Life for women in Darfuri refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad is extremely hard. Many have no access to any public authority that will investigate violence against women, and medical facilities are scarce to non-existent. While rape is rampant, and has allegedly been used as a “weapon of war” by the Khartoum backed militia engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, women are seldom able to find safety in seeking help from local authorities.
Uprooted from their homes, often relegated to ad-hoc communities where male elders are dispersed or involved in conflict, women victimized by corrupt camp guards or Sudanese police or militia risk serious physical attack or punishment for reporting rape. The Darfur refugee crisis has exacerbated the crisis levels of violence against women, and ongoing conflict and an apparent government cover-up campaign help to conceal the crimes.
Continue reading “Sexual Violence Against Darfuri Women Out of Control”
The government of Sudan, based in Khartoum, and under the rule of Pres. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has expelled more than a dozen international aid organizations from the country, charging that their activities in Darfur helped agents for the International Criminal Court (ICC) develop their war crimes case against Bashir. Bashir has been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and a fierce crack-down on dissent, press and international visitors, has been underway since.
One source, who wished to remain anonymous for reasons of personal safety, said there is increasing volume of calls and messages coming from aid workers in Darfur, saying they are afraid and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. While the government has pledged that local aid workers and UN agencies will fill the gap left by the departing NGOs, those expelled represent as much as half the aid, in the world’s largest humanitarian aid project.
Continue reading “Forcing Aid Groups Out of Darfur Puts Millions at Risk”
The Sudanese government attempted an artful campaign of misinformation by way of its presentation at the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women last week in New York. The event, hosted by the Sudanese Women Parliamentary Caucus (SWPC), focused on a government-backed study that was designed to show Khartoum to be concerned about violence against women, willing to take great pains to combat it, yet unable to find evidence of many cases in war-torn Darfur.
Despite hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and reports of rapes per year exceeding 10,000, eve of the government supporting the use of rape as a “tool of war”, the study counted only those cases where the government’s narrow legal definition of rape (”proven” and documented prior to any investigation) permitted actual charges and an eventual conviction. Despite the session’s being advertised as focusing on “women in conflict”, not one aspect of conflict, in the abstract or the particular, was mentioned, save the sparing now-and-then references to “the camps”.
Continue reading “Explaining Away Violence Against Women in Darfur, Sudan Gov’t at UN”