By Professor David Hoile

Published by The European - Sudanese Public Affairs Council

Chapter 3


It is strange to see that there is still the notion in the world that nothing is happening and we’re completely blocked from accessing Darfur. We are reaching some 800,000 people at the moment with some sort of assistance and food. Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, July 2004 [283] Most of the underserved areas remain rebel-held, many of which have not been accessible to UN agencies because of a series of security incidents and a delay in obtaining SLA agreement and understanding of humanitarian rules and principles laid out in agreements

United Nations Report, December 2004 [284]

There has been considerable sensationalism with regard to humanitarian aid access to Darfur. There have been attempts to claim that the government has been systematically denying humanitarian access to Darfur and Darfur’s war-affected communities. The reality is that ensuring humanitarian access to the war-affected communities while a political solution is sought is the single most important task facing both the Sudanese government and the international community. At the same time it is clear that a continuing humanitarian crisis, especially one in which aid workers cannot gain access to war-affected communities, is in the best interests of the rebel movements. It is now equally obvious that the rebel movement have not only been seeking to deny humanitarian access to government-controlled areas by attacks on aid workers– attacks which in turn result in aid agencies suspending activities in parts of Darfur – and by attacks on humanitarian aid convoys: they have also denying the international community access to rebel-controlled areas, thereby severely affected the very people they claim to protect. All of Sudanese government. Any study of the Darfur crisis must examine the aid issue in some depth. Humanitarian access to displaced communities in Darfur is essential in addressing the crisis. The international community must be aware of the extent to which emergency relief and food aid in such circumstances can and has been manipulated.

The Government of Sudan would appear to have acted responsibly with regard to humanitarian access to Darfur. The facts speak for themselves. In September 2003, the Government of Sudan and the SLA signed an agreement allowing “free and unimpeded” humanitarian access within Darfur. [285] In less than 12 months the Sudanese government had agreed and facilitated an increase in aid workers present in Darfur, from two foreigners and a few dozen nationals in September 2003, to just under 6,000 aid workers – over 700 of them expatriates – by August 2004. [286] By the end of 2004, there were 9,100 aid workers in Darfur. [287] The signing of the April 2004 ceasefire made it safer and thus much consequently easier for aid agencies to operate in Darfur. The UN 2004 end of year humanitarian action report stated that “much credit has to be given to the [government] Humanitarian Affairs Ministry whose officials worked tirelessly to enforce the provision of the Joint Communique of 3 July [guaranteeing access].” [288]

On 6 July 2004, the government issued 15 decrees which included measures to enhance security in Darfur; the establishment of police stations in displaced people camps; to facilitate the ceasefire commission and African Union monitoring force; to streamline the granting of visas for aid workers in Darfur; the exemption of all humanitarian aid imports from any restrictions, customs tariffs or personal fees; the repeal of measures regarding specifications on the humanitarian aid imports into Darfur; to facilitate freedom of movement for those working in the humanitarian aid organizations in Darfur; to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid to displaced people in Darfur; to exempt humanitarian aid from the health and medical regulations in Darfur; the exemption of agricultural inputs, fodders, and seeds in Darfur from any restrictions, customs tariffs or personal fees; exemption from import restrictions of humanitarian aid imports into Darfur; to activate the measures regarding the governments of the Darfur states to guarantee the flow of humanitaria aid and humanitarian aid imports into Darfur and to encourage the return of the displaced to their villages; and to facilitate the work of the fact-finding commission in regard to the allegations of human rights violations committed by armed groups in Darfur.

As of October 2004, there were 155 locations assisting with internally displaced people in the three Darfur states, and the World Food Programme is present in 136 of these centres. [289] There are now dozens of international and national non-governmental organisations working in Darfur. [290] Speaking in June 2004, the outgoing UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Mr Kevin Kennedy, confirmed that visas were generally being granted within 48 hours – as promised by the Government of Sudan – and that “people are experiencing very few visa difficulties”. [291] That there have been propagandistic attempts to claim that the government was deliberately blocking access to Darfur by aid workers is apparent. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Jan Egeland, speaking in July 2004, commented on some of these claims. He said: “It is strange to see that there is still the notion in the world that nothing is happening and we’re completely blocked from accessing Darfur. We are reaching some 800,000 people at the moment with some sort of assistance and food.” [292] By September 2004, the World Food Programme was feeding some 940,000 conflict-affected people in Darfur. [293] The presence of several thousand aid workers in Darfur provides clear evidence of the Khartoum government’s commitment to the provision of food and medical relief to Darfur’s war-affected communities.

