Joint statement attributable to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, and the Representative of the UNHCR in Sudan, Mr. Kai Nielsen on the denying of permits to UNHCR international staff in Darfur [EN/AR]

Khartoum, 6 August 2013. The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, and the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Sudan, Mr. Kai Nielsen, regret that humanitarian activities for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur have had to be scaled down as a result of the non-renewal by the relevant Government authorities of permits for most of UNHCR’s international staff working in Darfur.

Of the 37 UNHCR international staff based in Darfur, only 17 currently have valid permits to continue their work. Permits in the other twenty cases have not been renewed, despite extended follow-up by UNHCR with the relevant Government authorities.

This has particularly affected UNHCR’s work in North Darfur. None of the UNHCR international staff based in El Fasher have been granted permits to return, with the last remaining staff having been asked to leave at short notice in early July. The result is that for over a month, UNHCR has been unable to effectively undertake protection and assistance activities for IDPs in North Darfur.

The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains critical both for long-term IDPs and for those who have been newly displaced as a result of recent fighting. The inability of UNHCR to continue implementing its activities 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 United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Sudan call on the Government of Sudan to renew the permits for all the UNHCR staff so as to allow UNHCR to fully resume its activities in Darfur.

For further information, please contact Damian Rance, Public Information Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan.
+249 912 392 562
rance@un.org

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