SUDAN WATCH: UN says Sudan has ordered expulsion of 6-10 aid groups including Oxfam, Solidarities and Mercy Corps

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

UN says Sudan has ordered expulsion of 6-10 aid groups including Oxfam, Solidarities and Mercy Corps

From Associated Press 4 March 2009:
Sudan expels aid groups after warrant decision
UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. spokeswoman says Sudan has ordered the expulsion of six to 10 humanitarian groups from Darfur and seized assets after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against the country's president.

U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe says the aid groups include Oxfam, Solidarities and Mercy Corps. The others were not identified.

Okabe says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling the move a "serious setback to lifesaving operations in Darfur."

The decision comes after the Hague court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
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UPDATE ON THURSDAY 5 MARCH 2009

News report from Radio Netherlands 5 March 2009:
Dutch ambassador ready for any eventuality:
The Foreign Ministry has posted a more severe travel warning to Sudan now that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant against the country's president. The ministry is advising Dutch citizens not to travel to the province of Darfur or the town of Malakal unless it is absolutely necessary.

There are currently around 250 Dutch citizens in Sudan, most of whom work for aid organisations or are connected to the United Nations or one of its missions. All 250 have been asked to report to the Dutch Embassy in Khartoum. The Dutch ambassador, Norbert Braakhuis, says that if the embassy knows where everyone is, it will be easier to provide help should it be needed.

He added that there are no indications that Dutch citizens run a particular risk because the International Criminal Court is located in The Hague. However, although he believes Sudan does not equate the court with the Netherlands and its citizens, he says he would like to be prepared for any eventuality.

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