The international community must be aware of the extent to which humanitarian issues can be manipulated for political effect. [294] For rebels a humanitarian crisis is a no-lose situation. A humanitarian crisis always reflects badly on the government in the country affected. And a humanitarian crisis is something which can be created and deepened. One of the goals of most insurgencies is to internationalise the conflict to which they are a party. One of the easiest means of doing so is toprovoke a humanitarian crisis. This is precisely what the Darfur rebels succeeded in doing. Merely starting the war in Darfur initiated a humanitarian crisis in western Sudan. The escalation of the conflict and the government’s response to it led to a deepening crisis and considerable displacement of populations – a feature of most wars. The rebels, however, have deliberately sought to heighten the humanitarian crisis they created by starting the war by additionally seeking to escalate food insecurity knowing full well that this would be the focus of immediate international attention. As early as July 2003, for example, the UN news service reported on rebel attempts to disrupt food security in the affected areas: “SLA rebels regularly attacked and looted villages taking food and sometimes killing people…The attacks present a real threat to people’s food security and livelihoods, by preventing them from planting and accessing markets to buy food.” [295]

The provision of humanitarian relief such as food aid and medical supplies has historically also been a bonus to rebel movements. Firstly, international access impinges upon the national sovereignty of the country concerned, a net propaganda victory for anti-government forces as it brings with it international attention. Secondly, international agencies provide food and emergency supplies which help to sustain communities within rebel-controlled areas and can often be diverted by rebel forces. It was widely acknowledged, for example, that vast amounts of food aid were diverted during the war in southern Sudan. In July 1998, in one instance, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the starvationaffected diocese of Rumbek, Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari, stated that the SPLA were stealing 65 percent of the food aid going into rebel-held areas of southern Sudan. Agence France Presse also reported that:“ Much of the relief food going to more than a million famine victims in rebel-held areas of southern Sudan is ending up in the hands of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), relief workers said.” [296] It is also clear that rebel forces in Darfur are also directly misappropriating food aid and equipment stolen from relief agencies. This is a point made by humanitarian aid expert, Professor Sarah Kenyon Lischer. Interviewed in January 2005, she noted that: “Recently, the World Food Program has had over a dozen of its trucks hijacked. And the aid that was on t hose trucks has been stolen. The trucks reportedly have been repainted and used for military purposes by the rebels. And so that’s just a very obvious way that aid can be used for war.” [297] This had happened was confirmed by the United Nations: “The United Nations said it was also concerned about reports that Darfur-based rebel forces have stolen 13 commercial all terrain trucks leased to WFP and loaded with food in the last two weeks. These thefts are in addition to multiple losses of commercial and aid agency vehicles to armed groups in recent months, [the UN said]. More alarming are reports that the rebel group that stole them may now be using some of these trucks for military purposes, it said.” [298] The UN Sudan Envoy Jan Pronk stated: “Such misuses of humanitarian assets should cease immediately. All trucks and other equipment taken by armed groups from humanitarian organizations should be returned without delay so that relief operations are not hindered further.” [299]

The rebels have, from the earliest days of the insurgency, sought to escalate humanitarian access difficulties by deliberately targeting aid workers. They murdered nine World Food Programme truck drivers, and wounded 14 others, in an attack on a relief convoy in October 2003. [300] All this followed a set pattern by rebels in other parts of Sudan, tactics which have previously succeeded in creating a humanitarian crisis in southern Sudan. The veteran American journalist Robert Kaplan noted, for example: “On June 1, 1986, twelve Kenyan truck drivers bringing food into the south from the Ugandan border town of Nimule were ambushed…The drivers were bound by ropes to their steering wheels, and then grenades were lobbed at the trucks. This put a virtual halt to the 90,000 tons had been delivered.” [301]

In November 2003 the Government accused rebels in Darfur of killing two of its relief workers and abducting three others in an attack on an aid convoy. Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Sulaf Eddin Salih said his government is worried about the “continued” rebel attacks which he said“ threaten the humanitarian operations and result in losing human lives and worsening the humanitarian situation”. He appealed to the international community to intervene to halt and denounce the“ repeated” armed operations on the humanitarian assistance convoys. [302]

Put quite simply, insecurity severely curtails humanitarian aid access. In the words of a UN humanitarian relief spokesman: “You can’t give aid when there are bullets flying.” [303] In January 2004, for example, UN media sources reported that “about 85 percent of the 900,000 waraffected people in Darfur…are inaccessible to humanitarian aid…mainly because of insecurity.” [304] In December 2003, the UN quoted the Government as saying “The problem is in areas controlled by the SLM. Our experience has made us hesitant to send relief to areas under the SLM because of kidnapping and attacks on trucks.” [305] In October 2003, in the wake of the above-mentioned attacks, the United States government asked the Sudanese government for help with security and access. [306] One month later, rebel gunmen killed two other relief workers and abducted three others. [307] Rebels have also kidnapped other relief workers. In a further example of interference with humanitarian work, JEM gunmen admitted abducting five aid workers working for the Swiss humanitarian group Medair. [308]

