Tens of Thousands of Lives in Eastern Sudan Threatened by GOS Ban on NGO’s
Asmara, March 6, 2006.
In a surprise development today, the Secretariat of Humanitarian Affairs
(SHALA) received formal notification from the International Rescue
Committee (IRC) suspending its activities in the NDA liberated areas of
Sudan. The IRC letter attributed the decision to “…the order of the
government of Sudan”.
This sudden move creates a humanitarian disaster for the 45,000 people
directly benefiting from the health, education, veterinary, water and
local capacity building programs of IRC. Moreover, the decision will
eventually end the operations of 15 schools, 15 clinics, 14 veterinary
outposts and mobile units as well as abort children immunization,
mother/child health care programs and put at risk the supply of clean
water and various capacity building initiatives for the entire region
inhabited by about 249,000 citizens.
The regrettable decision jeopardizes advances made during the past decade
in improving the welfare and health standards for Eastern Sudan at a scale
unavailable since Sudan’s independence half a century ago. It also imposes
a heavy burden on the infrastructure of the remaining agencies. Therefore,
we call upon the international community and particularly NGOs to continue
with their humanitarian relief and assistance operations and not to allow
narrow political objectives undermine their valuable and hugely
Feki Ali Mohamed
Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs
Eastern Sudan Front.