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Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of the expulsion of aid agencies in South Kordofan and eastern Sudan following the International Criminal Court's indictment of President Bashir in March 2009; and if he will make a statement. (294672)

The Government of Sudan's decision to expel 13 international and close down three national NGOs in March this year has had a detrimental effect on the delivery of assistance to the people of South Kordofan and eastern Sudan. Health facilities, water and sanitation projects and livelihood programmes run by these organisations have either lost support or have been discontinued.

As with Darfur, the ability to respond to future emergencies—such as floods or conflict—is now much lower in these areas. The effects of the expulsions are most acutely felt in the delivery of recovery and basic services programmes. Since March, several NGOs have been trying to expand or establish new programmes to cover these gaps. In particular, Mercy Corps Scotland, Care Switzerland, and Save the Children—Sweden plan to scale up programmes in South Kordofan. However, the Sudan Government has been slow to grant the necessary permits and it is unlikely that new programmes will be fully operational for some months.