Activists turn to Blackwater for Darfur security
Financial Times (2008-06-19) Harvey Morris
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By Harvey Morris at the United Nations
Published: June 19 2008 03:00 | Last updated: June 19 2008 03:00
Mia Farrow, the actress and activist, has asked Blackwater, the US
private security company active in Iraq, for help in Darfur after
becoming frustrated by the stalled deployment of a United Nations
Ms Farrow said she had approached Erik Prince, founder and owner of
Blackwater, to discuss whether a military role was either feasible or
She acknowledged that many people might have reservations about
Blackwater being involved in Darfur - the company's men were involved in
the fatal shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians last September - but said the
threat of violence to refugees meant all options had to be explored.
"The people in the camps would say 'we don't care whether it's
Blackwater, any-water, as long as they help us'," she told the Financial
Mr Prince has raised the possibility of a role in Darfur for security
Ms Farrow, who represents Dream For Darfur
, a human rights group, and
other lobbyists this week lambasted the UN Security Council for its
"shameful" failure to halt killings in the Sudanese province.
The criticism came on the eve of a report yesterday by diplomats of the
15-member council who visited Sudan this month, with some envoys
acknowledging the structure of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur
(Unamid) force was flawed and that the Sudanese government was not
interested in seeing an effective international force on the ground.
The activists, who claim China has used the threat of its Security
Council veto to prevent tough sanctions on its ally, urged the UN to
stand up to Khartoum in the deployment of a 26,000- strong force. They
said the Sudanese government had abused its right to approve contingents
in an effort to ensure only relatively poorly trained and equipped
African troops were assigned.
"How long will you continue to allow the government of Sudan to
manipulate this body?" Ms Farrow asked council members. "Did Adolf
Hitler get to choose which troops should be deployed to end his genocide?"
Sudan and its militia allies are blamed for most of the violence in a
conflict with rebels in Darfur, the western province where the UN
estimates up to 300,000 have died in the past five years. Sudan disputes
Richard Williamson, US special envoy to Sudan, said that since Unamid
took over from a small African Union force in January only 585 more UN
peacekeepers had been deployed and that the remaining two thirds of the
planned force had been delayed by the Sudanese government and by a lack
of equipment. "If we continue to do what we've done, the genocide in
slow motion will continue," he said.