Action Against Hunger

NOVEMBER 30, 2006
5:30 AM

CONTACT: Action Against Hunger
John Sauer, ACF-USA
Communications Manager
Tel: 212.967.7800 x 103
Fax: 212.967.5480
Médecins du Monde :
Annabelle Quenet : 0033 (0)1 44 92 14 32

Médecins du Monde - France and Action Against Hunger Call for Urgent Resumption of Negotiations in Darfur

WASHINGTON - November 30 - Médecins du Monde France (Doctors of the World) and Action contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger) have been present in Darfur since 2004. Tens of expatriates and more than a thousand national employees have acquired substantial knowledge of the area, working relentlessly to save the lives of people affected by the bloody civil war. In respect of our principles of impartiality and humanity and in line with our humanitarian mandate, we reserve the right to express some concerns.  

Since May 2006 and following the Darfur Peace Agreement which only involved one minority faction from the rebel side, the security situation has considerably deteriorated and we have witnessed increasing fighting.  Fueled by the fragmentation of the conflict, the deployment of Sudanese military forces, the atomisation of local Sudanese powers and inter-ethnic tensions (even in camps for displaced people), the increasing violence has had disastrous consequences for displaced people, exposing them to conflict and depriving them of humanitarian assistance. 

Humanitarian access to populations has been significantly limited for six months and the resumption of conflict has caused the deaths of at least 20 humanitarian workers.

MDM France and ACF consider the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in Abuja counter-productive and ask the international community to bring all conflicting parties back to the negotiating table to implement a shared peace agreement which will improve the situation for populations in Darfur.  

The deployment of blue helmets alone cannot resolve the crisis and provide security for populations and humanitarian actors; a political framework involving more actors, including the parties to the conflict, is indispensable. Otherwise, the conditions for a real security and thus humanitarian catastrophe could be created.

We ask the international community:

  • to involve itself strongly to bring all parties to the conflict back to the negotiation table.
  • to call for respect of humanitarian space by all parties to the conflict.
  • to reinforce the capacity of the African Union to achieve its current mandate of protecting populations.
  • to take into account the reality regarding security conditions on the ground in its search for a diplomatic solution.
  • to take into account the opinion of actors on the ground who are better placed to evaluate the expectations of the populations and the concrete consequences of external military actions.