Feb 14, 2006

Somaliland: NRC to Continue Operations

Security situation has now stabilised where there have been violent demonstrations after caricature publications. Unless the situation deteriorates the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) will resume full activity in Somaliland and elsewhere
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) continues its humanitarian aid work in Muslim countries. Activities have been partly suspended or limited over the last week, due to the violence following publications of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.

The security situation has now stabilised in most areas of Muslim countries where there have been violent demonstrations against Denmark and Norway. If the security situation does not deteriorate over the weekend, NRC will resume full activity in the countries in question.

“It was never in question for NRC to withdraw permanently from these areas, but due to the security situation it has been necessary to reduce or suspend our activities”, says Secretary General, Mr. Thomas Colin Archer.

Following the attacks on Danish and Norwegian authorities and organisations in a number of Muslim countries, NRC had to relocate its staff and/or reduce some field operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Somaliland and Indonesia.

These security measurements have unfortunate consequences for people who are already living under precarious conditions; namely refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). As an example, food distribution to 50 000 IDPs in Darfur has been temporarily suspended, while distribution of tents, clothing and other non-food relief items has been delayed in the earthquake hit regions of Pakistan.

Close to 1000 local staff and 80 international staff have taken extra security precautions over the last week in Muslim countries where NRC is directly operational.

“In NRC’s opinion publicising the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed was unwise and unnecessary. We encourage Norwegian authorities to contribute their best to restoring the trust Norway is worthy of internationally”, Mr. Thomas Colin Archer concludes.

Source: Reuters