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France condemns expulsion of 20 UN staff from Darfur

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

France on Wednesday condemned the "unjustified" expulsion of 20 UN refugee agency staff from Sudan's Darfur region, calling on Khartoum to renew their permits immediately.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the move would hamper the ability of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide aid to the two million displaced people in Darfur, 1.2 million of whom were living in camps.

"France condemns the expulsion of 20 UNHCR employees working in Darfur," said Vincent Floreani at a press conference.

"This unjustified decision comes as the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur remains worrying, with 300,000 people displaced in 2013."

The UNHCR said Tuesday it would be forced to scale down its work in Darfur after Khartoum expelled more than half its 37 staff there.

Since 2003 Darfur has been part of a conflict between local rebel tribes and Khartoum, resulting in 300,000 deaths and 1.8 million displaced persons, according to the UN.

The situation is particularly critical in El Fasher where none of the UNHCR staff was granted a permit to return. The remaining staff members were "asked to leave at short notice in early July," the agency said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130807/france-condemns-expulsion-20-un-staff-darfur