Monday, November 13, 2006

Civilian and Humanitarian Security in Darfur: Final Concessions to Khartoum

Various international actors signal that the fate of civilians and humanitarian operations in Darfur and eastern Chad will ultimately be left in the hands of the National Islamic Front génocidaires

By: Eric Reeves

The signals have been everywhere in evidence these past ten days: there is simply no stomach within the international community to provide military resources for meaningful protection of the nearly 4.5 million conflict-affected persons that UN agencies now estimate are at risk in Darfur and eastern Chad (figures from the latest UN “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” [No. 25] and reports from UN organizations working in eastern Chad). The humanitarian operations upon which this almost incomprehensibly large population now depends are also at yet greater risk, with ever more urgent distress calls coming from organizations and individuals on the ground in Darfur. More and more of these aid organizations are approaching the breaking point, with contingency plans in place for rapid withdrawal.

One of the most important humanitarian organizations working in Darfur, Norwegian Refugee Council, was this past week forced by Khartoum’s relentless obstruction and harassment to withdraw, leaving some 300,000 civilians without the critical humanitarian assistance provided by this distinguished and venerable organization (it was founded in 1946 to assist refugees following World War II):

“[Norwegian Refugee Council] said it was pulling out 12 international staff and 170 local staff running one camp for 128,000 people in southern Darfur camp and another for 100,000 people. ‘We coordinated all aid, the fair distribution of food, medical care. Now there are 300,000 people on their own. That’s what concerns us most,’ said group spokeswoman Astrid Sehl by telephone. She said they also had to shut down an educational program from about 19,000 children, and stop distributing food to about 52,000 people outside the camps.” Read more >>>

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