On 11 February 2004, JEM declared its intention to close down every road within Darfur. It would have been aware of the devastating consequences this would have on the ability of the government and aid agencies (national and international) to provide emergency assistance to those communities suffering in Darfur. This was at precisely the same time, in February 2004, as the United Nations high commissioner for refugees warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur. Médecins Sans Frontières had also warned that there was not enough food or water in the desert region. [309]

In February 2004, the state minister at the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Mohammed Youssef Moussa, commented on an attack on Save the Children: “It is true that (the rebels) have started causing damage and today, in particular, they planted a land mine near the town of Ambro that went off, wounding a lorry driver and his assistant. The lorry was carrying medical supplies and belonged to Save the Children Fund-UK. So if this is what they are talking about, then they are...abandoning all humanitarian principles.” [310]

In early January 2004 the Sudanese government said its troops were trying to secure deliveries of humanitarian aid to people caught up in the Darfur conflict. The ministry of humanitarian affairs said a government delegation had completed a nine-day tour of West and South Darfur states during which it had examined the obstacles hindering the delivery of assistance to parts of the region. The ministry stated that the obstacles included insecurity and instability. The delegation said the government armed forces “are working to tighten their grip on the situation” which would ease the delivery of relief supplies to some areas. The delegation instructed the offices of the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Darfur to speed up distribution of relief supplies. [311]

On 10 February 2004, the United Nations said that aid access had improved within Darfur. The UN spokesman for the humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Ben Parker, stated: “There are signs and indications that we will be able to reach more places in the coming weeks and the government is assuring us that the access situation will improve”. The government had told aid agencies that it had opened 10 new corridors in Darfur for relief convoys to move through. [312] The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, described the agreement with the Sudanese government to provide improved aid access to Darfur as a breakthrough. [313] As part of the UN-government agreement, on 18 February 2004, the UN announced that a 13-person UN logistical team arrived in Darfur to assess humanitarian needs in the area. The team would assess aid requirements in the cities of Nyala, al-Geneina and al- Fasher as UN agencies work to deliver and pre-position food, water and medical supplies for around 250,000 displaced people. [314]

Rebel attacks on relief convoys continued. A senior UN official in Sudan stated in February 2004 that rebels have made it too dangerous to take aid into parts of Darfur. Aid convoys were still being attacked by armed groups. The spokesman also cited the danger of landmines.” [315] In March 2004, the Sudanese government held rebels responsible for blocking deliveries of humanitarian aid in Darfur. Deputy Foreign Minister al-Tigani Salih Fidhail said: “The armed groups constitute the main obstacle to the delivery of relief in Darfur.” He called on the international community to hold the rebels “fully responsible”. [316]

A high-level UN humanitarian assessment mission, under the leadership of World Food Programme Executive Director James Morris, visited Darfur in late April 2004. Rebel attacks on aid workers continued. At the same time the SLA attacked a humanitarian convoy, killing a traditional leader of the Zaghawa, Abdel Rahman Mohammain, who was leading it. [317] The International Crisis Group noted continuing rebel obstruction in May 2004: “The SLA issued several statements in the first half of May to the effect that it will refuse to allow into areas it controls any humanitarian relief that originates in government-controlled areas - where most UN and international NGOs are based.” [318]

In early June 2004, Associated Press reported the abduction by rebels of 16 aid workers. Those kidnapped worked for the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children UK, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nation’s World Food Programme, UNICEF, the Norwegian Refugee Council, ECHO, the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission, and Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission. They were stopped while were conducting assessments to prepare the way for delivery of relief assistance for displaced people in the vicinity of Al Hilief in North Darfur despite driving vehicles clearly bearing the UN insignia. [319] They were eventually released by the rebels. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, condemned the detention and delayed release of the 16 aid workers as “totally unacceptable” and “contradicts solemn promises” made by the SLA. Egeland said that “Too much time has already been lost in this race against the clock to save more than a million lives threatened by indiscriminate violence, starvation and disease.” The UN stated that “[t]he incident not only threatened the safety and security of humanitarian workers, but has interrupted and delayed aid to desperately needy civilians in Darfur.” [320]

On 8 June 2004, Agence France Presse reported that rebels had seized nine trucks loaded with relief items, medicines and tents on the road between Nyala and al-Fasher. The rebels abducted four of the drivers and beat a fifth one. [321] Later that month, rebels attacked a humanitarian relief convoy in Darfur, stealing 57 tons of UN food aid. Ibrahim Hamid, the minister of humanitarian affairs, said: “These types of rebel action are the most serious threat to the humanitarian and security situation.” [322]

In the first week of July, the SLA attacked 26 aid workers, working for Save the Children UK, delivering emergency assistance in northern Darfur. They also stole six vehicles and a large amount of cash. On 13 July 2004, the British government publicly urged Sudanese rebels to return the stolen vehicles. [323] It was reported on 12 July 2004 that rebels had attacked several towns in north Darfur. These had included Al Liayet, Al Towaisha and Um Keddada. Several civilians had been killed, and a judge and bank manager had been kidnapped. The government of North Darfur stated that there had been over 50 rebel violations of the Ndjamena ceasefire agreement. [324] At about the same time rebel militias were also accused of kidnapping 32 children during attacks on several villages. [325]

