The Security Council is one step closer toward authorizing a civilian protection force in eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic. Yesterday, the council unanimously affirmed a proposal to let the European Union send forces to protect refugees in Chad and the Central African Republic, where some 400,000 people have fled to avoid conflict in Darfur. The mission will not be a traditional peacekeeping mission per se, but will incorporate UN civilian experts and UN police units. The EU troops would be stationed in and around the camps.

The need for such a force is undeniable. For the host countries, the masses of displaced people are a source of political instability. And for those living in the camps, protection is needed from predatory militia that attack on men and women who venture beyond the camp to find fuel and water for their families. The European Union–led by France–has stepped up and taken on this responsibility. I would think this deserves some praise and recognition.

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