UNITED NATIONS — The humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate in the wake of Sudan’s decision to expel major foreign aid organizations from the country, a top United Nations official told the Security Council on Friday, with a majority of Council members sharply criticizing Khartoum for refusing to reverse its edict.
Critical areas of concern in Darfur include distribution of adequate food, water and medical care, as well as the safety of United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers who have been subject to stepped-up attacks, said the official, Rashid Khalikov, the director in New York for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“Our ability to help the people of Darfur and northern Sudan has been seriously compromised,” he said. “The current atmosphere of fear and uncertainty facing all aid organizations is affecting the assistance available to the people of Darfur.”
Western ambassadors uniformly criticized Sudan for its decision to expel 13 foreign aid organizations and close three local ones, which the country did after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced more than two weeks ago that it was indicting President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on war crimes charges.
Expressions of concern about the fate of about four million civilians in Darfur were universal from all 15 members of the Council. Even friends and neighbors of Sudan, like China, Uganda and Libya, which support a deferral of the court’s indictment, expressed concern about the impact of the expulsions.