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April-09-08

Rape Still Widespread in Darfur

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Monday that sexual violence in Darfur continues to be a constant threat for women and girls. According to HRW, the Sudanese government repeatedly denies the fact that sexual violence occurs in Darfur. Most crimes against women are left unpunished.

The report documents violence against girls as young as 11. The majority of the violence is committed by government forces and militias allied with them. The BBC News reports that over 200,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003 as a result of the genocide.

HRW called on the government of Sudan and the United Nations (UN)- African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to address the issue of widespread sexual violence. They asked the government to condemn sexual violence and enforce the condemnation with the end of impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. They also encourage UNAMID to deploy more women police officers and to create "firewood patrols" to protect women and girls outside refugee camps.

Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of HRW, said, "The victims of these horrific attacks have little or no hope of redress in Darfur's current climate of impunity. By failing to prosecute the perpetrators, the government is giving them a license to rape. Five years living in fear of rape is five years too long. Women and girls in Darfur urgently need protection, and those who are victims need justice."

Media Resources: Human Rights Watch Press Release 04/07/08; Five Years On, No Justice for Sexual Violence in Darfur; BBC News 04/07/08; Reuters 04/08/08

   

     

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