It’s now six weeks since the government of Sudan suspended 16 humanitarian organizations that had been providing essential aid for scores of vulnerable people in Darfur and other parts of the country. The crisis in Sudan may have fallen out of the headlines, but that does not mean the situation has improved. In fact, it is getting worse
Tag Archives for "Darfur"
The following statement on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, Sudan has been issued jointly and endorsed by UNICEF, UNHCR, UNJLC, WFP, WHO and OCHA on March 6, 2009. For additional information about UNICEF’s work for the children of Darfur, visit: unicefusa.org/darfur.
The Government of Sudan’s order suspending 16 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will have devastating implications for the citizens of Darfur. Aid operations in North Sudan, the largest humanitarian emergency in the world costing over $2 billion annually, will be irrevocably damaged.
The UN Agencies operating in Sudan (UNICEF, UNHCR, UNJLC, WFP, WHO) and OCHA, are deeply concerned by this situation. The suspended NGOs account for more than half of the capacity for the aid operation in Darfur. If the lifesaving assistance these agencies were providing is not restored shortly, it will have immediate, lasting and profound impacts on the well-being of millions of Sudanese citizens.
It is not possible, in any reasonable time frame, to replace the capacity and expertise these agencies have provided over an extended period of time. The decision to expel these sixteen organizations, our main implementing partners, effectively removes some 6,500 staff, or 40 percent of the humanitarian workforce, from being able to carry out critical humanitarian activities in Darfur.
These organizations provide a lifeline to 4.7 million people in Darfur alone, and millions more in other areas of Northern Sudan. While some 85 international NGOs operate in Darfur, without these organizations much of the aid operation literally comes to a halt.
We are also alarmed that the Government has confiscated assets from these organizations, which are critical to the humanitarian operation, including computers, vehicles and communications equipment.
While the UN agencies reaffirm their commitment to do everything possible to cover the most pressing and critical gaps caused by this suspension during the coming days, neither this commitment nor remaining capacity on the ground is sufficient to meet the humanitarian needs in the long run. As such, we appeal to the Government of Sudan to urgently reconsider this decision and to restore our ability to assist their most vulnerable citizens.
To make an immediate, online donation in support of UNICEF’s continuing work for the children of Darfur and Sudan, visit: unicefusa.org/donate/darfur.
When I was a kid, I watched the Olympics in a cozy pair of footy pajamas, curled up on the couch with my siblings and our dog. At some point, I’m pretty sure I ate ice cream.
When Lopez Lomong was a kid, he watched the Olympics by leaving the refugee camp he was living in and walking five miles to get a glimpse of track and field events on a black-and-white TV. He was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, orphaned by the fighting in Darfur. By the time he watched the Sydney Olympics of 2000 on that black-and-white TV, he had experienced more fear, violence and hardship than most people endure in a lifetime.
|© UNICEF/ HQ04-0899/Shehzad Noorani|
|SUDAN: Hamudi Abdullah Mohammed witnessed the death of his parents during an early morning militia attack on his village in Darfur. This phopto was taken at the Kalma camp for displaced people, near Nyala, capital of South Darfur.|
Lopez Lomong spent 10 years in the Kenyan refugee camp and was eventually adopted by an American family. Now he’s 23 years old and is, himself, an Olympic runner. Last week in Beijing, he carried the flag for the U.S. team during the Olympic opening ceremonies. He is also active in a group called Team Darfur
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) recently honored Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, as one of four women of distinction at the Empowering Women Banquet, held during the 117th Annual GFWC International Convention in Chicago. Other honorees included Anne Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice and a founder of the Special Olympics; Elena Poptodorova, Ambassador of Bulgaria to the United States; and Jaclyn Smith, actress, entrepreneur, philanthropist and breast cancer survivor.
Stern thanked the gathering of over 650 GFWC members for their long-standing support of UNICEF and commitment to the empowerment of women. She pointed out that gender inequality creates a burden on both women and children, and therefore remains a high priority in UNICEF’s work.
Earlier this month, I posted an entry on this blog about girls in Darfur being sexually assaulted when they collect firewood in the wilderness. One of our readers left a question that may have crossed many people’s minds: “How about letting the MEN collect the firewood?!”
When I first researched this subject, I also wondered why girls in Darfur were left to do this risky chore in secluded areas while boys stayed behind at camp. But I later learned that boys in war-torn countries also suffer horrible abuse, violence and exploitation.
In Darfur, when militias raid villages, they sometimes immediately execute the boys along with the men. In times of war, many fighting groups see young men and boys as threats or as potential soldiers, so boys are either killed or kidnapped and forced to serve in militias.
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