Home | News    Monday 10 November 2003

Khartoum red tape choking aid flows to war-ravaged Darfur: UN

NAIROBI, Nov 10 (AFP) — Sudan’s government is hampering an adequate response to an escalating humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged Darfur region by reneging on a pledge to process aid workers’ travel permits speedily, the UN accused Monday.

"Some aid operations haven’t been able to start. Aid workers who are ready to go (to Darfur) are getting stuck," because their permit applications have not been turned around within a promised 24-hour period, Ben Parker, the Nairobi-based spokesman for the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, told AFP by phone.

Since February, Darfur, in western Sudan along the border with Chad, has been the theatre of clashes between a rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), and government forces backed by local militias.

At least 3,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting.

"We understand the government has legitimate security concerns but we feel that there has to be a better way," Parker added.