25 December 2012

Sudan: New Body to Examine Demands of Foreign NGOs

Khartoum — Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir issued a presidential decree forming a committee to examine the demands of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work in Sudan.

The presidential decision provides that this committee will be headed by a representative of the defence ministry and include delegates from interior and foreign ministries, besides Darfur Regional Authority, Humanitarian Commission, and the intelligence and security services.

The new body will authorize or not the foreign groups and follow-up its activities but also it has to make propositions on the regulations related to the NGOs and to submit it to the competent organs.

Immediately after the first arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court against Al-Bashir in March 2009, Sudan expelled 13 aid groups from Darfur accusing it of collaborating with the war crime courts.

Since, the activities of foreign aid group in Darfur are strictly controlled. Further organizations were expelled and the government refuses to allow new aid groups to work in the region.

Sudan foreign minister Ali Karti two months ago criticized this decision to expel foreign aid groups saying it had been taken without consultations with his ministry.

However, Sudanese government banned the access of foreign groups to the rebel held areas in South Kordofan as well as the establishment of camps for the displaced civilians, stressing the experience of Darfur camps should not be repeated in southern Sudan.

Different countries expressed willingness to support Darfur authority in its efforts to bring peace and support the return of displaced people. However, experts dispatched to assess the needs were banned from the region.

The head of Darfur Regional Authority raised the restriction of aid groups with the Sudanese president and held discussions with the different concerned services including the national intelligent and security services.

It is not clear if this measure concern Darfur region alone or open the door for a new policy in South Kordofan.

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