Press Notice 15, Session 2004-05

Responses to the Asian tsunami disaster
Darfur, Sudan: Crisis, Response and Lessons

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for International Development to appear before Committee

Date and venue



Wed 23 February, Room 8, Palace of Westminster


Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Peter Troy, Head of Humanitarian Affairs Programmes, Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CHAD) and Ms Anna Bewes, Head of Sudan Unit.

This session provides an opportunity for the Committee to question the Secretary of State for International Development about Responses to the Asian Tsunami disaster.  This is a one-off evidence session which does not form part of any broader inquiry.

Two months after the Asian Tsunami, the full scale of the disaster has become clear, as have the challenges facing those working in the region.   Governments, NGOs and international donors are now making the transition from initial acute relief work to longer term recovery and reconstruction interventions.  The Committee intends to raise questions about the nature and effectiveness of the international community’s humanitarian response to the disaster, including the response of the UK Government.

The second part of the session will be the  final oral evidence session to be held by the Committee as part of its inquiry into Darfur. This inquiry was announced in a press notice dated 16 September (PN41. 2003-04). The inquiry addresses three questions: to what extent has the international community, including the UK, effectively discharged its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur; what lessons need to be learnt from its response; and, what needs to be done now in order to bring peace, security and development to Darfur and to Sudan as a whole?

In Darfur, the crisis continues. The ceasefire is regularly broken, and the resulting insecurity is putting the humanitarian relief effort under great strain. Unless security improves, the displaced millions, unable to plant seeds for this year’s harvest, face a bleak, uncertain, and hungry future. The international community continues to place all its hopes for increasing security with the African Union. The African Union is doing its best and deserves much credit, but - as its slow deployment of forces shows - it is desperately under-resourced.


Please note that starting times may be subject to late changes. Those wishing to attend either of these sessions should contact the Committee Office Information Line on 020 7219 2033 to confirm the venue the day before the hearing, or please have a look at the ‘Future meetings’ section of our website, nearer the day of the meeting.


Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Baldry (Chairman) (Conservative), John Barrett (Liberal Democrat), Mr John Battle (Labour), Hugh Bayley (Labour), Mr John Bercow (Conservative), Ann Clwyd (Labour), Mr Tony Colman (Labour), Mr Quentin Davies (Conservative); Mr Piara S. Khabra (Labour), Chris McCafferty (Labour), and Tony Worthington (Labour).

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