UN to meet over Sudan aid crisis

UN council to discuss Sudan's move to expel aid groups after indictment of president.

    Rice condemned Sudan's expulsion of aid
    agencies as a 'callous step' [GALLO/GETTY]

    A Libyan diplomat told Reuters that his country's delegation, which holds the council's
    presidency this month, would raise requests from the Arab League and African Union to meet council members to discuss suspending the ICC's proceedings against al-Bashir.

    'Dire' consequences

    Millions have been displaced in Sudan by the
    Darfur crisis [GALLO/GETTY]

    The US also said on Friday it was gravely concerned by Sudan's "reckless" decision to expel the groups, which employ about 6,500 relief workers across the region, and said it would not rule out seeking action from the council.

    Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Friday that the Sudanese government's reaction to the ICC's move was a "callous step" and said Sudan faced "immediate and dire'' consequences 

    Rice also said that the aid groups' assets have been seized.

    Meanwhile the UN's main human rights office also said on Friday it would examine whether Sudan's decision to expel the groups marked a breach of basic human rights and possibly a war crime, a spokesman said.

    In depth

     Profile: Omar al-Bashir 
     Interview: Moreno-Ocampo
     Timeline: Darfur crisis 
     
    Human rights lost in Darfur
     Peace deals in 'jeopardy'
     Video: Warrant hailed
     Your Views: What does the arrest warrant against al-Bashir mean for Sudan?

    "To knowingly and deliberately deprive such a huge group of civilians of means to survive is a deplorable act,'' said Rupert Colville, spokesman for Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief.

    "To punish civilians because of a decision by the ICC is a grievous dereliction of the government's duty to protect its own people."

    The ICC indicted al-Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include murder, rape and torture, but said it had insufficient evidence to bring a charge of genocide.

    Al-Bashir has dismissed the court's move as a ploy by Western powers and the move has led to angry protests in the nation's capital, Khartoum.

    The UN says that up to 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, although Sudan maintains that only 10,000 people have died, while a further 2.7 million people are estimated to have been uprooted by the conflict.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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