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UN agencies say Sudan's Move to Expel Aid Agencies May Be A War Crime


UN agencies have warned that Sudan's move to expel aid agencies could endanger more than a million people and the action may constitute a war crime. Thirteen non-governmental agencies had their licenses revoked this week, after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The ICC charges him with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The groups include Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children.

UN spokesman Rupert Colville says denying aid to a conflict area may violate international law.

Sudanese officials accuse the aid groups of profiting from the conflict in Darfur and passing information to the ICC. The groups deny the allegations.

Mr. Bashir told thousands of supporters in Khartoum yesterday that the ICC's decision is part of a western conspiracy to re-colonize Sudan for its oil and other natural resources.

VOA English to Africa reporter Kim Lewis spoke with Selena Brewer, Sudan Researcher for Human Rights Watch in London about the humanitarian impact of the expelling of aid agencies. She explained, "There is obviously a massive humanitarian effort in Darfur. There's more than two and a half million people who have been displaced by the conflict. They're living in displaced people's camps. They're very reliant on external aid to ensure that they have basic needs: water, sanitation, healthcare."

She says there's also an additional two million people who've been affected by the conflict who are not able to reach market or who are unable to farm. They are also reliant on some form of aid.

"Now the government has turned around," she said, "and asked 13 agencies to leave Darfur, and between them they are covering between 50 and 70 percent of the humanitarian aid operation. So if you remove that life saving assistance to the millions of people who are there, the result is that there are millions of people left without basic needs like clean water and health care"



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