The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

March 17, 2023

NPR: Darfur Activists See Aid Crisis As Test For Obama. Ever since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president two weeks ago, the government has been stepping up pressure on the international community First, Sudan kicked out more than a dozen aid groups that were helping people in the Darfur region in the west of the country. Now, President Omar al-Bashir says he wants all foreign aid groups out within a year. Joel Charny of the advocacy group Refugees International says one way to look at the expulsion of aid workers is to picture the displaced camps in Darfur as large towns. Then think about what would happen if the towns' biggest hospitals were closed and the water system contaminated. That's basically what is happening in the Kalma camp in Darfur, Charny says, where there is now fear of a meningitis outbreak. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said he expects the administration will name a special envoy for Sudan, but no decision has been made. [Save Darfur Coalition's Jerry] Fowler says the situation on the ground won't wait for U.S. policy reviews. "If the administration is not ready to appoint the envoy, then there needs to be a temporary owner -- someone who is already on board needs to drop what he or she is doing and focus on this crisis, because it's not going to wait," Fowler says.

USA Today: Sudan to throw out aid workers. Having already ousted 13 foreign aid groups from the Darfur region, Sudan's president said Monday he would expel all international aid workers from the country over the next year, a move that threatens to cut off millions from their only source of food and water. The United Nations has said that 1.1 million people in Darfur refugee camps will soon be without food and medicine. Sudanese troops and allied militia groups have attacked civilians in the region of western Sudan in a long-running conflict over control of the area. A leading activist on Darfur and two members of Congress questioned Monday whether Obama's muted response to the worsening situation in the western region of Sudan matched up with his bold campaign rhetoric, which included a call for American military action to stop the government-sponsored killing. "Why is there a disconnect between how passionate and articulate candidate Obama addressed the issue of Darfur ... and what President Obama is doing now?" Jerry Fowler, executive director of the Save Darfur coalition, said Monday.

Reuters: INTERVIEW-Wanted Sudan minister says no mass aid expulsion. A Sudanese minister said on Tuesday the country had no plans to expel all foreign aid groups a day after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said he wanted local organisations to take over relief distribution within a year. Bashir sparked fears of mass expulsions when he told a rally on Monday he had ordered the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to "Sudanise" aid work in the country in a year, saying he wanted to stop foreign aid groups distributing relief inside Sudan. Bashir's close ally, Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs who is also wanted by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur, said the president had meant he wanted foreign aid groups to stay and train their Sudanese counterparts so they could take over the delivery of aid. "The president wants to see, in a year's time ... a real transformation for national NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to take a more proactive role," Haroun told Reuters in an interview clarifying Bashir's position. "The right approach to achieve this is by developing a good plan in a phased approach, so that national NGOs develop capacity and take more responsibilities and gradually international NGOs phase out."

Los Angeles Times: Camps in Darfur struggle with aid groups' exit. The situation at the Zam Zam camp, hard even in the best of times, is more desperate because the aid groups that deliver emergency food, water and healthcare were shut down this month by Sudan's government in retaliation after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir. International aid groups and the United Nations are scrambling to fill the gaps left by the expulsion of the 13 foreign aid groups, including several of the largest providers of food, clean water, education and healthcare to Darfur's displacement camps. Most are cautiously optimistic that they can avert the near-term catastrophe that would come with the lack of essentials such as food and water. The World Food Program has begun an emergency distribution of a two-month supply to the most affected areas. UNICEF is focusing on delivering extra fuel to run about three dozen crucial water stations. The Sudanese government insists that local charities and official agencies will replace the expelled groups, which it accused of acting as "spies" for the International Criminal Court.

Agence France-Presse: ICC urges Qatar to cooperate with Beshir warrant. The International Criminal Court urged Qatar on Saturday to cooperate with its arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir when he visits Doha later this month. Qatar, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the court, has invited Beshir to an Arab summit on March 30 despite an international warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes in Darfur. "The court counts on the cooperation of states and therefore of Qatar, but it does not have its own police force," ICC spokeswoman Laurence Blairon told AFP. "Qatar is not a state member of the Rome Statute, the founding text of the ICC, but it is a member of the United Nations," Blairon said. "The (UN) Security Council resolution that urges all states to cooperate with the court therefore applies to Qatar," she added.

New York Times: Europeans Transfer Chad Mission to U.N. On Sunday, in a spit-and-polish ceremony in Abéché, attended by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, as well as European politicians and United Nations officials, the Europeans transferred command to the United Nations. The new force begins with about 2,300 soldiers, 750 of them French, and expects to have 3,900 by June, when the rainy season starts, and 5,200 by the end of the year. For Alain Le Roy, United Nations under secretary general for peacekeeping operations, Chad is a model. "The E.U. is developing its rapid deployment capacity," he said. "They can deploy quickly and work to stabilize the situation. Then the U.N., which takes much longer to get into gear, can take over." About 2,000 European troops will remain, changing their berets from green to United Nations blue, until the end of this year, to prevent a deterrent vacuum.

The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition. To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].



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