Sudan: Unacceptable detention of MSF medical team in Khartoum

South Sudan 2014 © Valérie Batselaere/MSF

KHARTOUM/NEW YORK, January 26, 2022—Nine Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff members were detained by Sudanese authorities in Khartoum on the evening of January 24, before being released the following morning.

The staff members were detained as they were returning to the MSF office from a hospital where they had been working. They were held overnight in a Khartoum police station and questioned about the organization's medical activities. They were not subjected to physical violence during their detention.

"The detention of our staff in connection with their medical work is unacceptable," said Michel-Olivier Lacharité, MSF head of emergencies. "While it is positive that our team are now out of detention, it is clear that they should never have been detained in the first place."

MSF is a registered organization in Sudan and has all the necessary authorizations to conduct medical programs. MSF works in eight states across the country, and the organization's work in Sudan is funded solely through private donations, not government funding.

"Our medical action in Sudan is based on only one thing: medical needs that require treatment," Lacharité said. "We are working to help the city’s hospitals care for injured people, and we are also supporting them in responding to a worrying increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Today some of our activities are on standby in Khartoum as we work to ensure that the security of our teams is assured. We hope to be able to quickly resume all our assistance to people in the capital."