Sudan

International Rescue Committee condemns bombing of peaceful village by Government of Sudan

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The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said today that it strongly condemns Sunday's bombing by the Government of Sudan of a peaceful village in southern Sudan. Four Sudanese civilians were killed, and five were injured.
Malual Kon, the attacked village, is far from the frontlines of the continuing civil war. The community has a population of 4,000 and is a well-established center for humanitarian operations. Five international relief agencies, including the IRC, are based there, along with two United Nations agencies-the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

Besides condemning the bombing of Malual Kon, the IRC is calling on the Government of Sudan to recognize its commitments and allow unimpeded access by relief organizations and U.N. agencies to the war-affected population of southern Sudan. At present, access is being denied to some 1.7 million Sudanese people in more than 40 locations in Western Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal. As a result, nearly 470,000 people, deprived of aid they would normally receive from the IRC and 45 other members of Operation Lifeline Sudan, face serious risk of starvation and death.

"This recent bombing and the continued denial of access represent a clear and extreme disregard for victims of the conflict and those people in immediate need of food and relief services," said John Keys, the IRC's acting vice president for overseas operations. In addition, he said, the Sudanese government is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and to the negotiated Tripartite Agreement for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance in Southern Sudan. "The government in Khartoum must recognize and adhere to its international commitments," Keys said.

The IRC urged the United States Government to hold the Sudanese government accountable to the agreed upon measures of U.S. peace envoy John Danforth's recent initiative, which called for "an end to aerial bombardment of civilian targets."

Finally, the IRC called on the U.S. Government, the international community and all donor governments that provide assistance to the people of Sudan to pressure the warring parties to seek a lasting and just peace, while simultaneously demanding an immediate, comprehensive lifting of the ban on humanitarian-aid flights and an end to bombing of all civilian targets.

The IRC, one of the world's leading refugee relief and resettlement agencies, has conducted aid operations in Sudan since 1981. The IRC currently provides emergency primary health care, water and sanitation services to the people of Malual Kon.