United Nations Secretary-General has today condemned the Government of Sudan’s decision to expel two senior UN officials from the embattled nation.
Ordered to leave the country are UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ali Al-Za’tari, and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Yvonne Helle.
The Secretary-General called on the Government of Sudan to reverse its decision immediately and urged it to cooperate fully with all UN entities currently present in the country.
Sudan’s decision to expel UN personnel comes amid a worsening security climate and dire humanitarian crisis in the Sudanese region, with ramped-up hostilities between Government forces and armed movements.
Briefing the UN Security Council on the situation earlier this month, Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), had urged Council Members to rethink their approach to the crisis in Darfur and fully pursue those individuals deemed responsible for atrocities.
ICC Judges had already concluded that certain individuals in Sudan must be brought to the Court to answer charges, including Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, for whom a warrant of arrest had been issued, Ms. Bensouda stressed as she briefed the Council on 12 December 2014.
However, until the Council applied “a dramatic shift” to its approach to arresting Darfur suspects, it would be increasingly difficult for her and the ICC to continue doing their work.
“Given this Council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases, especially those in which trial is approaching. It should thus be clear to this Council that unless there is a change of attitude and approach to Darfur in the near future, there shall continue to be little or nothing to report to you for the foreseeable future.”
The ICC Prosecutor added, not only was the situation in Darfur deteriorating, but the brutality with which crimes are being committed there has become “more pronounced.” In particular, she warned that women and girls were continuing to bear the “brunt of sustained attacks.”
According to UN estimates, the number of people displaced by conflict has increased to more than 430,000 since the beginning of the year, with close to 300,000 remaining displaced in addition to the more than two million long-term internally displaced persons, or IDPs.