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Holmes Announces Aid Agencies’ Return

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Holmes Announces Aid Agencies’ Return

Posted by Laura Heaton on June 12, 2009

Holmes Announces Aid Agencies' Return

The U.N.’s top humanitarian official, John Holmes, announced today that four of the international aid organizations expelled from Sudan in March would be allowed to resume operations in Darfur. In what seems like a face saving move by the Sudanese government, the agencies will have to assume new names, logos, and dispatch new teams, according to registration requirements made by Khartoum.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir kicked 16 aid agencies out of Sudan in retaliation for the International Criminal Court’s decision to charge him with crimes against humanity and war crimes. At the time, Bashir spoke of the move as an effort to “Sudanize” the aid delivery in the country and indicated that it was just the first step in pushing out all non-Sudanese aid agencies “within a year.” Prior to the expulsion, Darfur was the largest humanitarian aid operation in the world, with 4.7 million people dependent on aid.

The four international agencies that have been given the green light to return include: Care, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and Padco.

In today’s briefing, Holmes acknowledged that it would take some time before the four returning agencies would resume service delivery at full capacity; the Sudanese government seized the assets and equipment of the agencies it expelled, therefore they will have to restock before work can begin again.

Check back for more details as the story develops.