Dáil Éireann - Volume 434 - 07 October, 1993

Written Answers. - Aid for Sudan.

103. Mrs. Owen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the aid, if any, that he has made available to the starving people of Sudan; and the action, if any, that he has taken to assist in bringing about an end to the conflict in Sudan.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): So far this year, the Government has allocated £1.12 million [575] from the Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Fund for relief operations in Sudan. Most of this assistance has been channelled through Irish voluntary agencies such as Concern, Trócaire, GOAL and Christian Aid for their respective emergency health and feeding programmes in Southern Sudan. The conflict in Sudan has created a huge refugee problem and we have contributed an additional £100,000 to relief programmes for Sudanese refugees which are operated by GOAL, Concern and the Irish Mill Hill Fathers.

In addition to providing humanitarian assistance and food aid, Ireland has had a bilateral aid programme in Sudan since 1975. The projects within this programme are focused on addressing the basic development needs of rural villagers in the central state region. Assistance is being provided in such areas as primary health care, water supply, renovation of schools, clinics and hospitals, and community forestry. From the NGO Co-funding scheme, projects with Irish and local NGOs have been supported.

The Government remains deeply concerned at the continuation of the conflict in southern Sudan and at the serious violations of human rights there. We have raised these concerns with the Sudanese authorities and with the faction leaders, and have stressed to them the need to respect human rights and to bring an end to the fighting.

These points were made directly to the Sudanese Government during the visit to Sudan last April of the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Tom Kitt, and by our Ambassador to Sudan during a recent visit to Khartoum. I discussed the situation in detail with the UN Secretary-General, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in New York last week and encouraged the UN to intensify its efforts to end the conflict and bring lasting peace and stability to Sudan. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and we will do all that we can, both bilaterally and in conjunction with our European partners, to bring about a resolution of this conflict.