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Hindering Assistance In Sudan

In the latest incident of impeding humanitarian assistance efforts, the government of Sudan closed two offices belonging to the Sudan Social Development Organization, or SUDO, a nongovernmental agency.

SUDO promotes respect for human rights in Sudan, and provides services to people in Darfur, including health care and access to safe drinking writing. SUDO receives support from the U.S. and others. The SUDO offices that were closed are located in El Geneina and Zalingei in the Darfur region. The Sudanese government also closed the organization's health clinic and food distribution center in Darfur and froze its bank accounts there.

The current humanitarian crisis began after fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003. Complaining that the region had been marginalized by the central government, rebels attacked government facilities. Arab Janjaweed militia, supported by the government, responded by attacking civilians of the African Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur. Many thousands have died in Darfur from fighting, malnutrition, and disease. More than two-million are displaced and live in refugee camps.

The United Nations says the situation in Darfur is one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. In a written statement, the U.S. State Department says that the government of Sudan "should stop obstructing delivery of humanitarian services across the country."

State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says the U.S. is concerned about the Sudanese government's actions against SUDO and other nongovernmental assistance organizations:

"We think it's unacceptable and cries out for action. We have responded by being the largest aid donor to Darfur. I think to date we've delivered almost nine-hundred-million [dollars] to Sudan. . . .in relief and support for the crisis there and in the rest of Sudan."

Mr. Ereli says the U.S. is working with the U-N, the African Union, NATO, and others to alleviate the suffering in Darfur.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.