The orphans who didn’t need saving

The scandal involving French charity Zoe’s Ark is tangled in a web of good intentions gone awry. While the organization pointed to the paralysis of diplomacy in Darfur leaving thousands upon thousands of children displaced and without being in the care of a nuclear family, it turns out that none of the 103 children were orphans in the Western sense – and were removed by the French workers from their own community and familial networks. In addition, in Muslim countries like Chad and Sudan where family matters are goverened by Islamic law, Western concepts of adoption are essentially forbidden by religious edict.

Must the rainbow turn monochrome in parliament?; Minorities and legislatures

{Racial and religious minorities tend to be under-represented in legislatures} The political representation of racial minorities troubles in almost every country, rich or poor. At one end of the income scale, Switzerland held an election on October 21st that turned on the treatment of foreigners-perhaps understandably in a country where a fifth of the population is foreign-born but which has hardly any minority members of parliament. At the other end of the scale, Sudan took a jolt recently when a party representing the black, mostly Christian south pulled out of the predominantly Arab and Muslim coalition that runs the government…

Pronk wants to talk with Taliban

UTRECHT – Jan Pronk, candidate for chairmanship of the Labour PvdA, has urged for negotiation with the Afghan Taliban insurgents. Only in this way can the Dutch mission in the province of Uruzgan be successful, Pronk said at the opening of the 41st Peace Week in Utrecht on Saturday. Pronk said that the West must sometimes negotiate with parties that have acted atrociously because otherwise there is no prospect of a lasting solution to a situation of repression and violence. He has experience with war situations. Last year the former minister for Development cooperation was forced to leave his post as UN special envoy in Sudan because he had voiced harsh criticism of the country’s government and military.