UN refugee agency urges Sudan to renew permits for staff in Darfur

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The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is urging the government of Sudan to renew the work permits for its staff in the Darfur region.

The agency says the government of Sudan has ordered 20 international staff to leave the country and declined to give the reasons for not renewing their work permits.

According to UNHCR, the majority of the affected workers are based in El Fasher in North Dafur region.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming says the reduction in staff number has forced the agency to scale down its operations and is currently unable to effectively provide protection and assistance to internally displaced people in the North Dafur region.

"Today we are appealing and calling on the Government of Sudan to renew the work permits for UNHCR staff based in Darfur. We need to be there to resume our critical protection work that helps to assist hundreds of thousands of displaced people in that region. In Dafur alone 1.2 million people live in camps. This year alone we have 300,000 new IDP's, a third of those or 100,000 in this North Dafur area where we cannot operate at the level we would like to even though we had to wind down we have a number of partners working with us there who are not affected."

Melissa Fleming says UNHCR has a total of 37 international staff working in the Dafur region, but only 17 have permits to enable them continue working.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1.36

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