UK-based charity Save the Children says it is pulling out of the troubled Darfur region of western Sudan as the risk faced by its workers was "unacceptable".
The charity, one of the larger agencies operating in Darfur, has 350 staff in the country.
Earlier this month two of its workers died in an attack blamed on anti-government rebels. Two others were killed in October.
Should aid agencies pull out of Darfur rather than risk their staff? What do you think the implications will be for those living in the area if they do?
This debate is closed. Thank your for your e-mails. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:
Well it doesn't sound good. UK charity should not intend to give up on those voiceless people. Just see how sad it may look when your only hope gives up on you. I think it is not a wise step. Do not pull out for the sake of human cause please.
Liben W Filate, Takoma Park, MD, USA
I am in Darfur at the moment, and have been for the last six months, working for an NGO. Although I accept that the UN has many failings, I think that most of the people claiming they should leave are not here, living the reality. The UN has a huge role to play, even symbolically here. And they are financing us to do the work in areas where they cannot go. As for leaving, each organisation must judge for itself what the risks are - I fully understand SCF's position.
Catherine, Darfur, Sudan
It's shocking that aid agencies have to pull out of this awful situation. However, we should clearly address the fact that the UN is doing nothing effective in this situation where genocide is taking place, scores or women and children being raped and murdered and the world is doing nothing.
It's all about money in the end - what do poor Africans have to offer Western nations? How can so much effort be put into removing Saddam from Iraq but nothing for the Sudanese people struggling in the worst possible situation? The answer? Oil.
Tim J Toft, Rozelle, Australia
Instead of dribbling in support and protection in small numbers which are proving to be vulnerable and ineffective, it would be best to flood Darfur with charities and most importantly peace keeping forces. Unfortunately, as has been said before, this is not happening because Darfur has not been made a priority by the UN or the world's most powerful nations. This is the definition of injustice.
Madelaine, St Paul, MN, USA
I sympathize with the aid agencies over the loss of lives of their staff. Those staff were of foreign nationality, of course. I believe that rather than a total shut-down of operations, the aid agencies might look at training Darfur nationals to carry out their humanitarian effort. Total pull-out only leads to further loss of lives, of Africans, of course. Let's pray for the aid agencies and their staff. I do!
Adewale Adewumi, Palm Coast, FL, USA
I would hope that some aid agencies are able to stay with the refugees over the Christmas season. Afterwards if the UN is not providing adequate protection, then they should seriously consider pulling out.
Alwyn S Jones, Abergele, Wales
Charity is not in short supply, it is justice. There are plenty of resources to go around this world.
Katharine Friedmann, Leicester, UK
Of course they should leave, they have a duty to protect their staff. Should they have to? No, the UN should be protecting them, but as usual the UN has proved itself to be nothing more than a talking shop. It is about time the UN did something useful and sent in troops instead of relying on others to make the first move.
Since the US and UK are busy in Iraq perhaps the rest of the world could send troops to Darfur to protect the aid agencies and save lives. What a great example the UN could set here! Spain pulled 1,300 troops from Iraq so why not send them to Sudan? What about France, Germany, Canada, Russia, Sweden?
Jan Burton, Toronto, Canada
I think it is a tremendous effort that all the aid organisations are doing but the risks continue to become more and more dangerous. Unfortunately, I don't feel that charity-based organisations should risk their people's lives any longer.
Scott, Florida USA
What a shame. Those who want to help and make a difference can't do so safely anymore.
Kristian M, Richmond, VA, USA
Aid agencies have a tough decision to make concerning Darfur. They can either be present in the region and provide assistance for populations in need or they can choose to speak out about the serious violations of human rights taking place here, hence compromising (even unofficially) the safety of their field staff members. Unfortunately Save the Children tried to do both and they have experienced the unjustified consequences for trying to assist people in need.
If we weren't so stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would love for the UN to send an American and British peacekeeping force. These people need protection, not observers. Most UN troop contingents are understaffed and have very weak mandates. In order to have any effect in missions, the UN troops need to be seen as a buffer but also as a strong force that will fight if needed. Sadly, politics is politics and the agencies will leave Darfur and there will be more needless deaths.
Tony, Texas, USA
Here is a situation where real world leadership and decisive action is required to protect the starving thousands in Darfur. Yet, I don't hear Tony Blair or George Bush pledging military support to protect the aid agencies. Here is an example where military intervention would be welcomed all over the planet yet nothing from Washington or London. The lack of intervention in Darfur by the two countries capable of stopping the abuses currently being carried out there just reinforces the belief that Iraq really was just about oil. Come on George and Tony get involved and sort this mess out!
Jim, London UK
It's a tragedy - just like the agencies having to leave Iraq.
It is very sad that aid agencies feel that they are not protected enough to do their good work. They should leave if this is the case but all of us should lobby our respective governments to help support aid agencies work in areas that help is most needed.
Tom, Oxfordshire, England
Yes, if they cannot be protected the aid agencies should leave. A fireman does not enter a burning building without protective gear.
No, they shouldn't leave and they should get military assistance from either the UN troops or from soldiers that could be moved from the Iraqi front. Mr Blair could actually do himself a very large favour with this.
People in Darfur are just about to become the world's widely known forgotten people. If aid agencies and charities pull out, no-one will be there for them. I am wondering when the international community will recognise the limited capability of the Africa Union forces, which supposed to protect them as well as aid workers?
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary
If the aid agencies pull out the implications for those living there is obvious. What little comfort and relief provided for them will be gone and the genocide will continue unabated. The UN has failed in Darfur and Kofi Annan needs to resign.
Charles, Montreal, Canada
If the Save The Children and its like charitable organizations pulled out the humanitarian situation in Darfur would be worse. If they leave such an inflicted area who will help its poor people and protect them from the very bad weather conditions? Who can dare provide them in their dire need of medicines? Charities not only can but must work for people. I think they can keep themselves away from the danger of the civil war by asking for Sudanese and UN protection. They also can change their locations for safer areas. I implore those charities not to leave Darfur.
Nabil Abdel Ahad Abdel Baky, Cairo, Egypt