Sudan says Red Cross worked ‘outside’ mandate

AFP-JIJI

Sudan on Sunday said it suspended activities of the international Red Cross because it violated guidelines for working in the war-torn country.

“We observe that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is doing activities outside of its mandate under international law and the agreement with the government of Sudan,” said a statement from Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, which confirmed it suspended ICRC’s activities as of Feb. 1.

It is the latest restriction on foreign aid workers in the country, where rebels are fighting the government in Darfur, the Kordofan region and Blue Nile state.

The ICRC on Saturday said HAC informed it in writing about the suspension over “some technical issues” related to work the ICRC hoped to undertake this year in Sudan.

HAC’s statement said the ICRC should work only through the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

But the Red Crescent complained “that the ICRC did some work without sharing that work with the Red Crescent,” a HAC source told AFP.

A statement from the ICRC on Sunday gave no details about the reason for the suspension.

“We are confident that the technical issues cited by the Commission as the reason for this suspension will be quickly settled,” said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Sudan.

On its website the ICRC calls Sudan’s Red Crescent Society its “primary partner in Sudan.”