Sudan 'overlooked rapes'


Summary

The UN's top human rights office has released new details of the rapes, reportedly carried out by soldiers and government militia.

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"The abuses may also constitute war crimes," said the report by the office of Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Members of the Sudanese armed forces and allied militiamen allegedly subjected around 50 women to multiple rapes and other forms of violence in an attack on the village of Deribat in late December, it said, adding that they abducted many children.

Deribat was one of nine villages attacked in the eastern Jebel Marra region of Darfur at the time, it said, adding that 36 civilians were killed and many people were driven from their homes.

"Interviews indicate that the abducted women were systematically raped," said yesterday's report, which was compiled by a team of UN human rights investigators.

Armed forces blamed

Testimony from victims indicated that the attacks were committed by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated groups, the report said.

Ms Arbour's office urged the Sudanese government to "establish an independent body to investigate abduction, rape and sexual slavery committed in the region," and said the suspects should be brought to justice.

The office said in a report last April that the military and its allies have been using rape as part of a wider assault on people belonging to the same ethnic group as some Darfuri rebels.

The report said UN representatives presented the initial findings to local authorities in Darfur, but "no investigations were carried out by the authorities," it said.

Sudanese government reaction was not immediately available.

Daughter witnessed rape

The report said a woman who had been abducted from Deribat with her 16-year-old daughter described how the women were raped in front of each other.

Those who resisted would be beaten with sticks, the report said.

The women suffered physical injuries and psychological trauma from the repeated rapes by many of the attackers, the report said.

"A number of women became pregnant as a result of the rape," posing a further health risk to them, it said.

The women were forced to cook and serve food to their abductors, but received only leftovers to eat, according to the report.

Darfur has been the scene of a bloody four-year conflict between government-backed militias and rebel forces that has so far seen more than 200,000 people killed and at least 2.5 million driven from their homes, according to UN estimates.


The UN's top human rights office has released new details of the rapes, reportedly carried out by soldiers and government militia.

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"The abuses may also constitute war crimes," said the report by the office of Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Members of the Sudanese armed forces and allied militiamen allegedly subjected around 50 women to multiple rapes and other forms of violence in an attack on the village of Deribat in late December, it said, adding that they abducted many children.

Deribat was one of nine villages attacked in the eastern Jebel Marra region of Darfur at the time, it said, adding that 36 civilians were killed and many people were driven from their homes.

"Interviews indicate that the abducted women were systematically raped," said yesterday's report, which was compiled by a team of UN human rights investigators.

Armed forces blamed

Testimony from victims indicated that the attacks were committed by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated groups, the report said.

Ms Arbour's office urged the Sudanese government to "establish an independent body to investigate abduction, rape and sexual slavery committed in the region," and said the suspects should be brought to justice.

The office said in a report last April that the military and its allies have been using rape as part of a wider assault on people belonging to the same ethnic group as some Darfuri rebels.

The report said UN representatives presented the initial findings to local authorities in Darfur, but "no investigations were carried out by the authorities," it said.

Sudanese government reaction was not immediately available.

Daughter witnessed rape

The report said a woman who had been abducted from Deribat with her 16-year-old daughter described how the women were raped in front of each other.

Those who resisted would be beaten with sticks, the report said.

The women suffered physical injuries and psychological trauma from the repeated rapes by many of the attackers, the report said.

"A number of women became pregnant as a result of the rape," posing a further health risk to them, it said.

The women were forced to cook and serve food to their abductors, but received only leftovers to eat, according to the report.

Darfur has been the scene of a bloody four-year conflict between government-backed militias and rebel forces that has so far seen more than 200,000 people killed and at least 2.5 million driven from their homes, according to UN estimates.