Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rape still a constant for Darfur’s women and children

United Nations peacekeepers say the systematic rape of women and children is the now the biggest issue affecting Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, CNN reported on June 19.

Women and girls as young as four make up the thousands of rape victims caught in the fighting between rebel forces and government-backed militias.

“This is one of the biggest issues in Darfur: the rapes and crimes against women and children,” said Michael Fryer, police commissioner of UNAMID, the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed in Darfur.

According to the article, simple errands such as collecting firewood put teenagers at risk of rape by marauding militiamen. It adds: “Some relief workers say that almost every woman living in aid camps has been raped or become a victim of gender-based violence.”

Cases of rape are so widespread that some aid groups say the practice is being used as a weapon of ethnic cleansing. A report by Refugees International last year said rape was “an integral part of the pattern of violence that the government of Sudan is inflicting upon the targeted ethnic groups in Darfur.”

However, the statements of Sudanese officials have presented a troublingly stark contrast to reports from aid groups. “There is no rape in Darfur,” said Mohammad Hassan Awad, a Humanitarian Commissioner for West Darfur, who accuses foreign aid workers of inciting false claims from women in refugee camps.

For the full article, click here.


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