There were a number of systematic rebel attacks on aid workers in August 2004. The African Union confirmed that, on 22 August, SLA forces had abducted humanitarian affairs workers on their way to a meeting in the Abgaragil area, and that on 23 August rebels had abducted medical aid workers engaged in an inoculation campaign in Kutum. [326] At the end of August 2004, Darfur rebels abducted six aid workers in north Darfur. Three were from the World Food Programme and three from the Sudanese Red Crescent. WFP condemned the targeting of humanitarian workers. WFP Senior Deputy Executive Director Jean-Jacques Graisse said that WFP was “delighted that our people, as well as those working for the Sudanese Red Crescent, have been freed unharmed. This is not, however, the first time that humanitarian workers have been targeted in Darfur. At a time when all agencies are battling the rainy season, poor infrastructure and an unpredictable security environment to deliver desperately needed humanitarian assistance, this kind of incident can only further worsen the plight of the needy in Darfur. We call upon all armed groups in the region to stop targeting those involved in humanitarian work and allow them to do their duty without fear of intimidation. Any continuation or escalation of incidents such as the one just resolved is likely to have farreaching consequences for the relief operation.” [327] On 31 August 2004, JEM gunmen detained 22 Sudanese health workers near Nyala in south Darfur. [328] In late August, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Manuel Aranda da Silva, stated that he was encouraged by Sudan’s actions to improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [329]

In October 2004, the Sudanese government’s chief negotiator at Abuja, Dr Majzoub al-Khalifa, warned that the rebels were seeking to worsen affairs in Darfur: “They need to stimulate all these governments and all these organizations on their side by making the situation worse on the ground.” [330] October also saw rebel threats to kill aid workers. [331] A SLA landmine killed two Save the Children Fund workers in Darfur. Two other Save the Children workers, one British and one Sudanese, were killed in October by a landmine laid by SLA rebels. [332] The United Nations special envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk unambiguously confirmed rebel involvement in these deaths: “It was the rebels who are responsible for attacking relief workers and convoys, they are responsible for…landmines which killed two relief workers.” [333]

That same month, the United Nations reported that “UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York that the operations of humanitarian agencies in North Darfur State have become limited because some roads remain closed to them. Other areas have become dangerous for transporting aid supplies. Last Saturday, forces from the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) hijacked seven commercial trucks on a road about 120 kilometres east of the state capital El Fasher.” [334] A spokeswoman for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) stated that “[t]he repeated ceasefire violations of the past month have had a very serious impact on the UN’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance to affected populations.” [335]

In mid-November 2004, the United Nations said that nearly 200,000 needy people, especially in the mountainous Jebel Marra area in central Darfur and the northern part of North Darfur, had been cut off from relief aid because of escalating violence. The German press agency reported: “The U.N. said tension in the region had risen as rebel groups, in particular the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), had increased their operations in an apparent attempt to claim more territory.” The Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Manuel Aranda da Silva, said an estimated 150,000 people have been driven from their homes due to the escalating violence during the past month. The UN also reported several attacks on buses and aid convoys around Darfur. Travellers had been abducted and even killed and vehicles looted by the attackers. [336] By the end of November, The New York Times was reporting that the rebels had been “sharply ratcheting up attacks” which in turn was preventing relief work. [337]

In November 2004 the rebels were accused of attacking a joint WHO/Ministry of Health medical team. One doctor was killed and four other health workers were injured. The team was also robbed. [338] In the same month both the Dublin-based GOAL aid agency and the Spanish branch of Médecins Sans Frontières were forced to withdraw their staff from the Jebel Marra area in central Darfur after “repeated” rebel acts of aggression targeting the humanitarian personnel and the relief supplies intended for people in need. [339] Both MSF and GOAL complained that rebels had attacked their vehicles. [340] On 27 November 2004, The New York Times revealed the degree of rebel obstruction of aid delivery and aid workers: “On the ground, many aid workers, too fearful of giving their names for fear of jeopardizing their work, say that rebel officials have made unreasonable demands on aid groups operating in their territory, at one point insisting on a certain number of expatriates to accompany Sudanese staff, whom rebels distrust as potential government spies. Aid workers have also been detained in rebel territory in recent months.” [341]

Amnesty International noted a similar pattern of rebel activity: “over the past two months, a number of World Food Program commercial trucks have been attacked in South Darfur.” [342] It also noted that: “After Sudan Liberation Army forces reportedly hijacked seven commercial trucks east of al-Fasher on 23 October, the road between al-Fasher and Um Kedada in North Darfur was closed and has only just been re-opened. Because of heavy fighting in the area, the road between al-Fasher and Kutum remains a no-go zone.”

