Thursday, March 05, 2009

Aid Agencies Expelled from Sudan

From today's Globe & Mail:

Sudan's president, wanted by an international court on war crimes charges, danced and waved a cane defiantly in front of thousands of supporters Thursday, denouncing the tribunal, the UN and aid agencies as part of a new "colonialism" that aims to destabilize his country.The warrant against President Omar al-Bashir was having its first repercussions on the ground, after his government ordered 10 leading humanitarian aid agencies to leave Darfur in retaliation for the International Criminal Court's decision. The agencies on Thursday were starting the process to move out.Aid workers warned that the expulsion order could spark a humanitarian crisis for up to two million people in Darfur who are directly served by the 10 agencies, receiving food, shelter and medical supplies.

At least 2.7 million people in the large, arid region of western Sudan have been driven from their homes in the war between Darfur rebels and the government since 2003 — and many more depend on international aid to survive.

Speaking for the first time since the warrant was issued Wednesday, Mr. al-Bashir told a cabinet meeting that the tribunal, the United Nations and international organizations operating in Sudan were "tools of the new colonialism" meant to bring Sudan and its resources under control. Mr. al-Bashir said the aid organizations were trying to disrupt peace efforts in Darfur and interfere with foreign investment and that his government ordered them out of Darfur because they violated the law.

The international aid groups ordered out of Sudan were Oxfam, CARE, MSF-Holland, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Rescue Committee, Action Contre la Faim, Solidarites, and CHF International.

Full article is available here.

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