Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Support high for UN Darfur role

RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT Most countries polled were in favor of a UN-led military intervention in Darfur to end genocide, with 76 percent of Chinese supporting the idea

AFP , CHICAGO

There is widespread public support for UN-led military intervention in cases of genocide and other severe human rights abuses, a multinational survey released yesterday showed.

Most respondents believed the UN had the "right" to intervene, while strong majorities in many countries surveyed said the UN had the "responsibility to authorize the use of force" even when opposed by the local government.

"It's a loud statement saying that the UN has the responsibility to deal with these situations and intervene even against the will of the government," said Steven Kull, editor of Washington-based WorldPublicOpinion.org, which coordinated the 18-country study.

"It's not just diplomats getting together having idealistic thoughts. It really does resonate with large parts of the world's population," he said.

Data from the polls was analyzed by WorldPublicAffairs.org and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Strong majorities in all countries surveyed believe the UN has the "right to authorize the use of force to protect people from severe human rights violations such as genocide, even against the will of their government."

The Chinese public showed the highest level of support, with 76 percent of respondents saying the UN has a "responsibility to protect people from severe human rights violations such as genocide, even against the will of their government."

Only 13 percent said it does not have the responsibility to do so.

Belief in the UN's responsibility to act was also strong in the US (74 percent), the Palestinian territories (69 percent), Armenia (66 percent) and Israel (64 percent), followed by Poland, France, and India.

Large numbers of respondents were open to UN intervention in the conflict-ravaged region of Darfur in western Sudan, but the survey found many were uninformed about the situation there and were unwilling to commit their country's troops.

France had the highest level of support for an international peacekeeping force in Darfur, with 84 percent of respondents supporting contributing troops to a mission.

The US also had strong support for intervention, with 83 percent saying the UN had either the right or responsibility to do so, while 65 percent supported sending US troops to the region.

The study was conducted in 18 countries -- China, India, the US, Indonesia, Russia, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel and Armenia, plus the Palestinian territories, representing roughly 56 percent of the world's population.

The random sample surveys were conducted by telephone and in person from last June to last month, with margins of error ranging from 1.5 to 4.0 percentage points.

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China's shameful role in Darfur

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