ICRC shuts down in Sudan over 'technical issues' with Khartoum

The emblem of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The international organization has been asked by the government of Sudan to suspend its operations in the country. Photo by: ICRC / CC BY-SA

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced on Saturday the suspension of all its activities in Sudan — at the request of the Khartoum government.

An official statement said the organization is now negotiating “technical issues” with their main partner, the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, and local authorities so the organization can resume their work as soon as possible.

No further details or reason for the suspension were given, but this is not the first time an international aid group is ordered to suspend operations by the country’s government.

“We remain committed to the people of Sudan”, Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in the country, noted in the statement. “It is therefore our hope that there will soon be an agreement with the authorities allowing a resumption of our work to help those in need.”

On Twitter, several aid workers and development professionals criticized the government’s request.

“Unacceptable,” wrote @mmstansberry, while @H_Pagano called the suspension a “terrible blow for the people who heavily depended on them, particularly in Darfur,” and @Latitude90 added that nothing should stop  live-saving activities.

The ICRC currently employs over 700 local and international staff in Sudan, where the organization has been present since 1978 and now provides humanitarian assistance to over 1.5 million people, including medical supplies and food in the conflict-torn region of Darfur.

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About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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