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Former U.N. Official Criticizes NGO Efforts To Campaign For Aid To Sudanese

“The former head of the U.N. in Sudan has criticized [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] for failing to campaign for aid to flow to people trapped in a war zone on the border with South Sudan,” the Guardian reports. “Mukesh Kapila, who crossed into the war zone without government permission during a visit last month, says there is a ‘puzzling silence’ from aid agencies about the crisis,” according to the newspaper. “Responding to Kapila’s criticisms, Oxfam said it has been highlighting the situation for months,” and “Kitty Arie, director of advocacy at Save the Children, described the situation as ‘very difficult and complex,'” the Guardian writes, adding, “Neither agency wants to risk losing access to the rest of Sudan by alienating the government of President Omar al-Bashir.”

“Other major aid agencies, speaking off the record, said that although they were not openly campaigning for access [to certain parts of Sudan], they are crossing into the war zone from South Sudan — a journey they make without Sudanese permission,” the newspaper adds, noting, “The U.S. government has been supporting their efforts, trucking aid into Sudan for several months,” and “[a]s many as 400,000 people are said to have been given food aid.” The Guardian states, “Kapila said that if Bashir continues to hold up aid, he would want to see the launch of a full-scale cross-border operation into Sudan” (Plaut, 2/11).