March 05, 2009 19:26 ET

Statement on Sudan for Minister Oda

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 5, 2009) - Canada is deeply concerned by the Sudanese decision to expel humanitarian NGOs from Sudan and by the effect that this expulsion will have on the millions of people in the country who rely on international aid and who have been suffering for so many years. It is essential that humanitarian assistance continue to provide for the basic needs of the people of Darfur. Canada urges the Government of Sudan to reconsider its decision and to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law to facilitate full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to assist those in need.

Since January 2006, CIDA has provided nearly $144 million in humanitarian assistance to support affected populations in Sudan, of which $82million has been directed to Darfur or refugees who have fled to Chad. It has been increasingly difficult to provide humanitarian assistance because of regulatory and systematic obstacles from the Sudanese government, as well as attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces, local militias, rebels and bandits on humanitarian workers. In 2008, at least 170 humanitarian workers were abducted and many of them are still missing.

Yesterday, my colleague, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement supporting the work of the International Criminal Court in Sudan. He said that Canada strongly condemns acts that cause tremendous human suffering and we will continue to take strong action and call for ongoing international scrutiny of Sudan's commitments to human rights.

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