In early December, The Christian Science Monitor confirmed the results of rebel action: “[R]ecently they’ve stepped up attacks and have even looted international aid convoys. The violence adds to the instability – and to aid groups’ growing inability to help the displaced millions.” [343] Two Save the Children aid workers, members of a mobile medical clinic, were murdered by rebels on 12 December 2004. They were deliberately shot dead in an attack on an aid convoy. The director of Save the Children’s international operations said: “We deplore this brutal killing of humanitarian workers in Darfur.” The charity said its vehicles were clearly marked as belonging to Save the Children. [344] The African Union and United Nations confirmed the SLA’s responsibility for the deaths of the aid workers. In addition to the murdered aid workers, one other worker was injured and three are missing. African Union officer Nigerian Major-General Festus Okonkwo stated: “SLA was involved in the attack as two Land Rovers belonging to Save the Children (UK) were recovered from [the] SLA camp in Jurof.” [345] Rebel involvement in the murders was established by the UN. [346] In mid- December the United Nations suspended aid operations in South Darfur in December in the wake of these murders. [347] The Guardian reported that an aid worker was shot on the same road in the summer but survived.The UN Envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said of the rebel attacks and interference with aid deliveries: “They have to stop. Otherwise they are blocking access to the very people they say they are protecting.” [348] In December 2004, Sudan’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Mohamed Yusif Abdallah, made the obvious point that “[w]here the rebels create insecurity, it is not the government denying access.” [349] The United Nations Darfur Humanitarian Profile released in December 2004 has stated, for example, that: “Despite prevailing insecurity in the three Darfur States, 79% of Darfur conflict affected population is currently accessible to UN humanitarian workers. Most of the underserved areas remain rebel-held, many of which have not been accessible to UN agencies because of a series of security incidents and a delay in obtaining SLA agreement and understanding of humanitarian rules and principles laid out in agreements.” [350] [Emphasis added] The rebels are endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians already malnourished and badly affected by the conflict in Darfur.

On 15 December 2004, the United Nations reported further rebel attacks on food aid convoys: “WFP reports that food distribution has been seriously disrupted by ongoing insecurity. On 18 December 2004, the SLA detained a total of 13 trucks. Five of them were released on the same day but the rest were kept until 21 Dec…the disruption affected food distribution in Marla and Sania Fundu. Food assistance has also been halted in Labado, Al Juruf, Muhujarija, Khor Abechi, Manawashi, Mershing, Rokero and Gildo Labado.” [351]

On 22 December 2004, The New York Times has also reported that:“ The chaotic situation in Darfur has hampered the work of agencies trying to reach the estimated 2.3 million people who rely on aid to survive. Aid organizations in the region say rebels have been attacking convoys carrying aid and goods along the road between Nyala and El Fasher, where two Save the Children UK workers were killed recently.” [352]

Ongoing rebel attacks, particularly that on the market town of Ghubaysh on 27 December, had disastrous effects on the delivery of food aid to affected communities. The United Nations noted

The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended food convoys to the Darfur States following a large scale attack yesterday by rebel forces on the market town of Ghubaysh…WFP has halted three convoys of seventy trucks carrying more than 1,300 MT of WFP food aid destined for El Fasher and Nyala…this recent insecurity has cut off assistance to some 260,000 people who will miss their December rations in the South Darfur as well as eastern parts of West Darfur…Notably, it is the second attack by the SLA since 19
December when the Government of Sudan agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities. This latest insecurity has serious consequences for the UN and NGOs operations in Darfur, as it effectively blocks overland access from central Sudan to the Darfur region. This has a particular impact on WFP’s provision of lifesaving food aid, as it must rely heavily on road deliveries to support its Darfur humanitarian operation. The United Nations is also concerned about reports that Darfur-based rebel movement forces
have stolen in the last two weeks thirteen commercial all terrain trucks leased to WFP, loaded with urgently required WFP food commodities for the affected people of Darfur dedicated to the transportation of food aid to Darfur…The latest thefts are in addition to multiple losses of commercial and aid agency vehicles to armed groups in recent months. More alarming are reports that the rebel groups that stole them may now [be] using some of these trucks for military purposes. [353]

A World Food Programme spokeswoman said: “The attacks followed a week of insecurity in Darfur and this has caused difficulties, in terms of providing assistance. It will delay urgently required food for 260,000 people in South Darfur and the eastern parts of West Darfur.” [354] UNAMIS noted that the rebel attack on Ghubaysh was “the second carried out by the rebels since 19 December, when the Sudanese government agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities”. The UN Envoy to Sudan concluded: “The problems of Darfur cannot be solved through military means. The parties to the conflict have to live up to their commitments, including their responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their own people and their unhindered access to humanitarian assistance.” [355]

