Norwegian NGO forced to leave Darfur refugee camp

Sudanese authorities have refused to extend the mandate of the Norwegian non-governmental organisation Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which heads the main refugee camp in Darfur, sheltering some 100 000 people, the organisation announced on Monday.

The NRC “fears for the security, the lives and the health to the extent that all humanitarian aid destined for 100 000 children and adults will be deprived of management and coordination”, Jens Mjaugedal, head of the organisation’s international division, said in a statement.

“We have not received an explanation why our presence is no longer desired,” he said.

Although other NGOs will remain in the camp, NRC’s departure will cause coordination and supply problems for medicines and food, Mjaugedal said.

NRC, whose mandate ends on Tuesday, said that despite worsening conditions in recent months, it had hoped “to fully continue its work but now is deprived of this possibility”.

It called on the Norwegian government and the United Nations to put pressure on Sudan to facilitate the work of aid organisations.

NRC is one of Norway’s largest NGOs, with 1 300 people working for refugees and displaced persons.

The civil war in Darfur has resulted in more than two million displaced people and refugees.

The UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, was earlier on Monday refused access to Darfur, although he has the necessary visa, the UN said. — AFP

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