World
Red Cross 'ordered to suspend' Sudan work
Publish Date: Feb 01, 2014
Red Cross 'ordered to suspend' Sudan work
A picture taken on April 25, 2012 shows Sudanese prisoners of war boarding International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicles following their release in South Sudans capital Juba. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

KHARTOUM - Sudanese authorities have ordered the Red Cross to suspend its activities, the organisation said Saturday, in the latest restriction to be placed on foreign aid workers in the war-ravaged country.

"We have received an official letter from the HAC (Humanitarian Aid Commission) informing us to suspend our activities with effect from today," Rafiullah Qureshi, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sudan, told AFP.

"Our activities are suspended."

He said HAC cited "some technical issues" related to work which ICRC hoped to undertake this year in the country.

As a neutral intermediary, the Red Cross has facilitated the handover and repatriation of numerous prisoners held by armed groups in the country's war-torn Darfur region.

The agency has also provided health services, food aid, seeds, tools, hand pumps and other assistance which helped more than 1.5 million people in restive parts of the country last year, Qureshi said.

Although its projects are suspended, the ICRC's roughly 700 local and international staff will still go to their offices while discussions take place "in coming days" with the foreign ministry, HAC and other government agencies, he said.

The aim is "to resume our activities as soon as possible in favour of the victims of armed conflict."

HAC's registrar general, Mohammed Fadlallah, told AFP he had no idea about the case and referred inquiries to HAC Commissioner Suleiman Abdel Rahman, who could not immediately be reached.

Sudanese officials have repeatedly expressed their wish to cooperate with international agencies.

However, access has been restricted to the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where rebellions began more than two years ago and where the United Nations says more than one million people have been displaced or severely affected.

There has been no aid access to rebel-held areas of the two states since 2011.

In 2012 the HAC expelled seven international non-governmental organisations from impoverished eastern Sudan, arguing that some projects were badly managed, of poor quality and too costly.

Also that year, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had been forced to suspend medical activities in a part of North Darfur due to restrictions imposed on its work there.

In 2009 Sudan revoked the licences of 13 international aid groups working in Darfur shortly after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant against President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes.

Qureshi said ICRC work in Sudan had previously been suspended in the 1990s.

The suspension of ICRC comes days after Bashir appealed for a "renaissance" in his country, which is ravaged by war, poverty and political turmoil.

In a speech which did not reveal detailed initiatives, he said peace is his top priority and "freedom of people" must be respected.

Half of Sudan's 19 states are affected by conflict and 6.1 million people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance, the United Nations has said.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
ICC insists Kenyatta attend
THE International Criminal Court has rejected a request by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's lawyers to have him excused from a hearing next week...
Muslim pilgrims denounce IS but doubt US-led war
As they gather in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj, some pilgrims have denounced atrocities by Islamic State group jihadists as "a virus" threatening the world....
Fears over fresh eruption halt Japan volcano search
Volcanic tremors and fears over a fresh eruption forced rescuers with gas masks to halt operations to recover bodies from a Japanese mountain on Tuesday, 72 hours after its eruption....
Kutesa rallies Christians to act on global crises
The president of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa has rallied Christians across the globe to act decisively to address global crises....
More than 30 feared dead on Japan volcano
The first deaths were confirmed Sunday among more than 30 hikers feared killed near the peak of a Japanese volcano that erupted without warning, spewing ash, rocks and steam....
Zambia denies rumours of president
Zambia on Friday denied rumours that President Michael Sata had died during a visit to New York after he failed to make a scheduled speech to the UN general assembly....
Will police's move to increase the number of investigators help deal with fraud?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter