News / Africa

Sudan Blocks UNHCR Visa Renewals in Darfur

UNHCR convoy passes Sudanese man riding on a camel, Um Shalaya refugee camp south of the Darfur town of Al-Geneina, April 25, 2007 file photo.
UNHCR convoy passes Sudanese man riding on a camel, Um Shalaya refugee camp south of the Darfur town of Al-Geneina, April 25, 2007 file photo.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency is appealing to government officials in Khartoum to reverse their decision to allow work permits of its international staff to expire, saying it will have to scale down humanitarian operations in Darfur if the visas can be renewed.
 
UNHCR says the Sudanese government has granted new work permits to only 17 of the agency’s 37 international staff, which is undermining operations in North Darfur state where all of the 20 aid workers denied visas are based.
 
Melissa Fleming, an agency spokeswoman, says Sudanese authorities have not reversed this decision despite extended follow-up discussions.
 
"My understanding is that this started in March, that we were informed that the permits would not be renewed," she said, explaining that UNHCR officials don't know why Khartoum has withheld the visas. "But some of them had not run out at that point, and then people were suddenly asked to leave in July."
 
The U.N. agency began publicly appealing the government to renew the permits after efforts of quiet diplomacy failed, calling the visas vital to continue protection and assistance programs for hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians.
 
Darfur has endured a decade of violence and widespread lawlessness since rebel groups began fighting the government in 2003, and humanitarian conditions in the region remain critical. In North Darfur alone, Fleming notes, recent fighting has displaced 100,000 people.
 
Fleming says the visa issue will force the agency to make cutbacks severe impacting existing programs. The U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Food Program continue to work at full strength in the region, and UNHCR may rely on them and other partners to help implement some of its activities.
 
The UNHCR reports an estimated two million people are currently internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, 60 percent of whom live in refugee camps. This year alone, there have been almost 300,000 new IDPs — one-third of them within and from North Darfur.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More