THE SEX TRADE ►Prostitution ►Pornography ►Sex Trafficking TACKLING DEMAND RELATED ISSUES ►Rape ►Rape and War ►Sexual Denigration MEN SPEAKING OUT

Sudan: Amnesty condemns rapes

Publish Date: 19 Jul 2004
Source: CNN

Amnesty condemns Sudan rapes

BEIRUT, Lebanon (Reuters) -- Arab militias in Sudan are gang-raping and abducting girls as young as eight and women as old as 80, systematically killing, torturing, or using them as sex slaves, an Amnesty International report said on Monday.

Militias known as Janjaweed, which rights groups say are backed by the government, have been fighting rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region since last year, triggering one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

"When we tried to escape they shot more children," one woman identified only as A. told Amnesty researchers.

"They raped women, I saw many cases of Janjaweed raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell us that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish."

As many as 30,000 people have been killed in Darfur and more than a million displaced, their homes bombed by government planes, their crops stolen.

In a report called "Rape as a Weapon of War," Amnesty outlines sexual violence against women it says is happening on a massive scale. It says Khartoum is actively violating its legal obligations to protect civilians.

"Soldiers of the Sudan government army are present during attacks by the Janjaweed and when rapes are committed, but the Sudan government has done nothing so far to stop them," Amnesty researcher Benedicte Goderiaux told a news conference.

Darfur's rebels accuse the government of arming the Arab Janjaweed to loot and burn African villages in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Khartoum denies the charge.

The Sudan embassy in Beirut said in a statement that the Amnesty report was aimed at defaming the government, distorting Arab culture and driving a wedge between Sudan's ethnic groups.

Sexual slavery

The Amnesty report, launched in Beirut and Nairobi, details gang rapes, public rapes, killings of those who resist rape, abductions for sexual slavery, and cases where women and girls have had their legs broken to stop them running away.

It is based on hundreds of testimonies collected from refugees in camps in Chad. Although the sample of victims was limited, Amnesty said it pointed to widespread abuse.

The London-based group said rebels fighting the Janjaweed may also have raped civilians, but facts were limited.

One woman was five months pregnant when the Janjaweed abducted her and eight others during an attack in July.

"After six days some of the girls were released. But the others, as young as eight years old, were kept there," she said.

"Five to six men would rape us in rounds, one after the other for hours during six days every night. My husband could not forgive me after this, he disowned me."

Efforts to end the crisis through negotiations are in tatters after rebels stormed out of peace talks last week. They said they would only meet government delegates when Khartoum fulfilled promises including disarming the Janjaweed.

Amnesty called for an end to the conflict, better protection of civilians, Janjaweed disarmament, trials for those carrying out the attacks and an international commission of inquiry to examine war crimes in Darfur.

A separate conflict in Sudan between the government and southern rebels has killed around two million people in the past two decades. Peace negotiations have brought it close to an end.

Copyright © 2004
Related article