Sudan: Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences

July 18, 2004

Sudan: Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences

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"In February 2004, I abandoned my house because of the conflict. I met six Arabs in the bush, I wanted to take my spear to defend my family, they threatened me with a weapon and I had to stop. The six men raped my daughter, who is 25 years old, in front of me, my wife and the young children." H., a man from Magarsa in the Masalit region of Western Darfur

Several testimonies report abductions during the flight. It seems that it is mainly women and children who are abducted. In most cases the whereabouts of those abducted are not known. Amnesty International received more than fifty names of people who have "not been seen again" after being abducted by Janjawid.

3.4 Rapes in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settlements in Darfur

According to reports by independent sources and satellite photos(29) from the region, it appears that most of the rural villages inhabited by the farming population of Darfur have been burnt to the ground and their populations forcibly displaced. But attacks on civilians, in particular on the population internally displaced by the conflict, are continuing. The IDP population, who have largely gathered at the periphery of the towns and large villages of the region, are restricted in their movement by Janjawid groups who patrol outside the camps and settlements. Men do not leave the settlements for fear of being killed; women who have ventured outside the camps in order to fetch desperately needed wood, food or water, have been raped and harassed. Some of the IDPs who have spoken out against abuses during visits by foreign UN or government officials were killed by the Janjawid or arrested and held incommunicado by the government national security forces or the military intelligence. The internally displaced population is consequently being held in what amount to virtual prisons, and is effectively being denied the right to freedom of movement. Such violence against civilians not only breaches international human rights standards but also often appears to be an intentional attempt to humiliate and destroy the social fabric of the communities attacked.

M. a 47-year-old man from Nan Kursei, a village in the district of Garsila told Amnesty International in Chad:

"The population of more than 30 villages escaped to Garsila and there we were held in IDP camps. In Garsila it is like this: the army barracks are outside the town. Inside the town there is a big camp for the Janjawid, there is the National Security and the Police and then there are more than 21,000 IDPs. The government prevents them from coming to Chad. They want to leave this place in Garsila. The government people said: "There is peace now. There is a delegation coming and we want you to go back to your villages, there is no danger now you have to go back". The Janjawid prevent people from leaving Garsila, it is surrounded by Janjawid. They killed more than 60 people who tried to escape, you can see the bodies, they did not allow us to bury the dead, the bodies are still there around Garsila.

There was one woman, Rusonga, she refused to be raped, she hit a Janjawid and then he shot her. In Garsila the women wanted to bring firewood and water and many were raped by Janjawid. On our way to Garsila the Janjawid tried to rape my wife. I managed to catch her and nothing happened"

The United Nations Inter-Agency Fact Finding and Rapid Assessment Mission(30) reports on 25 April 2004, after visiting the town of Kailek in South Darfur: