Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sudan: Blog bites man

UN envoy Jan Pronk, former Dutch diplomat, was expelled from Sudan over the weekend. The reason given was his ongoing criticism of government atrocities in Darfur described on his blog, which is always a good read. A contentious figure in the humanitarian community working in Darfur, I have always appreciated Pronk for his classic Dutch directness, and fearlessness in the face of government intimidation and opposition to aid efforts. He worked tirelessly to increase access of humanitarian agencies to targeted populations, and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get imprisoned or kidnapped aid workers released.

AFP reported today, "Sudan will not have any further dealings with expelled UN envoy Jan Pronk, regardless of what the United Nations may decide about his future, a senior official said Thursday.

"The decision to expel Jan Pronk is irrevocable because of positions he has taken that are incompatible with his mission in Sudan," foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadek told journalists.

The Sudanese military had accused him of "waging psychological warfare on the armed forces by propagating erroneous information."

[...] Pronk has long been a thorn in the side of the Khartoum government. He has openly called Sudan a "police state" and said refugees in Darfur were victims of "Arabic racism"."

Read rest of AFP article here.

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