The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim Shenk,Press Officer,Direct: 212-763-5764,E-mail:,

Additional Doctors Without Borders Section Expelled from Darfur

Major Medical Activities Forced to Halt; People of Darfur Held Hostage to Political and Judicial Agendas; MSF Calls on Sudanese Government to Repeal Decision and Allow Resumption of Vital Assistance

Geneva/Paris/Khartoum/New York

Sudanese authorities in Khartoum this morning demanded the immediate
expulsion of a second section of the international medical humanitarian
organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
from Darfur.

The decision to expel the French section of MSF, brutal and sudden,
follows the expulsion yesterday of the organization's Dutch section.
MSF is appalled by this order, which clearly holds the needs of the
population of Darfur hostage to political and judicial agendas. The
organization protests the order in the strongest of terms and appeals
to the government to repeal these decisions and allow MSF to resume
independent and impartial humanitarian assistance immediately.

"The order to expel MSF from Darfur is a dramatic turn of events
that will have unprecedented consequences for the people of the region.
Much of the population of Darfur is totally dependent on international
humanitarian aid," said MSF International President Dr. Christophe
Fournier. "The sudden halt of our medical programs, including vital
surgical, nutrition, and basic healthcare programs in large areas of
Darfur will have an immediate and devastating impact on the population."

The vast needs of the population left unaddressed by the expulsion
of so many aid organizations leaves a huge void in assistance,
impossible for any remaining agency to adequately fulfill. The basic
needs of hundreds of thousands of people will now go unmet, be they
medical, food, and water and sanitation. Outbreaks of meningitis in
Kalma Camp and Niertiti-where an estimated 130,000 people are in urgent
need of vaccination-risk going completely unanswered.

The remaining sections of MSF working in Darfur are committed to
continuing to provide medical care in the areas where they are working.
However, this is a far cry from addressing the extent of the needs
throughout Darfur.

"The ability to provide independent humanitarian assistance in
Darfur has been drastically diminished over the past year, but the
actions of the Government of Sudan this week risk cutting off
humanitarian assistance for displaced and local populations in large
areas of Darfur," added Dr. Fournier. "The needs of the population are
falling prey to political and judicial ends, which is wholly
unacceptable. We appeal to the government to immediately repeal its
decision and allow for independent and impartial humanitarian
assistance for the people in Darfur."

MSF firmly reiterates that the organization is completely
independent of the International Criminal Court and does not cooperate
with or provide any information to it.

MSF has been working in Sudan since 1979 and in Darfur since
2003. While MSF has now been expelled from delivering critical
healthcare in five areas of West and South Darfur, including Feina in
Jebel Mara, Kalma, Muhajariya, Niertiti and Zalingei, MSF teams
continue to provide care in West Darfur in Golo and Killin, and in
North Darfur in Kebkabiya, Kaguro, Serif Umra, Shangil Tobaya and
Tawila. Prior to the expulsion, more than one hundred MSF international
staff and approximately 1,625 MSF national staff worked tirelessly to
deliver essential medical aid to hundreds of thousands of people
throughout Darfur.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.