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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Georgieva voices grave concern about the lack of humanitarian access to South Kordofan

Brussels, 26 August 2011 - Against the background of the announcement by President Al Bashir of Sudan of a two-week unilateral cease-fire in South Kordofan, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response stated her grave concern about the impossibility to reach and assist the people in humanitarian emergency in the region.

"This temporary unilateral cease-fire can provide a window of opportunity to bring in much needed assistance. I am deeply concerned about the suffering of people caught up in the conflict in South Kordofan. Full, unimpeded access to these people by both international and national aid providers is needed to enable the delivery of vital assistance. With this in mind, we are urgently calling for all restrictions, administrative or otherwise, to be lifted," the Commissioner said.  

She expressed strong regrets that despite their best efforts, the United Nations multi-agency assessment team has not been able to carry out its work in South Kordofan. Commissioner Georgieva called for immediate permission to be granted for the resumption of humanitarian missions. The Commissioner reiterated the appeal made on 10 August by High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton on all parties to allow full and unfettered humanitarian access to all those in need.  

Commissioner Georgieva declared that the EU is ready to increase its humanitarian assistance to the affected populations throughout South Kordofan. Additional funding of €40 million will be made available for humanitarian actions in Sudan and South Sudan in the weeks ahead. A part of this assistance will be earmarked for South Kordofan.

Background

In South Kordofan, Humanitarian agencies have not been able to obtain the authorisations to work since the conflict broke out in June, and needs assessments have not been carried out. An estimated 200,000 are affected, including 70,000 women and children. Stocks and supplies of much-needed basic items, including food and drugs, are running out.

In 2011, the European Commission has so far allocated €100 million to Sudan including €11 million for the Transitional Areas (including South Kordofan). Since 2003, the Commission has implemented humanitarian projects in Sudan worth more than €859 million.

South Kordofan is one of the three Transitional Areas, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Many people in South Kordofan, especially residents of the Nuba Mountains, fought with southern rebels during the two-decade north-south war. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 called for the holding of "Popular consultations" over whether the CPA was a satisfactory final settlement, or if the peace deal should be renegotiated there. These consultations never began in South Kordofan and there is no clarity on how this process might move forward.

A recent report from the UN highlights the perpetration of human rights abuses in South Kordofan since fighting started in June and calls for an investigation as a follow-up to these findings.

For further information:

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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