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 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
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food