Letter: Aid and politics

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Sir: Julie Flint is right to remind us of the plight of the Nuba in her article "Are human rights an optional extra?" (9 December). However, her analysis suffers from a few omissions.

Aid is not confined to Sudan's northern region alone. Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), as well as dozens of humanitarian agencies outside its mandate, operates on a massive scale on both sides of the conflict and has done so since the war's inception. In "off-limits" areas of the Nuba Mountains, non-OLS aid organisations such as Norwegian People's Aid, risk their lives to bring aid to the Nuba people. But Flint is right to point out that the big humanitarian agencies which make up OLS are still denied official access to these areas. Until this issue is resolved, the suffering will continue.

The good news is that humanitarians are not silent about this. Most recently, four leading NGOs including CARE International testified before the United Nations Security Council asking for, among other things, political action to improve access to victims on both sides. The Nuba Mountains were specifically mentioned.

The Nuba Mountains need help; their people have suffered for far too long. Humanitarian aid, adherence to human rights and a sincere effort to find political solutions to the war in Sudan are essential to end the suffering. The Sudanese people need them all and need them now.


National Director

CARE International UK

London WC2