Canada helps African Union improve security in Darfur
The Government of Canada today announced that it will provide approximately $2 million for five chartered helicopters to assist the African Union (AU) in carrying out its mission to help end the violence and human rights abuses in Darfur, Sudan. Today’s funding is the first phase of Canada’s $20 million commitment to the AU mission, announced by Prime Minister Paul Martin in September 2004 at the United Nations General Assembly.
Canada’s contribution comes as a timely response to the AU’s decision to expand its mission to 3,320 from 390 people. The AU mission will help foster stability and enhance civilian protection in the region. It is composed of contingents from a number of African countries.
“Canada has responded to the African Union’s urgent appeal for help,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew. “These helicopters will allow the AU to move troops and supplies around Darfur, a region the size of Manitoba, but with very few roads.”
“Today’s funding will help support African efforts to find a solution to an African crisis,” said Minister of National Defence Bill Graham. “We are providing advice and support for this initiative.”
“This contribution will allow the observers to do their jobs in some of the most remote areas of the region,” said International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll. “Today’s contribution is part of a coordinated effort of international donors to help protect the Sudanese and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. This is part of Canada’s ongoing support to the African Union to build its capacity to respond to crises.”
The five helicopters are due to arrive in Darfur at the end of this month. Canada will continue to monitor the situation and provide further assistance, including additional transportation support, as requested by the AU.
Canadians want to contribute to alleviating the suffering of the Sudanese. Canada’s approach to the crises in Sudan has been both to help address the underlying political problems, and to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, protection for those affected by the conflict and support for peacebuilding efforts. Since October 2003, Canada has contributed some $37 million in humanitarian assistance to the crises in Sudan, including $25.9 million to respond specifically to the Darfur crisis. Canada is vigorously pursuing diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts in Sudan, particularly Darfur and the southern civil war. Canada is urging the Government of Sudan to live up to its commitments made to the UN Security Council.
For more information on Canada’s role in Sudan, please visit http://www.international.gc.ca/africa/sudan-crisis-in-darfur-en.asp and