Fund a peacekeeper
Would you fund a peacekeeper in Darfur Sudan? Would you just do this: help buy his plane ticket from neighboring Nigeria or Rwanda? It wouldn't cost much, and it could save lives. Full credit, this idea came from Phil Noble of Politics Online.
The need for African Union peacekeeping
Since 1948 there have been 59 UN peacekeeping operations, of which 46 have been created by the United Nations Security Council since 1988. Close to 130 nations have contributed personnel at various times, and 94 are currently providing peacekeepers. As of May 31, 2004, there were 16 peacekeeping operations underway with a total of 55,457 personnel, and the top contributors of military and civilian personnel to current missions were Pakistan (7,997), Bangladesh (6,753), Nigeria (3,424), and Ghana (3,259). [">more]
In regard to Darfur and Sudan, the UN Security Council is stuck. Several members of the UN have offered to send troops to help in Darfu, but China, Russia, and Pakastan are blocking action.
On the ground in Darfur there is an urgent need for a peacekeeping protective force. More than a million people are at risk. Tens of thousands have already been killed, and tens of thousands more have been victims of systematic rape, torture, and disfigurment. A crime of great proportion is underway on our watch, and there is an urgent immediate need to protect victims.
A protective force under the auspices of the African Union is now being planned for Darfur. One of the issues is how to pay for it. Nigeria and Rwanda have already pledged troops, and are expected to pledge more.
The price of a peacekeeper
The total price per person for a UN peacekeeper--military and civilian--is $129 US per day. I calculated this based on the total UN peacekeeping budget, so this includes not only the individual person, but the cost of food, equipment, transport, medicines, communication, etc.
Assume the price of an African Union peacekeeper is the same or less. We can put a thousand peacekeepers into Darfur for a month for just under four million dollars. I realize this is a lot of money. On the other hand, if each of us give just a few dollars, our overall contribution would add up quickly.
We care and we are active
In addition to the practical effect, there is great symbolic value to individuals funding peacekeepers. Giving to the AU for peacekeeping will be unprecedented. It will send a startling message around the world: Individuals do care, and are willing to engage directly with a problem, even one that requires a police action, if given the opportunity.
We need to make this a "one click" operation. We will partner with a high-profile, long known organization that can escrow contributions and pass them on to the African Union.
More soon. Email me or write comments here if you have ideas on this topic..
Meanwhile, take one click to listen to the Song for Sudan..