Systematic rape continues in Darfur

A new report by the United Nations Office for Human Rights implicates Sudanese military forces and allied militia groups (Janjaweed) in the capture and rape of fifty women. According to the latest release, the women were taken to a government facility where they were held for a month and repeatedly abused.

Women in Darfur are also at risk of sexual violence outside the context of large attacks. Women risk being raped if they leave their camp for internally displaced people to search for firewood. In some areas, the current African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has provided “firewood patrols” to accompany groups of women once or twice a week as they gather firewood. But these patrols have often been ineffective due to poor organization, lack of resources, and lack of communication with the people who benefit from the patrols.

As Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, pointed out, the upcoming UN/AU peacekeepers need the authority to intervene in such situations.

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