Irish Aid Humanitarian Funding for the People of Darfur
Conor Lenihan TD, Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today announced €5 million in Irish Aid funding to support under-funded UN humanitarian relief efforts in Africa. €1 million of this funding will be targeted at the on-going humanitarian needs of the people of Darfur. The funding will focus on the provision of essential food supplies and other basic needs for displaced persons.
Speaking during yesterday's Dáil debate on Darfur, Minister Lenihan said:
“The Government has consistently made it clear that it is gravely concerned about the continuing humanitarian and political crisis in Darfur and is using all avenues to urge concerted international action to resolve it. Darfur was top of the agenda in Minister Dermot Ahern's meetings in New York this week with the United Nations Secretary General and the Sudanese Foreign Minister.
The suffering of Darfur shames the world. We cannot indefinitely stand by and watch with horror from the sidelines. The Sudanese Government has a clear responsibility to protect its own citizens and if it fails to act the international community will have to consider possible further measures. Humanitarian aid must be delivered safely and without restrictions. Ireland has responded generously, providing €7.6 million for relief to date in 2006, and has continuously insisted that all parties in Darfur must allow unhindered humanitarian access.”
In his speech, Minister Lenihan made clear that the Government will continue to press for a United Nations peace- keeping force in Darfur with a robust mandate. “It is regrettable and indeed unacceptable that the Sudanese Government continues to oppose the deployment of a UN force in Darfur. Addressing the UN General Assembly on 26 September, Minister Ahern appealed strongly and urgently to the Sudanese Government to agree to the deployment of such a force. With our EU partners, Ireland is encouraging influential African countries and other States, such as China, to convey similar strong messages to the authorities in Khartoum. Until transition to a UN mission takes place, AMIS, the ceasefire observation mission in Darfur established by the African Union, should be strengthened as far as possible. Long- term security in the region can only be guaranteed by the full implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.”
28th September 2006