NDP urges Canada to support South Sudan

Here is the text of a letter sent by Hélène Laverdière and Paul Dewar to Ministers Baird and Paradis today:

Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Hon.Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

February 5, 2014

Re : Humanitarian Assistance for South Sudan

Dear Ministers Baird and Paradis,

We write to you today to ask that Canada support South Sudan in this time of crisis.

As you know, 3.2 million South Sudanese are affected by this crisis. It is estimated that 743,000 people are displaced inside the country, while another 130,400 have fled to neighbouring countries. Over half of the population of South Sudan are children who are particularly vulnerable in this conflict. We are concerned by reports of a potential food security crisis, as well as news that humanitarian agencies' operations have been hampered by ongoing hostilities.

Yesterday, in Juba, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan said aid agencies operating in the country need a further $1.27 billion to cover the period up to June. We urgently ask that Canada provide emergency aid, preferably by working with established humanitarian partners who already have extensive experience in South Sudan and relationships with partners on the ground. We believe they are best positioned and equipped to meet the needs of those most seriously affected, including children.

We understand the government has the ability to make money available for humanitarian crises before the end of this fiscal year. Canada's help would go a long way to saving lives in South Sudan.

Sincerely,

Hélène Laverdière, MP for Laurier – Ste-Marie, Official Opposition Critic for International Development

Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa-Centre, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs