UN may investigate Sudan for expelling foreign aid groups

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said March 6 that his office may investigate whether Sudan’s expulsion of foreign aid agencies is a breach of human rights law or war crime. UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Ron Redmond warned that the removal of the aid agencies could have a serious impact not only in Darfur, but also in the rest of Sudan and the region.

Redmond said in an official statement:

Our experience shows that when vulnerable populations are unable to get the help they need, they go elsewhere in search of protection and assistance. If food can’t get through to people, for example, then those people will soon suffer and have to look elsewhere.

With some 4.7 million Sudanese – including 2.7 million internally displaced – already receiving assistance in Darfur, we are very concerned over the prospect of new population movements in the region should the fragile aid lifeline inside Sudan be disrupted. There are also 40,000 Chadian refugees in West Darfur.

The statements come after an earlier plea by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking Sudan to allow the the agencies to remain in the country. (Jurist, March 6)

See our last post on Sudan.