Dáil Éireann - Volume 588 - 24 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Human Rights Abuses.

  31. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the discussions held with the Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, at the high level donors’ consultations on Darfur, Sudan, in Geneva recently; the steps the EU can take to resolve the mounting humanitarian crisis in Darfur; and the manner in which the €1.5 million pledged by Ireland for assistance for the Darfur region will be allocated. [18830/04]

  Mr. Kitt: On 3 June I co-chaired the high level donors’ consultations on Darfur in Geneva along with United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, and the administrator of USAID, Andrew Natsios. The meeting was an opportunity to engage directly with the Government of Sudan and Darfur rebel groups. I highlighted the pattern of gross violations of human rights being practised by GoS backed militias, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians, rape, forced displacement and disappearances.

I held a separate meeting with the Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid. I demanded immediate and unrestricted access for aid workers and aid supplies to the most needy and vulnerable in Darfur. [168] I am pleased to note that there has been improvement in access for Irish NGOs and others recently. I also stressed that it was the responsibility of the Sudanese Government to protect its citizens against militias in Darfur.

The Irish EU Presidency has taken every opportunity to highlight the situation in Darfur with our EU partners. I have written to my counterparts in the EU in relation to Darfur and raised the matter at the EU development Ministers informal meeting in Dublin on 1 June. At that meeting, Ministers supported the immediate deployment of the African Union ceasefire monitoring mechanism to oversee the monitoring of the ceasefire on the ground in Darfur. Financial support for this mechanism from the EU was confirmed at the European Council meeting in Brussels on 17-18 June. At the meeting in Geneva, I announced new EC humanitarian assistance for Darfur amounting to €10 million. This is in addition to individual pledges by EU member states.

Ireland allocated €2.5 million for immediate humanitarian assistance in Darfur. The funding is being dispersed to humanitarian agencies best placed on the ground to deliver life-saving assistance to the worst affected. Funding has already been delivered in support of the humanitarian programmes of Concern and the UN World Food Programme. Further funding is being considered for other relevant humanitarian agencies.