The rebels’ murder of aid workers has had the desired effect – the intensification of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur with the ultimate aim of forcing some sort of military intervention. It has gone hand-in-hand with the SLA’s deliberate breaking of ceasefire agreements with attacks in northern Darfur. This precipitated the current humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Associated Press reported that: “The United Nations has condemned a rebel attack in Darfur province, saying it violates a ceasefire agreement and jeopardises the lives of tens of thousands of people who will not receive aid because of the fighting.” [356] The international community has roundly condemned these rebel actions. [357] These systematic rebel attacks have placed hundreds of thousands of waraffected communities in danger of starvation. The Director of Save the Children UK, Mike Aaronson, stated that: “We are devastated that we are unable to continue to offer health care, nutritional support, child protection and education to the approximately 250,000 children and family members served by our current programs. However, we just cannot continue to expose our staff to the unacceptable risks they face as they go about their humanitarian duties in Darfur.” [358]

Erwin Van Der Borght, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Africa programme, has also noted the effect of rebel attacks: “Attacks knowingly and intentionally directed against personnel involved in humanitarian assistance in armed conflict may constitute war crimes. Insecurity within Darfur hinders movement to whole districts, so that food, medicine and other non-food items can not be brought in. This increases enormously the sufferings of an already vulnerable population.” Amnesty International noted that “After such attacks, the district or road is likely to be declared a no-go area for international humanitarian staff for several days” and pointed out that it stopped aid reaching “thousands” of displaced people. [359]

On 31 December 2004, The Daily Telegraph reported on SLA attacks in December had “forced the United Nations to suspend supply convoys into Darfur”: “The SLA attacks seemed to be designed to isolate Darfur. The rebels struck police stations in the town of Ghibaish and al-Majrour in the neighbouring province of West Kordofan, killing 99 people. The ensuing battle closed Darfur’s main communication artery.” [360]

In his January 2005 report on Darfur, the United Nations Secretary- General reported on what he termed a “new trend” in the pattern of attacks on, and harassment of, international aid workers: “While previous incidents have only been aimed at looting supplies and goods, December has seen acts of murder and vicious assaults on staff, forcing some agencies to leave Darfur.” [361] The Secretary-General’s February 2005 assessment of the preceding six month period with regard to the rebel movements was also bleak: “Their attacks on police have increased and often seemed intended to invite retaliation. These attacks and provocation have at times indirectly impaired humanitarian access. Some rebel groups have directly impeded humanitarian work by looting cars and trucks and putting pressure on, or even abducting national staff of humanitarian organizations. Many of these actions have severely reduced delivery of assistance.” [362]


