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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3.1 Rape, torture and other forms of sexual violence in Darfur

A., aged 37, from Mukjar told Amnesty International how the Janjawid had raped and humiliated women:

"When we tried to escape they shot more children. They raped women; I saw many cases of Janjawid raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish."

Amnesty International has received numerous reports of rapes and other forms of sexual violence committed by the Janjawid. The Sudanese women interviewed by Amnesty International in Chad were very reluctant to talk about rape, for fear of being ostracized by their communities and families. Men would talk about cases of rape in a very general way, not giving specific details of how, when and how often rape had been used against women. It would appear that violence against women - and rape in particular - is mainly committed by the Janjawid. However the government army is present in many cases. The Janjawid have acted with full impunity and with the full knowledge or acquiescence of the government army.

Rape as a form of humiliation

In many cases the Janjawid have raped women in public, in the open air, in front of their husbands, relatives or the wider community. Rape is first and foremost a violation of the human rights of women and girls; in some cases in Darfur, it is also clearly used to humiliate the woman, her family and her community.

"There was also another rape on a young single girl aged 17: M. was raped by six men in front of her house in front of her mother. M's brother, S., was then tied up and thrown into fire." H., a 35-year-old Fur man from Mukjar.

"In July 2003, the Arabs raped M, 14, on the market square and threatened to shoot on the witnesses if they tried to intervene. They also raped other girls in the bush." S., a 28 year old Zaghawa woman from Habila region.

Gang rapes have also been reported. On 11 March 2004, a report by the UN Darfur Task Force Situation stated:

"UNICEF has completed a child protection survey in Tawila. The report confirms a host of disturbing findings from the recent inter-agency mission, including a very large number of rape cases, in one case targeting 41 school girls and teachers, gang rape of minors by up to 14 men, abduction of children and women as well as killings of many civilians"

Tawila, a small town surrounded by villages, located not far from Al-Fashir, was attacked by the Janjawid on 27 February 2004. Further allegations were made that the women who were gang-raped in Tawila had been branded.

Rape of pregnant women

Pregnant women have not been spared. Amnesty International was also told of one case when the Janjawid intentionally killed a woman because she was pregnant.

One 18-year old women from Muray, was raped and subsequently lost her baby.

S., from Disa, was raped by a soldier despite being pregnant. She is now the mother of four children, having given birth recently to the boy she was carrying while she was raped.

"I was with another woman, Aziza, aged 18, who had her stomach slit on the night we were abducted. She was pregnant and was killed as they said: "it is the child of an enemy."A woman of Irenga ethnicity from the village of Garsila

Torture and killings in the context of sexual violence

In some cases, women who have resisted rapes were reportedly beaten, stabbed or killed. I., a Zaghawa man from Miski, in the district of Kutum, told Amnesty International: