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Sudan revokes licenses of 26 aid groups in Darfur, warns dozen others

January 21, 2010 (KHARTOUM) –The Sudanese government announced today that it has revoked the licenses of 26 relief groups operating in Darfur while warning 13 others that they must conform to the country’s laws within 30 days or face the same fate.

Displaced Sudanese women and children wait their turn for medical treatment at Zamzam refugee camp, outside the Darfur town of al-Fasher (WP)Sudan official news agency (SUNA) carried a decree by the government’s registrar for the of Voluntary and Charitable Organizations Ahmed Mohamed Adam saying that the decision was taken in line with the laws governing the work of aid groups in addition to agreements between the government of Sudan and these organizations.

The determination also came upon a review of the reports submitted by the assessment teams of the specialized technical departments of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the decree said.

The following groups have their licenses cancelled according to the decree; 1- Prospect Sudan 2- Counterpart International 3- Feed the Children 4- Food for the Hungry 5- Safe Harbor 6- The Halo Trust 7- Right to Play 8- Air Serve 9- Mercy International 10- Global Peace Mission 11- Population Media Centre 12- Sudanese International Development and Relief Association (SIDRA) 13- Royal Dutch Aid 14- Canadian Association for African Development 15- SPEG- Holland 16- Norwegian League for Disabled 17- African Association for Development 18- Health Assistance for Children (HAFC) 19- Nabata Charitable Foundation 20- Impact 21- Cins- Italy 22- Ulfa Aid 23- Joint Projects Organization 24- Arabic Centre for Immigrant Labors 25- Tomp/Germany 26- Human Relief and Peace.

According to Adam, the abovementioned groups “have not carried out any activities” and failed to renew their annual permits or submit required reports.

The second set of organizations received an unspecified warning to adjust status in accordance with the law but no details were furnished. They include Stromme Foundation 2. Veterinaraires Sans Forntieres- Germany 3. Planned Parenthood 4. (International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Area(ICARDA 5. Deniz Feneri 6. International Blue Crescent Relief 7. Handicap International 8. (Education Action International (Former was University Services Org 9. Movimondo 10. Sudanese Mothers for Peace 11. Panos Sudan 12. Eritrean Islamic Relief 13. One Earth.

In a related development a study made by Belgian scientists published in The Lancet medical journal said that the overwhelming majority of deaths in Darfur can be attributed to diseases such as diarrhea.

According to Reuters, the researchers said their results showed that any reduction in humanitarian aid can cause deaths rates to increase sharply.

Last year, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir ordered more than a dozen aid groups out of Darfur after his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Adequate humanitarian assistance to prevent and treat these potentially fatal diseases is essential," Degomme and Guha-Sapir wrote. "The full effect of the expulsion of non-governmental organizations from Darfur is still not known, but the increased mortality rate during a period of reduced humanitarian deployment in 2006 suggests that we should fear the worst”.

"More than 80 percent of excess deaths were not a result of the violence," said Olivier Degomme and Debarati Guha-Sapir of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of disasters in Brussels.

They said a violent peak in early 2004 was followed by "protracted phase of increased disease-related" deaths caused by people living in conditions of unsanitary conditions with little or no healthcare infrastructure.

The United Nations experts say at least 300,000 people have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease in Darfur, and that some 2.7 million are displaced by the seven year conflict.

(ST)