283 “Interview with UN’s Jan Egeland on the Situation in Darfur”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Nairobi, 5 July 2004.
284 “Press Briefing”, Office of the Spokesman, United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan, 15 December 2004.
285 “Agreement Reached Allowing Humanitarian Access to Darfur Region of Sudan”, Press Release by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York, 17 September 2003.
286 Figures provided by the UN press office, Khartoum.
287 Darfur Humanitarian Profile, Number 10, United Nations, Khartoum, 1 January 2005.
288 Darfur 120-Day Plan Report September to December 2004, Office of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for the Sudan, Khartoum, January 2005, pp.2-3.
289 “Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency Fact Sheet Number 24”, US Agency for International Development, 1 October 2004.
290 These include the following. United Nations agencies: WFP (World Food Programme); WHO (World Health Organisation); UNFAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation); OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs); OHCHR (UN High Commissioner for Humanitarian
Affairs); UNDP (UN Development Programme); UNFPA (UN Population Fund); UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees); UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund); UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organisation); UNMAS (UN Emergency Mine Protection Programme Sudan). Non
Government Organisations in Darfur: ACF (Administration for Children and Families): ACTED (Agency for technical cooperation and development): ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency): Action Against Hunger; AHA: Air Serve: AMDA: ARC: CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development); CAM; CARE; CESVI (cooperazione e sviluppo/Cooperation and Development); CHF International; COOPI (Cooperazione Internazional); Concern; Cordaid; Memisa/Mensen in Nood en Vasten Aktie; COSV (Comitato di Coordinanemento Delle Organizazione per il Servizio Volontrario); Christian Aid; CRS (Catholic Relief Services); Danish Refugee Council; DED (Deutsche Entwicklungs Dienst); Die Johanniter; Emergency; EMDH (Enfants du Monde Droits de l’Homme, Droits de l’Enfant); Feed the Children; Food for the Hungry; GAA (German Agro Action); Global Hope Network International; GOAL; Help the Aged International; Humedica (Humanitarian medics); IDRB; IMC (International Medical Corps); International Aid Services; Intersos (Mine Action); IRC (International Rescue Committee); Islamic Relief Worldwide; ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group); Leprosy mission; MDM; Medair; MercyCorps; Mercy Malaysia; Merlin (International Relief Organisation for Medical Emergencies); Médecins Sans Frontières – Belgium; Médecins Sans Frontières – Switzerland; Médecins Sans Frontières – France; Médecins Sans Frontières – Holland; Médecins Sans Frontières – Spain; NCA; NRC; One Earth; Oxfam; Plan Sudan; Relief International; Safe Harbour; Saudi Red Crescent; Save the Children – Sweden; Save the Children – UK; Save the Children – US; Spanish Red Cross; Solidarites; Samaritan’s Purse; Tearfund; Terres Des Hommes; THW (Technisches Hilfs Werk); Triangle; UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief); World Concern; World Relief; World Vision.
291 “Interview with Kevin Kennedy, Outgoing Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Nairobi, 23 June 2004.
292 “Interview with UN’s Jan Egeland on the Situation in Darfur”, News Article by UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Nairobi, 5 July 2004.
293 “Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency Fact Sheet Number 24”, US Agency for International Development, 1 October 2004.
294 See, for example, “Sudanese Darfur Rebels Block Aid Pact”, News Article by Reuters, 26 October 2004 and “Darfur rebels threaten humanitarian aid workers”, News Article by UPI, 23 October 2004.
295 “Widespread Insecurity Reported in Darfur”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 30 July 2003.
296 “Aid for Sudan Ending Up With SPLA: Relief Workers”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 21 July 1998.
297 “Darfur – War or Humanitarian Crisis?”, News Report by Voice of America, 5 January 2005.
298 “U.N. Agency Suspends Food Convoys to Sudan”, News Article by Associated Press, 29 December 2004.
299 Ibid.
300 “Workers in Sudan Aid Convoy Killed”, News Article by BBC News, 28 October 2003.
301 Robert D. Kaplan, Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea, Vintage Books, New York, 2003, p.190.
302 “Sudanese Government Accuses Rebels of Murdering its Relief Workers”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 17 November 2003.
303 “Aid Workers Unable to Reach Most War Zones in Darfur, Western Sudan”, News Article by Deutsche Presse Agentur, 13 January 2004.
304 “Authorities Forcibly Close IDP Camps in Southern Darfur”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 16 January 2004.
305 “Feature - Death and Destruction in Darfur”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 11 December 2003.
306 “USAID Seeks Security for Aid Convoys to War-Torn Area of Sudan”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 26 October 2003.
307 “Sudanese Government Accuses Rebels of Murdering its Relief Workers”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 17 November 2003.
308 “Rebel Faction Admits Abducting Relief Workers in Sudan”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 20 November 2003.
309 “Relief Organisations Warn of Humanitarian Catastrophe in west Sudan”, News Article by Deutsche Press Agentur, 17 February 2004.
310 “Government Opens Corridors to Deliver Aid to Rebellion-hit Darfur”, News Article by Associated Press, 12 February 2004.
311 “Sudan Says Trying to Secure Access for Relief to Darfur Region”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 January 2004.
312 “UN Said Access to Sudan’s War-torn West Improves”, News Article by Reuters, 10 February 2004.
313 “UN Hails Sudan’s Agreement to let Aid Workers in Troubled Darfur Region”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 10 February 2004.
314 “UN Says Aid Team in Sudan’s Troubled Darfur Region!, News Article by Agence France Presse, 18 February 2004.
