|Smart Library on Globalization|
Smart Library on Globalization > Genocide > Topic 3: Rape and Genocide > Rape and Genocide > Overview: Rape and Genocide
Patterns of Rape in Darfur
Patterns of sexual assault across Darfur make it clear that the Sudanese government is at least grossly negligent. However, evidents points to pro-Government militia members, soldiers and police as the main culprits.
What has the Sudanese government done to prevent rape in Darfur? The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights released a report in July 2005 assessing the progress the government of Sudan has made in complying with a the UN Security Council resolution (2004).
The report states that the government in Khartoum has made some progress. The large-scale killings and massive displacement that occurred in the first two years of the conflict have decreased. However, at the time of the UN report, nearly one third (1,880,000) of the Darfur population was still internally displaced and another 300,000 people from Darfur had sought refuge in neighboring Chad.
There is still much to be done, however, especially in the area of sexual assault on the people of Darfur. Even in the face of improvements, human rights monitors report new instances of rape on a weekly basis.
Characteristics of Sexual Assault in Darfur
What does sexual assault look like in Darfur?
Who is raped? Where does it happen? Who is to blame? What is the nature of the sexual assault? How do the victims respond?
While the answers to these questions vary by region, there are some common patterns across Darfur:
Who? Women and girls who live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP camps) are the most frequently victimized.
Where and when? Women are commonly attacked when they leave the IDP camps to gather firewood. Firewood is not available in the camps and women are forced to leave the camp in order to get the firewood they need to cook. Women and girls are also frequently attacked when they are traveling.
Who are the perpetrators? In the vast majority of cases where the perpetrator could be identified, they are members of the Government armed forces, law enforcement agencies or members of the pro-Government militia (the Janjawid).
What is the nature of the assault? Women and girls are often gang raped by men who arrive on camels or horses. Frequently, more than one woman or girl is raped in a single assault. The victims are insulted and humiliated. They are generally threatened with death, are beaten and in some cases killed.
How do victims respond? Usually, women in Darfur do not approach authorities when they have been sexually assaulted. Women fear reprisals. They feel that any attempt to gain justice is a waste of time since pro-government forces are almost always behind the attack. Additionally, because of the harrowing procedures a woman has to go through to lodge a complaint, she is “revictimized” through humiliation and insensitivity by the system that is supposed to help her.
Sexual Assault Is Different in Different Regions of Darfur
Even though there are common characteristics of sexual assault across Darfur, there are some differences among the Western, Northern and Southern regions of Darfur.
Of the 86 incidents (230 victims) of sexual assault reported to human rights monitors in Darfur between August 2004 and June 2005, only five resulted in convictions at the time of the UN report. Patterns of sexual assault across Darfur make it clear that the Sudanese government is grossly negligent. Additionally, evidents points to pro-Government militia members, soldiers and police as the main culprits.
Data and Methods:
Information collected by human rights officers of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Four human rights officers from OHCHR were sent to Sudan in August 2004. By July 2005, there were 45 human rights officers deployed in four regional offices. Human rights officers also work closely with humanitarian organizations and the African Union Mission in Sudan.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2005. Access to Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Geneva. July 29 2005.
Other Keytexts from this source