Very disturbing reports this morning cite remarks from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who, at a rally in Khartoum today told the crowd, "We have ordered the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to completely ‘Sudanise’ the voluntary work in Sudan in one year and after that we don’t want international organizations to deal with Sudanese citizens on relief." Bashir rallied the assembled crowd, telling them, "We need to clear our country of any spies."
Ahmed Haroun, Sudan’s junior minister of humanitarian affairs, an ironic title for someone who, like Bashir, is wanted by the ICC, stated further that U.N. agencies would be permitted to stay, and that the order covered north and south Sudan.
Currently, more than 70 international aid organizations work throughout Sudan, helping millions with vital services that the Sudanese government does not have the capacity to provide. This action will have dire humanitarian consequences, and will exacerbate a situation already deteriorating due to Bashir’s expulsion of 13 critical NGOs in the wake of an issuance of a warrant for his arrest by the ICC.