Sudan expels top UN aid official

Khartoum has evicted from the country the head of UN's Sudan Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the fourth senior UN official to be forced out in the last two years, aid workers said Sunday.

The Humanitarian Country Team in Sudan expressed its shock and disappointment over the expulsion of Ivo Freijsen, who served as the top UN official for aid affairs in the nation.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the United Nations in Sudan that Mr. Freijsen's annual stay permit will not be renewed when it expires on 6 June 2016. This is despite the request for a 12-month extension of his stay permit, as per routine process, which was submitted on 10 April 2016. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided no official explanation in writing for this decision," the HCT said.

The group said nonrenewal of Freijsen's permit is "inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the international civil service enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the organisation’s foundational treaty, to which Sudan is a party."

The HCT noted that removing such a senior official may impact the work of all aid groups in the nation who are providing relief for hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan suffering from war and lack of development.

Freijsen worked over a decade in Sudan on six official appointments, part of a 23 year career which took him to 15 countries. 

Freijsen showed "dedication to humanitarian action in Sudan...in-depth expertise...and strategic and effective leadership" the HCT said. "During 12 years at OCHA he has led principled humanitarian coordination work, focusing on providing life-saving and emergency assistance to people in need."

Freijsen was appointed to his latest role as OCHA head in Sudan by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Sudan's government also forced the closure of Christian aid group Tearfund in December 2015, and expelled three other international NGO country representatives in recent months, besides expelling three other senior UN officials from the country in the last two years.