Sudan maintains ban on foreign aid workers in 2 conflict-torn states

Thousands of people displaced by the conflict in Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan State, have sought refuge in an area secured by the United Nations Mission in Sudan, outside the area. Photo by: Paul Banks / United Nations

Sudan has rejected a U.N. request for wider humanitarian access to the conflict-torn states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the international body said there is an alarming rate of malnutrition.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos has urged the Sudanese government to lift its ban on the entry of foreign aid workers in the two states, where government troops are fighting members of the insurgent group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. Amos argued international expertise is needed to support local U.N. staff assisting people affected by the fighting.

“We need to ensure that the U.N. capacity, which is there to support government efforts, is made up of a mix of U.N. staff, national and international, to make sure we have the right skill set of support,” Amos said.

The request, however, was denied by Sudanese Social Welfare Minister Amira al-Fadel Mohamed, who maintained aid to the two states should be delivered by Sudanese nationals.

“We fear for the security of foreigners. That’s why we think the presence of a Sudanese organization makes sense,” the minister said, according to Reuters.

Mohamed did welcome the United Nations’ support and said the Sudanese government will continue to discuss the possibility of lifting the ban.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.