Canada Increases Aid to Sudan by $40 Million

VANCOUVER – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced an increase of $40 million in Canada’s financial support for humanitarian and peace assistance in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the PM’s office stated Tuesday.

“We are helping to put Darfur on the road to recovery,” said Harper according to CTV News.

The government’s immediate increase will see $20 million go to U.N. humanitarian agencies, the Red Cross, and other Canadian NGOs to provide food, water, sanitation and basic medical supplies to Darfur‘s civilians. The remaining $20 million will go to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to provide resources for enabling the Mission to oversee the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).

“Canada is committed to helping the people of Sudan achieve a durable peace focused on the protection of civilians,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay.

The announcement comes after the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) met earlier this May to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement. The accord – aimed at ending an atrocious three-year war that has left an estimated 180,000 people dead and over 2.5 million displaced and facing continued violence, oppression, rape, and starvation – was seen as “an essential step toward a lasting peace for the people of Darfur,” according to Mackay.

The increased aid from Canada also comes after a report issued by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of increased violence in the war-ravaged country and charges against the GoS of blocking relief supplies from reaching those suffering in Darfur.

“Civilians in Darfur continue to suffer the consequences of persistent violence and insecurity,” said Annan in the report, which also charged the Sudanese government of violating international humanitarian law for their embargos on relief supplies, the Associated Press reports.

Annan stressed the situation in Darfur is still “totally unacceptable” citing that women continue to face abuse and rape, civilians are still being attacked by militants unopposed, and humanitarian workers are also facing increased violence against them.

“I therefore repeat my urgent appeal for the international community to continue supporting the humanitarian effort for Darfur in this critical phase,” said the Secretary-General.

Faith-based organizations, such as the Save Darfur coalition, meanwhile continue to encourage Christians and the general public to become involved in the Sudan crisis, and become a voice to help end the suffering which millions of people are facing.

For more information go to www.savedarfur.org.