- The United Nations is fighting tooth and nail to reverse the expulsion of 13 major aid groups in Sudan, saying the move would adversely sink the humanitarian situation in the war torn country.
The Sudanese government shut its doors on aid groups working in war torn Darfur region accusing them of feeding the International Criminal Court false accounts on the region that led to the indictment of President Omar Al- Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator John Holmes said the international agency is also working hard to fill the vacuum left by the aid organisations to assist more than that 4.7 million Sudanese including 2.7 million in refugee camps.
Last Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appealed to Sudanese government to reconsider its decision of firing international aid groups.
“We have been in touch with the government of Sudan, at many levels, and indeed with many other key players over the weekend,” Mr Holmes said.
Mr Holmes said the UN and the government did not have the capacity and strength to fill all the gaps left by the departing organisations, who worked in partnership with the world organization.
“The most urgent short-term gaps were in the areas of water and sanitation and health services, and joint assessments would be pursued with the Government to see how these holes could be filled in the short-term,” the UN said.
He expressed concern at the manner in which the government’s decision was being carried out, including intimidation of NGO staff members and the confiscation of property such as automobiles and computers.
“This is not in line with the agreement we have with the Government of Sudan, nor indeed with the any of the normal tenets of behaviour in these kinds of circumstances,” he said.
The UN system has vowed to support both the expelled groups and those who remained in the country.
“Not only are we trying to deal with the issue of those NGOs whose registrations have been revoked, but also with the NGOs who remain and are legitimately asking questions how long they will be able to remain and how far they will be able to operate in a normal and safe manner,” the official said.
The Darfur conflict started in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government complaining of discrimination and neglect in the Darfur region. The six year conflict in Sudan has killed more than 300,000 people with more others displaced.
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