Australia’s international aid and humanitarian sector has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement over the weekend of an initial $6 million in emergency funding to assist the people of Sudan, which is currently in the grips of a deadly civil conflict.
Of the $6 million funding, $1 million will go directly to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the remainder to international partners.
The aid sector believes Australia should elevate our financial commitment to $25 million in total. This reflects our country’s expansive and growing Sudanese diaspora, combined with our global interests in supporting peace and human development.
The package should be focused on local responders, with NGOs and Red Cross Red Crescent movement supporting them. A financial boost of this amount would also bring it closer to the package provided to those affected by the war in Ukraine.
The situation on the ground in Sudan is dire. Around 500 people have been killed, with at least 190 of them children, and many thousands of people injured. Additionally, around 845,000 people are displaced, and existing refugee camps on the country’s borders are running out of space.
“The impact of war on civilians is always extremely harsh, but in the case of Sudan, it compounds existing insecurities around access to food, water, medicine and other essentials,” said Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council For International Development (ACFID).
“Without immediate intervention by the international community, the conflict will escalate, along with the impact on the Sudanese people worldwide,” said Mr Purcell.
The Australian-Sudanese diaspora numbers around 20,000. As members tend to maintain strong connections to families and communities back home, it is emerging as a vital source of information and coordination activities. The sector strongly advocates for the diaspora’s involvement in shaping conversation and priorities, given their reach into communities on the ground.
“The Sudanese-Australian diaspora welcomes DFAT’s announcement of $6 million in initial humanitarian assistance, as well as the announcement of visa extensions for Sudanese nationals in Australia,” said Sudanese community spokesman Amad Mohamad.
“The unfolding conflict has exacerbated the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country. We reiterate our commitment to continued engagement with DFAT on Sudan-related matters and provide advice on assistance coordination and help connect with local actors, including NGOs, on the ground in Sudan.”
The aid sector is calling on the following:
- A package worth $25 million to be delivered to Sudan and the region (countries receiving refugees), to be dispersed via Australian humanitarian mechanisms, notably Australian NGOs and the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, as detailed below. These groups have exemplary reach and access on the ground, and present the most efficient and direct method of distributing the funds;
- Diplomatic efforts to be stepped up to ensure safe and accessible humanitarian access;
- And expedited visa processing practices for Sudanese refugees to Australia.
The aid sector also reiterates calls by the international community for all parties to be brought to the negotiating table, and emphasises the need to uphold international law and protect civilians, including health and humanitarian aid workers.
Australia’s humanitarian mechanisms:
Australian Humanitarian Partnership – The Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) is a ten-year (2017-2027) partnership between the Australian Government and Australian NGOs.
Emergency Action Alliance – Emergency Action Alliance is made up of 15 Australian-based member charities who combine their individual reach and resources for the common good.