Sudan

Minister of International Development and Human Rights condemns the killing of humanitarian aid workers

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Minister of International Development and Human Rights Hilde F. Johnson strongly condemns the killing of humanitarian aid workers in southern Sudan.

"These killings are a totally unacceptable attack on individuals and organizations involved in humanitarian aid efforts. They serve merely to intensify the suffering of the civilian population in a country that has been ravaged by civil war for many years," said Ms. Johnson.

"I expect the warring parties to apprehend those responsible for this terrible deed and bring them to justice," said Ms. Johnson, who also expressed her deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed.

"This tragic incident underscores the need for all parties in a war zone to respect the safety of aid workers," said Ms. Johnson. "It demonstrates how important it is to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Sudan as soon as possible. A heavy responsibility lies with the parties - the Sudanese Government and the guerrilla movement the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) - when they resume their negotiations, which are scheduled to begin in Nairobi on 15 January.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today received the tragic news that eight local humanitarian aid workers were killed in southern Sudan on Thursday 13 January. Two of those killed were working for Norwegian Church Aid, one for the Africa Inland Church, three for the Episcopal Church in Sudan, and two for the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA). On Thursday, the eight aid workers were in a car near the border between Sudan and Uganda, on their way to investigate the humanitarian needs of refugees and internally displaced persons in the area, when they were attacked by unidentified soldiers at 17.30 local time. It is not yet clear who was responsible for the attack. At the beginning of January two people from Care International were killed in an attack in Bentiu in southern Sudan.

The Minister of International Development and Human Rights also called attention to the agreement that was recently signed between the authorities of Sudan and Uganda as a result of former President Carter's mediation efforts, and called on the authorities of these two countries to follow up the agreement in order to prevent such tragic incidents from happening in the future.

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 January 2000