Darfur Aid Relief Near Collapse: UN

The UN's new humanitarian chief warned, that aid relief to conflict-stricken Darfuris was on the brink of collapse because of incessant attacks on relief workers and bureaucracy.

Darfur Aid Relief Near Collapse: UN

The UN's new humanitarian chiefwarned on Tuesday, March 27, that aid relief to conflict-stricken Darfuris wason the brink of collapse because of incessant attacks on relief workers andbureaucracy.

"Their vehicles are being hijacked atgun-point, they have been subjected to beatings and even sexual assaults,"Sir John Holmes told Britain'sThe Independent.

"There are a lot of men with guns around whocan create security problems at any moment."

Holmes, who took over from Jan Egeland as the UNemergency relief coordinator this month, warned that one more major securityincident could prompt relief groups to take to their heels.

"Then we will have a catastrophe on ourhands."

About 150,000 people in El-Geneina, near the westernborder with Chad,have been deprived of aid relief after Oxfam and Action Against Hunger pulledtheir aid workers.

The decision came after their people were beaten,raped, and subjected to mock executions by militiamen belonging to the factionof the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebel group which signed a peace deal withthe government in 2006.

The UN estimates that some 200,000 people werekilled and 2 million others driven from their homes since 2003, when Darfur rebels took up arms against the governmentaccusing it of neglect.

Red Tape

Holmes, who was the UK'sambassador to Franceuntil his UN appointment, also criticized bureaucratic obstacles disrupting aiddelivery.

He cited an incident in which a soldier at acheckpoint prevented him from visiting a camp for displaced people in Darfur on Saturday, March 24, as a case in point.

"It illustrated precisely the problem we arefacing," the UN's humanitarian chief told the British daily.

"If that can happen to me on a fairlyhigh-profile visit they knew all about, you can imagine what it's like forordinary humanitarian workers."

The Sudanese government apologized to Holmes andblamed the incident on poor communications.

In a press conference in Khartoum on Monday, March 26, he saidSudanese officials have vowed to cooperate with and clear obstacles facing aidworkers.

"They welcomed the humanitarian effort. ... Wehave made useful progress but we still have a way to go," he said.

"They recognize there are issues to beaddressed."

The issue is also expected to be addressed during a meetingbetween Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir and UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Riyadh later on Tuesday.

Beshir has consistently rejected UN plans to deploya peacekeeping force in Darfur and refused to turn over war crimes suspects tothe International Criminal Court.

Reports suggested the meeting would be attended bySaudi King Abdullah, Arab League chief Amr Moussa and the head of the AfricanUnion's executive arm, Alpha Oumar Konare.

Source:Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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