315 “Western Sudan Too Dangerous for Road Convoys”, News Article by UPI, 17 February 2004.
316 “Khartoum Blames Darfur Rebels for Blocking Aid”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 24 March 2004
317 “Sudan says Darfur Rebels Attack Relief Convoys, Denounce Ceasefire Violation”, Sudan News Agency, 29 April 2004.
318 Sudan Now or Never, International Crisis Group, Africa Report No 80, Brussels, 21 May 2004.
319 “Rebel Group Abducts 16 Relief Workers in Sudan’s Darfur Region”, News Article by Associated Press, 5 June 2004.
320 “Top UN Relief Official Welcomes Release of Aid Workers, Calls Their Detention ‘Totally Unacceptable’”, Press Statement by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Geneva, 6 June 2004.
321 “Rebels Commandeer Relief Trucks in Sudan’s Darfur Region”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 8 June 2004.
322 “Sudan’s Govt Accuses Darfur Rebels of Attacking FAO Food Convoy”, News Article by Associated Press, 30 June 2004.
323 “Sudanese Rebels Urged to Return Vehicles Seized from British Charity”, News Article by Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 13 July 2004.
324 “Rebels Attack Towns in North Darfur”, News Article by Sudan Vision (Khartoum), 12 July 2004.
325 “Sudanese Militia Kidnap 32 Children in Darfur”, News Article by Middle East News Agency, 11 July 2004.
326 Report of the Ceasefire Commission on the Situation in Darfur, African Union, Addis Ababa, 4 October 2004.
327 “Abducted WFP Staff Released By Rebels in Darfur”, Press Release by World Food Programme, Rome, 1 September 2004.
328 Ibid.
329 “Darfur Disarmament Plan Laid Out”, News Article by Reuters, 22 August 2004.
330 “New Guerilla Factions Snarl Sudan Peace Talks”, The New York Times, 26 October 2004.
331 “Darfur rebels threaten humanitarian aid workers”, News Article by UPI, 23 October 2004.
332 “UN Envoy Blames Darfur Rebels for Deaths of Aid Officials”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 28 October 2004.
333 “UN envoy blames Darfur rebels for deaths of aid officials”, New Article by Agence France Presse, 27 October 2004.
334 “Humanitarian Aid in Sudan Limited By Insecurity, Road Closures, Says UN Mission”, News Article by UN News Service (New York), 27 October 2004.
335 “UN Envoy Blames Rebels for Continuing Insecurity in Darfur”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 29 October 2004.
336 “U.N. says 200,000 Denied Aid as a Result of Darfur Violence”, News Article by Deutsche Press Agentur, 14 November 2004.
337 “Despite Pact, New Violence Stymies Aid in Sudan”, The New York Times, 28 November 2004.
338 “Doctor Killed, Four Injured in Sudan’s Darfur”, News Article by Al-Rai Al-Amm (Khartoum), 8 November 2004.
339 See, for example, “Foreign Aid Groups Flee Rebel Attacks in Sudan’s Darfur: Report”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 November 2004.
340 “MSF Spain flees rebel attacks in Sudan's Darfur”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 November 2004.
341 “Fresh Violence Engulfs Darfur”, The New York Times, 27 November 2004.
342 “Armed Groups Must Stop Targeting Civilians and Humanitarian Convoys”, Press Release by Amnesty International, 3 November 2004.
343 “Moral Clarity Blurs in Darfur Crisis”, The Christian Science Monitor (Boston), 10 December 2004. See also, “Crisis in Sudan’s Darfur Deepens as New Violence Prevents Food Deliveries”, News Article by Knight Ridder Newspapers, 23 November 2004 and “16 Killed in Darfur, Humanitarian Aid Road Closed: UN Spokesman”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 17 November 2004.
344 “Staff Murders Stop Aid Work in South Darfur”, The Guardian (London), 14 December 2004.
345 “Arms Pouring into Darfur, Officials Say: African Union Calls Region a ‘Time Bomb’”, News Article by Reuters, 17 December 2004.
346 “UN Points at Rebels for Darfur Aid Workers’ Death”, News Article by Reuters, 15 December 2004.
347 “UN Suspends Aid Operations in South Darfur after Killings: Two Workers Fatally Shot in Convoy Attack”, News Article by Associated Press, 14 December 2004.
348 “Rebel Attacks Raise Insecurity Cuts Darfur Refugees Off From Aid”, The Washington Post, 21 November 2004.
349 “Sudan Expects Darfur Peace Settlement in Two Months: Minister”, News Article by Agence France Presse, 7 December 2004.
350 “Press Briefing”, Office of the Spokesman, United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan, 15 December 2004.
351 “United Nations Darfur Situation Report”, Khartoum, 21 December 2004
352 “Sudan and Rebels Suspend Peace Talks, as Aid Group Withdraws”, The New York Times, 22 December 2004.
353 “Fighting in Ghubaysh Hinders Humanitarian Assistance”, Press Release by Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan, Khartoum, 28 December 2004.
354 “Clashes Force WFP to Suspend Food Convoys to Darfur”, News Article by Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 29 December 2004.
355 Ibid.
356 “UN condemns Sudan rebel attacks in Darfur, calls for halt to all fighting”, News Article by Associated Press, 24 November 2004.
357 See, for example, “U.N. envoy, Britain blame rebels for renewed fighting in Darfur; World Food Program pulls out”, 25 November 2004; “World should hold Darfur rebels accountable - UN's Pronk”, News Article by Reuters, 25 November 2004.
358 “British Aid Agency Quits Sudan’s Darfur”, News Article by Reuters, 21 December 2004.
359 “Armed groups must stop targeting civilians and humanitarian convoys”, Press Release by Amnesty International, 3 November 2004.
360 “Rebel Raids Block UN Aid to Darfur”, The Daily Telegraph (London), 31 December 2004.
361 Report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Sudan Pursuant to Paragraphs 6, 13 and 16 of Security Council Resolution 1556 (2004), Paragraph 15 of Resolution 1564 (2004) and Paragraph 1574 (2004), S/2005/10, United Nations, New York, January 2005.
362 Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan pursuant to paragraphs 6, 13 and 16 of Security Council resolution 1556 of 30 July 2004, paragraph 15 of Security Council resolution 1564 of 19 September 2004, and paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 1574 of 18 November 2004, S/2005/68, United Nations, New York, 5 February 2005.



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