UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Sudan’s government has not renewed work permits for 20 of the 37 U.N. refugee agency staffers in the country, which has forced cutbacks in services to displaced people in Darfur, the United Nations said Tuesday.
The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said this particularly hit their work in North Darfur, where none of the U.N. staff had work permits renewed and they were abruptly asked to leave in early July.
“The result is that for over a month, UNHCR has been unable to effectively undertake protection and assistance activities” for homeless people in North Darfur, U.N. Resident and Humanitarian coordinator Ali Al-Za’tari and UNHCR Representative Kai Nielsen said in a joint statement issued in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.
The U.S. State Department later Tuesday characterized the withholding of work documents as an “expulsion.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, “This recent tightening of restrictions on humanitarian actors in Darfur, including U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations, raises serious concerns about the government of Sudan’s willingness to uphold the promises it made” in the Doha accords of 2011, adopted in Qatar, capping 2 1/2 years of negotiations with Sudan’s rebel groups.
The problem “raises questions regarding the viability of this peace accord,” she said.
Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, said later Tuesday that he was not yet aware of the issue.
Last week the U.N. Security Council expressed serious concern at Darfur’s deteriorating humanitarian situation and demanded an end to escalating violence.
The UNHCR says about 2 million people are homeless in Darfur, of whom 1.2 million live in camps. There have been almost 300,000 newly displaced people this year alone, including a third of them within and from North Darfur.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Tuesday in New York, “I think that the U.N. system, as whole, would be wanting to see movement on visas and permits.”
The UNHCR said the loss of work permits “will directly impact projects related to health, education, basic services and livelihoods, the provision of emergency shelter and non-food items, and on the verification of returnees.”
The refugee agency said it had recently distributed relief items such as sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, plastic sheeting and kitchen utensils to some 230,000 displaced people in Darfur.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier