March 15, 2009

Aid Agencies expelled from Sudan

Services to poor people disrupted
The decision by the federal government to revoke the registrations of 13 NGOs in March 2009 caused major breaks in service to the marginalized in Darfur. About 6,500 aid workers had to leave, about 40% of the total. Agency offices were stripped of computers and supplies, vehicles were impounded, bank accounts were confiscated.

Reasons for this action
On March 5, 2009, from Europe, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for the arrest of the President of Sudan, for his alleged responsibility for crimes against humanity and for war crimes committed in Darfur. Some of the evidence leading to the warrant included information collected by aid agencies. This included children's drawings of bombs falling from planes and men with guns who killed people.

The ICC said they did not use aid agencies as sources of information, but the Sudan government acted anyway to expel some agencies. They ended up increasing the pressure on themselves to care for citizens in Darfur.

At the time, Darfur was the largest humanitarian emergency in the world. There were over 2,600,000 internally displaced people (IDP) living in camps and dependent on aid from various agencies. The United Nations, along with partnering governments and aid agencies, had established a budget of $2.2 billion for 2009 for relief and development in Sudan. Almost half of that was for relief and early recovery in Darfur.

Agency List
The agencies that were expelled included:
    Save the Children -UK
    Save the Children -USA
    Care International
    Oxfam -Great Britain
    Mercy Corps
    International Rescue Committee
    Medecins Sans Frontieres-Netherlands
    Medecins Sans Frontieres-France