The humanitarian situation in Sudan is expected to deteriorate sharply following the expulsion of 13 international aid agencies by the government and issuing of restrictions on three national organisations.
The Elders – a group of prominent former statesmen and women including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – say that more than a million people will suffer as a result of the government's actions.
Archbishop Tutu, chairman of The Elders, said: “The people of Sudan must not be punished any further. Why is the government taking this action against its own citizens? I urge the Sudanese authorities not to exacerbate the awful suffering of the people and allow aid agencies to do their work in safety.”
Kofi Annan said: “Expelling aid workers and confiscating their equipment will only hurt the weakest and most vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of people have already died in Sudan as a result of conflict. Without assistance more than a million will be at greatly increased risk. The government and the international community have a responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable are cared for and are not made the victims of events that are beyond their control.”
Lakhdar Brahimi added: “The international community must work together to try to address the worsening humanitarian situation. We know that disease and hunger are acute and violence is a daily reality for those displaced by war. Aid agencies are a lifeline for these people.”
The government of Sudan took action against the aid agencies following the issuing of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court on 4 March. President al-Bashir has been indicted by the Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.