Oxfam GB submits appeal against expulsion from N. Sudan
15 Apr 2009
Source: Oxfam GB - UK (via Reuters)
AGENCY REFUTES ALLEGATIONS AGAINST IT, WARNS HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN DARFUR HAS DETERIORATED SINCE THE EXPULSIONS
International aid agency Oxfam GB said today that it has formally submitted its appeal against the Sudanese government's decision to expel it from northern Sudan, and expressed serious concern at the false allegations that continue to be made against it and other expelled agencies. The agency warned the humanitarian situation in Darfur is worsening following the expulsion, with people facing shortages of water and other aid.
Penny Lawrence, Oxfam GB's International Programmes Director, said: "We have already been told that water pumps in some Darfur camps have stopped pumping, and there are growing fears about the potential for outbreaks of disease in the coming rainy season. The expulsion is already affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of the very poorest and most vulnerable Sudanese people."
Oxfam GB has been assisting 600,000 people across northern Sudan - not only in Darfur, but in the east of the country and the poorest areas of the capital Khartoum, which have also been affected. Programmes providing clean water, sanitation, education and microfinance have all been shut down.
Lawrence said: "We strongly refute the government's accusations that we have acted outside our humanitarian mandate. We are an independent, impartial organisation, and we have not provided any information to the International Criminal Court's investigation. For the past 25 years, our predominantly Sudanese staff have worked tirelessly to help improve the lives of the poorest people in Sudan. We have provided emergency aid during conflicts, floods and droughts, and long term development support in some of the most remote and marginalised areas of the country. We remain committed to ensuring people get the support they need."
The agency said it has still not been given an official reason why its registration has been revoked, or been given evidence of any of the allegations against it. Its appeal has been submitted in the timeframe given under Sudanese law, after lengthy legal consultations.
A recent joint assessment in Darfur by the United Nations and the Government of Sudan showed that hundreds of thousands of people now have less access to safe water, healthcare, food and shelter, and that these needs are likely to become acute in the coming months. In many locations where Oxfam GB was working, the impact is already apparent. In Kalma camp in South Darfur, boreholes have stopped pumping water. In the camps of Kass and Shangil Tobai, communities have been rationing water to try to make it available for longer. Thousands of latrines will fill up and need replacing in the coming months, and many health programmes aimed at reducing the threat of water-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria in the rainy season have ceased. Given the urgency and scale of the need, replacing these programmes will be an enormously difficult challenge.
Notes to Editors:
Oxfam GB first began working in Sudan in 1983, responding to the needs of people displaced when war erupted in the south of the country. The following year it helped people made destitute by the drought in Darfur and eastern Sudan. It has been working in Sudan continuously ever since. In 2004 it scaled up its response to the Darfur conflict, as well as working to improve the livelihoods of poor communities in eastern Red Sea State and the capital Khartoum. Although it has been expelled from northern Sudan, Oxfam GB continues to operate in southern Sudan, providing clean water, sanitation and livelihoods support to people affected by decades of conflict.
Oxfam GB submitted its appeal to the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission, in accordance with Sudanese law under Article 14 of the Voluntary and Humanitarian Work Act 2006. The Act allows agencies one month to appeal.