Sudan

MSF closes one team but remains active in southern Sudan

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Humanitarian organisations currently active in southern Sudan have been obliged to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the SRRA, the humanitarian branch of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). NGOs who have failed to sign by the March 1 deadline have been obliged to leave.
The SRRA stated that failure to sign meant NGOs would be in the country with no assurance of security for their staff or operations.

MSF is active in southern Sudan with a collection of four teams, all of whom had the option to choose whether or not to sign the MoU. Because one of the MSF teams felt there was undue pressure to sign, they have refused and have been obliged to evacuate from the SPLA held territory. Other MSF teams have chosen to sign and remain active in southern Sudan.

The priority for MSF has been in continuing to have access to the populations throughout southern Sudan. Signing the MoU does not restrict this right and international law is clear that the negotiation for humanitarian access supercedes all other agreements. Yet conditions in the MoU could allow for control over humanitarian assistance by the SRRA/SPLA.

The MoU is considered flawed by MSF. However the option of negotiation to find a point of reconcilation was not available given the March 1 deadline and one of the MSF teams was obliged to leave.

MSF is open to continuing the discussions on the contents of the MOU with SRRA/SPLA that would allow all MSF teams to once again be active in the region.