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Catholic Relief Services avoids closing of operations in Darfur [updated]

Catholic World News - March 28, 2011

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has announced that it has resumed relief operations in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur, after warning that those operations might be closed down because of the Sudanese government's suspension of CRS work.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have been cut off from aid," said CRS President Ken Hackett. "We call upon the Sudanese government to immediately restore the flow of food aid to the people of West Darfur by either allowing us to resume our service, or urgently finding an alternative."

The government of Sudan had asked CRS to withdraw from Darfur, citing concerns about security for the organization's workers. The Khartoum government said that there were complaints of 'proselytyzing' by CRS staff--a claim that the agency heatedly denied.

“One of their claims was that we were distributing Bibles,” added spokeswoman Sara Fajardo. “This is completely wrong. It is against all our operating principles.”

The Sudanese government decision affects 400,000 residents who have relied on the agency’s monthly food distributions.

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