Il blog di Italians for Darfur

mercoledì, settembre 12, 2007

Bashir in Rome on Eve of Darfur Day

Pubblichiamo questo articolo apparso sul blog della Reuters. Un altro post in italiano sullo stesso argomento è online su Il Velino.

11 Sep 2007 - Blogged by Andrew Stroehlein

Dello stesso autore, in italiano con link alla versione inglese, Un piano per il Darfur

16 September has been set as the Global Day for Darfur, and while in many countries, this news may sadly pass without much notice outside the campaigning community, in Italy, it seems it might break out of the activist ghetto thanks to a special guest the Italian government has invited for a chat this week. President Omar al Bashir of Sudan, fresh from nominating an indicted war criminal as co-chair of a human rights panel, will meet with President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Romano Prodi, and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema on 14 September after an audience with the Pope.

It's not exactly clear why the Italian Government has chosen to meet with Bashir, especially as they must be wary of international criticism in the run-up to the UN General Assembly later this month. By some accounts I've heard, they intend to deliver a strong message to Bashir about committing to a unilateral cease-fire in Darfur and about getting the CPA back on track. But if they wanted to be seen as helpful by those in the Italian public engaged in Darfur activism, the meeting is an own goal, both in Italy and beyond.

The very idea of their government meeting with the Sudanese President has angered many in Italy and thus, ironically, breathed some new life into Darfur campaigners in the country. There are all sorts of events brewing for the end of this week. Activists are organising a high-profile delegation of advocates and Darfur survivors with the intention to meet the Pope and the three top Italian officials to mirror the meetings with Bashir. A number of prominent individuals are preparing open letters: one from a European institution criticising the meeting, and one from Catholic leaders urging the Pope to make human rights abuses in Darfur the top item for his discussion.

The activist group "Italians for Darfur" is holding a press conference on 13 September, and there will be a demonstration in front of Palazzo Chigi (the Prime Minister's office), as Bashir arrives at 1500h on 14 September. Turnout may not be enormous, but with all the extra media attention the Government has just handed campaigners on this issue, Global Day for Darfur in Italy will certainly be bigger than it would have been otherwise.

Interestingly, neither the ministries nor the presidency have announced these meetings in their public on-line calendars.

Etichette: ,