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Sudan defends its decision to suspend ICRC

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February 1, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has defended its decision to suspend the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) saying that the latter needs to comply with the humanitarian work guidelines and the voluntary work law in order to continue its activities in the country.

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The ICRC distributed essential household items to vulnerable families in the eastern Chadian town of Tissi who have fled violence in the west of Darfur (Photo: ICRC/A. Moubarak)

The Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Suleiman Abdel-Rahman said in statements carried by Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) on Saturday that the ICRC still wants to consult and negotiate with relevant governmental bodies to reach an acceptable formula for its work in Sudan.

Earlier today ICRC spokesperson Adel Sherif told Reuters that "we have stopped our work across all of Sudan".

The reasons were related to "technical issues" surrounding the implementation of the organization’s work this year, Sherif said, adding he could not give more details as discussions with authorities were continuing.

Dafalla al-Qureshi, another spokesman for the organization’s office in Khartoum, said that HAC sent them a letter asking them to suspend their activities until they comply with certain conditions.

He said that among these stipulations is placing the ICRC budget and funds at the disposal of the Sudanese Red Crescent and not to undertake any activity on the ground before informing Sudanese authorities about its nature and timing.

Qureshi said that these conditions are unfair and that the ICRC cannot accept them pointing out that all ICRC offices throughout the world work independently of the authorities of the countries in which they operate .

The ICRC began working in Sudan in 1978 according to its website. The organization says it is helping people affected by the conflict in Darfur, providing seed, tools, food and water and re-establishing contact between people separated by the fighting.

The ICRC also promotes international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians affected by the conflict.

(ST)

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