Sudan mourning Garang UNICEF urges all to fulfil accords for childrens sake

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged all sides in Sudan to press on with the peace accords following the death of Vice-President John Garang de Mabior in a helicopter crash, for the sake of the children of Africa’s largest country. “Peace offers enormous benefits, especially for children,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said. “For the children of Sudan we hope that the peace process continues with optimism.” UNICEF noted the contribution of Mr. Garang, leader of southern rebels who fought a two-decades-long war with the Government, to the establishment in 1989 of Operation Lifeline Sudan, a major international relief effort based on a groundbreaking humanitarian access agreement for aid to war-affected civilians, mainly in southern Sudan. As one of the three signatories to the agreement along with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Mr. Garang helped set a new precedent for humanitarian access during civil war. Former UNICEF Executive Director James Grant brokered the OLS agreement under whose provisions millions of people have been served with life-saving relief since April 1989. “It is a cruel irony that after decades of war, and only weeks after Garang was sworn in as First Vice-President, Sudan should be robbed of one of the architects of its historic peace agreement,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah, who represented UNICEF at the January signing of the peace agreement that formally ended the war in the south and ushered in Mr. Garang’s presence in the national government.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) hailed Mr. Garang’s contribution to its work of trying to feed hundreds of thousands of people displaced or cut off by conflict.”Dr. Garang’s support for WFP’s work, especially in the south of Sudan, was invaluable,” WFP Executive Director James Morris said. “He well understood the importance of humanitarian assistance and the urgency with which food assistance must be delivered during a crisis. He also put a high priority on work to rebuild southern Sudan’s fragmented roads infrastructure, which WFP is addressing with a special operation.” read more