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Sudan threatens further NGO expulsions as refugee figures mount

Connect-World, March 24, 2009

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has arrived in Eritrea on his first foreign visit since he was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes in Darfur, Eritrea's government says. He will also travel to an Arab summit in Qatar at the end of March.

Sudan expelled a large number of foreign NGOs following the indictment. The action threatens over 1 million and may constitute a war crime. China blocked a Security Council statement condemning the action

Khartoum's envoy said Sudan would never back down.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has gone further and announced he wants all international aid groups to stop distributing aid across the country within a year. Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs has since modified the demand, saying the government wants foreign aid groups to train their Sudanese counterparts to take over the delivery of aid.

This is a World Health Organisation map showing the reduction in health care in Darfur due to the expulsions and a more general map showing the overall humanitarian impact. Meanwhile, aid agencies say tens of thousands of Darfuris could flee to south Sudan, and Chad.

In Chad, the United Nations has taken over command of an EU protection force that had been led by an Irish officer, Lt Gen Pat Nash. The 440 Irish troops serving there will wear the traditional UN blue beret but there will be little change in their operations.

Separately, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre has raised its estimates for the total number of displaced people in Sudan to 4.8 million.

According to AlertNet, most aid agencies involved in Sudan aren't giving media interviews at the moment on what's going on there but CARE is offering interviews on the possible spillover into Chad: Anne Wood (Chad): +235.6202441 or Kieran Green (Canada): +1.613.228.5678 mobile: +1.613.799.7562.

The U.S.-based Enough Project is offering interviews on the Darfur situation with its senior staff. Contact Eileen White Read Tel: +1 202 741 6376

Latest Sudan/Chad/EUFOR/Darfur news

See also Sudan coverage from AlertNet, including new fallout scenarios (resources from AlertNet were substantially used in the preparation of the article above).

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