Khartoum’s Assault on Humanitarian Organizations in Darfur Continues –
Eric Reeves, 19 March 2014 –
At the same time that the Khartoum regime is aiding, sponsoring, and countenancing renewed large-scale militia violence in Darfur, a parallel—and potentially more destructive—campaign is underway. As Radio Dabanga reports today, the latest international humanitarian organization to be shut down and thrown out of Darfur is the French Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED). As it did during the massive expulsions of March 2009, Khartoum is also confiscating all assets of the organization.
The international community—most notably the UN, the African Union, and their completely dysfunctional “hybrid” mission (UNAMID)—shows an unlimited willingness to cooperate in actions that threaten the lives of many hundreds of thousands of human beings throughout Darfur.
Discussions of the massive security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur by the UN Secretary-General, senior AU officials, and the head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations continue to have both an air of unreality and the unmistakable stench of morally bankrupt expediency.
From Radio Dabanga (Zalingei, formerly West Darfur), March 19, 2014
“French aid organisation shut-down in Darfur”
The authorities of Central [formerly West] Darfur have announced the closure of the office of a French aid organisation in state capital Zalingei. The government told the local head of the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) it will confiscate all assets by Thursday 20 March, a staff member confirmed to Radio Dabanga. The ACTED properties include several cars, stores and computers. “The government wants ACTED to leave Sudan entirely,” the employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
On Monday, security officers entered the ACTED compound in Zalingei and ordered the staff to leave the properties within 48 hours, but apparently the ultimatum has been postponed until Thursday. The officials said they were acting on behalf of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) of Central Darfur, but they did not provide any reason for the closure. Radio Dabanga asked ACTED to comment, but did not yet receive any reply. Early February, the government suspended the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross that was ordered to hand over their assets to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.
[See extensive analysis (February 1, 2014) of the suspension of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the effort by Khartoum to re-direct ICRC funding to the Sudanese Red Crescent—which remains fully under the control of the regime and enjoys no meaningful independence: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1aH.]
ACTED provides camp-management to the displaced people in Zalingei and was setting better water and sanitation for the camps and the surrounding villages before the rain season starts. “At least 50 members of the national staff are employed in the Central Darfur office,” a local staff member said. According to its website, the program has 83 national staff and 3 internationals working in Sudan.
“The action against ACTED comes at a critical time,” the staff member told Radio Dabanga. The war in Darfur has flared up with full-scale bombardments in rebel held areas of East Jebel Marra. Ten thousands of people from the targeted areas have fled to camps for internally displaced people in Zalingei, “where ACTED is amongst the bigger international aid organisations still working.”
A coordinator of the Central Darfur camps demanded the international community and the UN Security Council to “put pressure on the Khartoum regime to stop the expulsion of organisations.” “The suspension would deprive displaced people from the services of the organisation,” he told Radio Dabanga.
[See also analysis (February 10, 2014) of the UN’s continuing refusal to release data for Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Darfur—data desperately needed but whose release remains controlled politically by Khartoum: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1aK.]
Northampton, MA 01063
Eric Reeves’ new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012; www.CompromisingWithEvil.org)
Review commentary at: http://wp.me/p45rOG-15S)