Ending Rape and Sexual Violence in Darfur

In International Advocacy Program by

Rape and sexual violence are being used on a daily basis as weapons of war in Darfur, Sudan. The rape of women and girls – including girls as young as eight – is widespread in Darfur. Where committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, rape constitutes a crime against humanity.

While African Union peacekeepers had taken some initial steps to address the situation, those efforts have been reduced in recent months, leading to increased attacks. AMIS (African Union Mission in Sudan) patrols designed to keep civilians safe when they venture outside the camps in search of firewood have been called off in many areas, leaving families with an impossible choice; whether to send out fathers and sons who might be killed, or mothers and daughters who might be raped.

In order to immediately address this unacceptable situation, world leaders must:

• Work with the African Union and its member states to ensure that protecting women from rape is a priority for AMIS. The African Union should demonstrate that commitment by immediately increasing the number of female AMIS police officers and translators in Darfur and by extending firewood patrols around all IDP camps.

• Ensure that AMIS has the financial support, material resources, and expert operational advisors it needs to implement its mandate to protect civilians.

• Push for effective peacekeeping through the rapid deployment of UN peacekeepers with the expertise and the capacity to protect women from violence, including through monitoring and investigating allegations of abuse.

• Push for the disarming of the Janjawid militia who have been responsible for a large number of the attacks in Darfur and Eastern Chad.

• Ensure that the Government of Sudan allows humanitarian organizations to have free and unfettered access to help victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence throughout Darfur.

• Ensure that the Government of Sudan hold perpetrators of rape and sexual assault accountable for their crimes.

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