Burkina Faso orders suspension of Norwegian Refugee Council's aid programmes
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on Friday said it has halted its work in Burkina Faso on the order of the government after the aid group voiced concern about local authorities' capacity to register the fast-rising number of displaced people.
- Burkina Faso
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on Friday said it has halted its work in Burkina Faso on the order of the government after the aid group voiced concern about local authorities' capacity to register the fast-rising number of displaced people. Since 2019, NRC has provided humanitarian assistance in Burkina Faso to those affected by violence that has driven 1.4 million people from their homes and left nearly 3 million facing acute food shortages.
The organisation said it received a letter on Sept. 27 from a government ministry ordering it to suspend its operations due to media coverage of its comments about a slow and insufficient humanitarian response. "NRC is working in dialogue with the government to address any concerns they may have in order to resume respectful and collaborative relations, and our humanitarian work," it said in a statement.
A representative of the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Humanitarian Action confirmed the suspension and the authenticity of a copy of its letter to NRC, seen by Reuters. In the letter, Burkinabe authorities accused NRC of seeking to discredit the government in the media
The organization, they said, had accused them of "refusing the registration of IDPs (internally displaced persons) by NGOs and preventing aid agencies operating in more inaccessible zones." In a Sept. 13 press release, NRC had said government authorities in charge of registering displaced people were struggling to handle ever-increasing numbers, with 275,000 people displaced since April alone.
"We appeal to the government to let us step in and support. Relief organisations have the capacity to assist people in the most inaccessible areas where aid is urgently needed, complementing the essential work of the authorities," the release said. It said newly displaced families are currently waiting several weeks to receive assistance such as food and shelter. (Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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