MADRE Articles

An Open Letter from Fatima Ahmed, President of Zenab

Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Keywords: Africa, Sudan

An Open Letter to:

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
UN General Assembly President, H.E., Dr. Srgjan Kerim
Member States Representatives of the UN General Assembly
Directors of UN Agencies

Dear colleagues and friends from around the world:

As Africans, an African NGO, and a Sudanese NGO, we write to you today, in response to the attempted kidnapping of 103 African children by Zoe's Ark, the French charity. We are outraged and urge broad condemnation of the actions of Zoe's Ark from the United Nations, governments, the media, the concerned public at large.

This scandal has deeply scarred the image of humanitarian organizations. We call upon other NGOs act as standard bearers and to reject abusive and dehumanizing practices. We demand an investigation of Zoe's Ark. A full examination is needed including: how did this organization escaped censure by the French government; who sanctioned the actions, such as the forging of medical documents, of the Zoe's Ark representatives; and for what purpose did this organization attempt to remove these children from their families.

We commend the decision of the government of Chad to review the credentials of aid agencies operating within their borders. All African governments should conduct similar reviews without unduly targeting respected partners. Further, we commend the response of the UN Deputy Commissioner for Refugees, who said the acts perpetrated by the French organization are not acceptable and that an investigation would be an important precedent for establishing accountability regarding other organizations' policies.

Fatima Ahmed, President
Zenab, for Women in Development

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