Ban: Expulsions of Darfur aid groups puts 1 million people at risk
The Sudanese government's expulsion of humanitarian organizations has put the lives of 1 million people at risk, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday in a report to the United Nations Security Council, dpa reported.
Sudan expelled 13 international organizations in early March from the restive Darfur region and dissolved three Sudanese non- governmental organizations working in North Sudan, after the International Criminal Court indicted Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir for war crimes.
In his report, which is to be discussed next week in the Security Council, Ban described the expulsion of humanitarian and human-rights groups as "an extremely negative development."
"Cumulative effects over time of the removal of such a large amount of humanitarian capacity puts well over 1 million people at life-threatening risk," he said.
Ban urged the Sudanese government to reconsider its decision, as the situation was likely to worsen next month with the onset of the rainy season. He highlighted the need for UN member states to make more equipment and personnel available to bolster UNAMID, the joint peacekeeping force of the United Nations and African Union. The total force currently stands at 13,134 members out of an authorized strength of 19,555.
The conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribesmen in Darfur took up arms against what they call decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum.
The UN says that up to 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million displaced. The Sudanese government claims a death toll of only around 10,000.