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Widespread Use Of Rape & Sexual Violence By RSF In Sudan

Published: Fri 18 Aug 2023 08:48 AM
UN experts* today expressed alarm at reports of brutal and widespread use of rape and other forms of sexual violence by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) during the four-month-old internal armed conflict in the Republic of Sudan and called for an end to the ongoing violence.
“The conflict has led to massive humanitarian consequences. Thousands of civilians have been killed, millions have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Nearly 700,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries,” the experts said.
While calling on both parties to the conflict to end violations of humanitarian and human rights law, the experts expressed specific concern at consistent reports of widespread violations by the RSF, including reports that women and girls have been subjected to enforced disappearance and acts tantamount thereto, forced to work, and sexually exploited. Reportedly, hundreds of women have been detained by the RSF, held in inhuman or degrading conditions, subjected to sexual assault, and are vulnerable to sexual slavery.
“Sudanese women and girls in urban centers as well as in Darfur have been particularly vulnerable to violence. The lives and safety of migrant and refugee women and girls, primarily from Eritrea and South Sudan, have also been seriously affected,” they said.
“It is alleged that men identified as members of the RSF are using rape and sexual violence of women and girls as tools to punish and terrorise communities. Some of the reported rapes appear to be ethnically and racially motivated,” the experts said.
The experts said that the capacity to support and tend to victims of violence has been significantly hampered by the fighting, which has impeded access to the victims, communities and areas affected by the conflict. They noted that it has been challenging for local and international actors to reach affected persons and those seeking or qualifying for international protection, and to provide assistance, including reproductive and sexual health care, and that there is evidence that local women human rights defenders have also been directly targeted.
The experts noted that despite the RSF’s declared zero-tolerance policy for sexual and gender-based violence, the commission of these alleged crimes, among others, have repeatedly been attributed to the RSF.
“The RSF must demonstrate its commitment to upholding humanitarian and human rights obligations, including preventing sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking in persons, facilitating humanitarian access and holding perpetrators accountable”, the experts said.
“Assistance and protection to victims and access to effective remedies must be provided to women and girls.”
The experts reminded all parties to the conflict that their combatants must strictly follow applicable international humanitarian and human rights law and urged the peaceful resolution of the conflict. They also called on the international community to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
ENDS
*The experts: Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences; Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Siobhán Mullally, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Surya Deva, Special Rapporteur on the right to development; Priya Gopalan (Chair-Rapporteur), Matthew Gillett (Vice-Chair on Communications), Ganna Yudkivska (Vice-Chair on Follow-Up), Miriam Estrada-Castillo, and Mumba Malila - Working Group on arbitrary detention; Aua Baldé (Chair-Rapporteur), Gabriella Citroni (Vice-Chair), Angkhana Neelapaijit, Grażyna Baranowska and Ana Lorena Delgadillo Perez - Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances; Alice Jill Edwards, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
Dorothy Estrada Tanck (Chair), Ivana Radačić (Vice-Chair), Elizabeth Broderick, Meskerem Geset Techane and Melissa Upreti - Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea; Mama Fatima Singhateh, Special Rapporteur on the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms. Ashwini. K.P. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Ravindran Daniel (Chair-Rapporteur), Sorcha MacLeod, Chris Kwaja, Carlos Salazar Couto, Working Group on the use of mercenaries; Paula Gaviria Betancur, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons.
The experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page – Republic of Sudan
For additional information,, please contact hrc-sr-vaw@un.org.
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