Political

How awful do events have to be in a country before they get attention?

Here’s a simple question: how bad do events have to get in a country before it appears on the mainstream political agenda in this country?

Is having the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimate that up to half a million people have had to flee their homes as a result of violence enough?

Or is having the UN High Commissioner for Refugees double its estimate in the last few days to a million people having fled (out of a population of 22 million)?

Or is having credible reports of sexual violence, summary execution and people being burnt alive?

Or is the UN saying 400 people have been murdered since November?

Or is having the International Crisis Group warning of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities if nothing is done to stop the situation getting even worse?

Or is having the rulers of neighbouring countries calling for international action?

Or is having the UN warn that recent events may well already amount to war crimes?

The answer, alas, is none of these. For that is the situation in the Ivory Coast. However, attention in the UK may finally, reluctantly and all too shamefully belatedly be drawn to the tragedies there for the UN Security Council has started considering what further action, if any, to take with a draft French/Nigerian motion being submitted yesterday

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Britain’s diplomats – even if not its politicians or public – can no longer simply continue neglecting the issue in the same way for Britain will have to decide whether to vote and whether to veto. That is, at last, one small piece of progress.

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