Home | News    Wednesday 15 March 2006

Sudan closes offices of rights group in Darfur

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Mar 15, 2006 (EL-GENEINA) — The Sudanese human rights organisation SUDO said on Wednesday the West Darfur authorities had closed down three of its offices because it did not like its work overcoming divisions in the troubled region.

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Mudawi Adam

SUDO, one of the few rights groups based in the country, is often targeted by the government. International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) complain of harassment by authorities who they say create obstacles to their activities.

"They don’t want our work on peace building and human rights because we are uniting the people and they want to divide them," said Mudawi Ibrahim, head of SUDO.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million driven from their homes during three years of conflict in Darfur. More than 11,000 aid workers are trying to feed and protect the victims in one of the world’s largest humanitarian operations.

The government humanitarian affairs commissioner in West Darfur, al-Tijani Tajeddin, said SUDO had not submitted its mandate to him.

"Once they have submitted their mandate they can reopen," he told Reuters in el-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state.

Mudawi said SUDO had given the authorities a mandate but would resubmit it as asked. SUDO’s head of office in el-Geneina, Jaafar Khalifa, said he would hand it in on Thursday and see if they were allowed to reopen.

Offices in el-Geneina, Zalengei and Garsila had been closed. SUDO was working on water, education, health, sanitation and protection issues in West Darfur, one of the worst-affected parts of Darfur.

The U.N. has declared large parts of West Darfur high risk and armed banditry and militia attacks are frequent in the area bordering Chad.

(Reuters)

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