Pressure mounts on Sudan after arrests

1st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Foreign Affairs Ministry has called the Sudanese ambassador in The Hague to order as the UN condemns the arrest of two leaders of the Dutch division of aid group Doctors without Borders. Foreign Minister Ben Bot is demanding an explanation about the arrest of Dutchman Vincent Hoedt in the crisis region Darfur on Tuesday. The 35-year-old Hoedt was released on bail, but may not leave the Sudanese capital Khartoum pending further inquiries.

1 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Foreign Affairs Ministry has called the Sudanese ambassador in The Hague to order as the UN condemns the arrest of two leaders of the Dutch division of aid group Doctors without Borders.
 
Foreign Minister Ben Bot is demanding an explanation about the arrest of Dutchman Vincent Hoedt in the crisis region Darfur on Tuesday. The 35-year-old Hoedt was released on bail, but may not leave the Sudanese capital Khartoum pending further inquiries.

British national Paul Foreman, 45, the head of mission for Artsen zonder Grenzen (AzG) in Sudan, was arrested on Monday, but later released on bail. AzG is the Dutch branch of Doctors without Borders.

The Sudanese government has objected to a recent AzG report documenting widespread rapes in Darfur, where one million refugees are seeking protection from ethnic violence. Sudan claims the report was falsified.

The Dutch government was angered by the arrests and its embassy in Sudan has demanded the unconditional release of Hoedt.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Louise Arbour and the special UN envoy to Sudan, Dutchman Jan Pronk, are alarmed by the arrests. The UN co-ordinator for emergency aid, Jan Egeland, has also criticised the arrests.

Both Arbour and Pronk have underpinned claims women are being raped in Darfur. The high commissioner said AzG "did nothing than report these terrible crimes and demand much-needed attention for them".

Pronk has since met with the Sudanese foreign affairs minister and hopes to discuss the "difficult" situation shortly with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Besides Foreman and Hoedt, the Sudanese interpreter for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan — who spoke on Saturday with rape victims in Darfur's largest refugee camp — appears to have been arrested.

The Sudanese government is demanding evidence be produced of rapes in Darfur, but AzG is refusing to hand over medical records.

Sudan accuses Foreman of spying and undermining the State. It is not yet clear what Hoedt has officially been accused of, however.
 
AZG works with 180 international and 3,000 Sudanese workers in 29 locations in Darfur. In the past 12 months, it has performed almost a million medical examinations and treated 50,000 malnourished children. It also treats victims of violence.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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