. Peace Operations . New York: United Nations.

U.N. Doc. A/59/565 (2005). A More Secure World: Our Shared
Responsibility: Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges
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Valentino, Benjamin A. (2004).  Final Solutions: Mass Killing and
Genocide in the Twentieth Century.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University

[1] Forthcoming in Totten, ed. Genocide: An Annotated Bibliographical
Review, Routledge, 2006.

[2] Rummel has recently revised his estimate of the death toll from
twentieth century genocide, politicide and other mass murder to 262
million.  (personal communication)

[3] It is worth noting that The Military Staff Committee envisioned by
Article 47 of the U.N. Charter has never been formed.  It was meant to
be a permanent military command that would assist the Security Council
in planning application of armed force under Chapter VII (peacemaking
without host country consent.)