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Monday, 09/20/2010

Sudan expelled aid officials over "rape-detection devices"


Wednesday 18 August 2010  
August 17, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government’s decision to expel five aid officials last Sunday was made over its discovery that they were distributing "rape-detection devices" to several relief groups working in Darfur, according to one official here.

The commissioner for humanitarian aid in West Darfur Mohamed Al-Hassan Al-Awad was quoted by the local press as saying that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sent the devices to the aid groups operating at the Eastern localities of Western Darfur.
"They [UNHCR] sent the devices to [the] American IMC organization and the Norwegian MAC organization. The first [organization] accepted the devices but the second [organization] rejected [it]," Al-Awad said.
The Sudanese official also accused UNHCR of paying researchers in Wadi Saleh area to collect information on rape cases.
"The head of the [UNHCR] office said the [activity] was done for the purpose of work and not to incriminate," he added.
Furthermore, Al-Awad said that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited areas controlled by a faction that split from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur without permission. He said that ICRC representative was directed to go to other areas but he insisted to go to rebel controlled areas and ended up having his car abducted and staff accompanying him.
With regard to expelling the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Al-Awad alleged that he was collecting unauthorized signatures for a petition from the IDP camps and NGO’s to press the government to declare famine in the area.
The expulsion was the latest in a series of crackdown by Khartoum on the aid groups.
Last month, Sudan expelled two aid workers from the International Organization for Migration after the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a second warrant of arrest for President Bashir on three counts of genocide allegedly committed in Darfur region.
In March 2008, Sudan expelled 13 international aid NGOs following the issuance of the first ICC’s arrest warrant for president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir on charges of war crime and crimes against humanity.
NGOs in Darfur provide food and medical aid as well as access to clean water for more than 2 million people affected by the Darfur conflict which was ignited in 2003 between the central government in Khartoum and rebels accusing it of neglecting to develop the region.
The Sudanese government this month was accused by the U.N. of denying access to Kalma camp in South Darfur which houses around 100,000 IDP’s.











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