Walking away when things go wrong? Sudan

*Update 17.04.2024 Disappointingly, we have not yet received a response to our August 2023 note. We are following up with those responsible.*

Original article: The situation in Sudan is undoubtedly difficult, with the ongoing conflict affecting the lives and well-being of the population. Our local agent (LA) colleagues in the delegation there are working under these conditions to serve our EU mission and values. Their commitment and resilience in the face of such challenging circumstances deserve our utmost admiration and support.

However, this does not seem to be an opinion shared by the European External Action Service (EEAS). Instead, the EEAS informed staff formally 22.06.2023 that it would terminate their contracts as of mid-October. Isn’t it great how one can rely on the EU Institutions when the situation turns difficult?

What followed was an exchange of notes between staff in the delegation and the EEAS, where the EEAS assured the local agents that everything was fine – and that of course they would still be fired. How reassuring.

As should be obvious, Generation 2004 does not agree with this decision. Prolonging the local agents’ contracts would not only be a just and ethical decision but also a strategic one for the following reasons:

  • Many of the local staff have been fully committed to their professional life in the delegation for many years (some of them over 20 years);
  • The local staff in Sudan have acquired the skills and experience to work in compliance with the European missions and values;
  • They know both the local and EU cultures which are undeniable assets as they serve as bridges between the EU mission and the local population to build stronger relationships, which are essential for successful peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts;
  • In the interest of business continuity and cost-effective resource management, maintaining skilled and committed colleagues will allow a smooth restart as soon as the situation in the country changes.

Generation 2004 also sent its own note to the EEAS to support the local agents in Sudan and to try to convince the EEAS that surely, there must be a better way to handle this situation.

Beyond the human dimension of potential EU dismissals, the political message of such a negative choice might undermine any future efforts to re-establish the EU as a reliable partner with Sudan in comparison with other international organisations.

Our local staff colleagues in Sudan should not be abandoned!

As always, we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us or leave a comment below.

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