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Cablegate: International Ngos in Darfur Face "Shrinking Humnatitarian

VZCZCXRO2653
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1328 2451354
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011354Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1777
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001328

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, PRM, S/CRS
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL PGOV PREF PHUM ASEC AU UN SU
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL NGOS IN DARFUR FACE "SHRINKING HUMNATITARIAN
SPACE"

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Senior UN humanitarian officials report that,
despite improved cooperation with the Khartoum Government,
international NGOs (INGOs) in Darfur are facing increased scrutiny
and harassment from state authorities, possibly in connection with
ICC prosecutor Ocampo's request that an arrest warrant be issued
against President Bashir. As a result, INGOs are finding their
ability to assist the local population increasingly frustrated, and
staff morale is falling. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On August 27, UN officials briefed the monthly UN-Donor
Principals' meeting on the deteriorating situation faced by
international-humanitarian NGOs in Darfur. According to Deputy SRSG
Ameera Haqq, cooperation with the national government on
humanitarian issues has improved significantly. However, INGOs
providing humanitarian assistance in Darfur face continued suspicion
and impediments thrown up at the state level. According to Haqq,
growing insecurity, bureaucratic harassment, and lack of access to
affected populations are creating a "shrinking humanitarian space"
within which the INGOs are able to work. Under these conditions,
she reported, INGO morale in Darfur is deteriorating.

3. (SBU) The UNICEF Representative in Sudan, Ted Chaiban, endorsed
and expanded on Haqq's observations, saying that official harassment
is by no means limited to the state level. He reported that since
ICC Chief Prosecutor Ocampo's July 14 request for an ICC arrest
warrant against President Bashir, Khartoum authorities have been
examining INGO files, including reports taken from victims of sexual
abuse, under the pretense of "investigation." He believes that the
GoS suspects the INGOs of having provided Ocampo with information
that now serves as part of the basis of his case against Bashir.

4. (SBU) Comment: If the reported increased harassment of the
humanitarian NGOs is in response to Ocampo's actions, it does not
augur well for the humanitarian community should the ICC take
action against - President Bashir. According to press reports, on
August 28, NISS chief Salah Gosh told a forum at the Ministry of
Humanitarian Affairs that the GoS will eject from the country any
NGOs "that exceed their mandate." We expect the regime to continue
to show both the possibilities of greater cooperation and increased
harassment of the NGO community (and others, such as the UN and
diplomatic missions) in the run-up to any ICC action as a way of
swaying the international community to allow an Article 16 exemption
for Bashir at the Security Council. In August, USAID implementing
partners have reported an increase in harassment and bureaucratic
impediments, as reported in the UN briefing. USAID will report on
specific cases and obstacles via septel.

FERNANDEZ

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