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Women in the middle of the War

The war- torn Darfur, like in many crisis situations, women and young children are vulnerable to various form of violence including rape and sexual harassment.

Women in Darfur end up shouldering the burden of losing family member, displacement, identity crisis and insecurity. They struggle to keep their families, communities and identify intact in order to survive despite the armed conflict. The conflict in Darfur has brought to light regions massive violations against women, women and girls are experiencing and beating by militia inside their farms and village as well as outside camps.

In this report, I will focus mainly on rape violence. Secondly I will also consider women human right defenders as have been ignored by International Community for so long.
According to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treatment almost five hundred (500) rape victims in numerous locations in South and Western Darfur”

Case by MSF / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

I was collecting water in the river bed outside Town when I was met by group of men in military uniform who asked me to bring them some water. I brought them some water but men through the water in my face. I went home carrying my buckets of water and those men followed me. When we were close to the village, they told me to come to their camp. I refused but they pulled me. My mother was around and asked them to stop. The men started to beat both of us. My mother fell down on the ground. One of the men took me aside and rapes me.

Woman, 28, 6 months pregnant at the time of the rape.

January -2005 western Darfur. Press release, 07/19/2004
"Some 15 women and girls were raped in different huts in the village. The Janjaweed broke the limbs of some women and girls to prevent them from escaping. The Janjaweed remained in the village for six to seven days."

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

Quotes from Sudanese refugees interviewed by Amnesty International

Girls as young as eight are being raped in Darfur, Sudan, and used as sex slaves. The mass rapes ongoing in Darfur are war crimes and crimes against humanity but the international community is doing very little to stop it, Amnesty International said, launching the report Rape as a weapon of war. That is one of the biggest issues in Darfur: the rapes, and crimes against women and children,"

Security for women human rights defenders

Although the security of women human rights defender’s is interrelated with the security of all human rights, we have decided to dedicate a specific chapter to the security of women human rights defenders, because experience in the field shows that it is not systematically mainstreamed. There are multiple reasons for this and, ultimately they mostly originate from the social, cultural and religious context. This is why we have elected to introduce the topic with a short compilation of comments gathered directly from experience in the field which highlights the convergence of interest and the
necessary collaboration between women and men human rights defenders.

Women have always been important stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights. However, their role is not always acknowledged. Women work on their own or alongside with men in the defense of human rights.

Unfortunately, too often, they face much violence outside their organizations but also gender prejudice and discrimination within human rights defender’s organizations themselves.
There is often an execute to “postpone” women’s rights on the agenda or make it an “ extraordinary” agenda item, as if there was a priority order instead of interdependence with human rights. This happens in mixed human rights defenders organization.

Sudanese official claim they are actively trying to prevent women raping. These claims are false. The Government bears responsibility to provide protection to women. Instead of protecting women of the Darfur, the Government of Sudan actuary oppresses them; punish those who bring case forward.

Sudanese forces have intermitting threatening the local civil society and staff who works for International Agencies. Many women human right defender has been arrested or deporting International Staff who dare to speak out.
As we all know that women are critically players in peace negotiation. Informal negotiation, they often ignore political and social issues. We have to ensure that the voice of the victims and civilians are heard. If women are actively involved peace agreement will be credible. Women help establishing positive relationship.

Overcoming challenges/ recommendation

Several challenges were encountered; the absence of the security in the region leading to interruption of the service in some center, wide spread of suspicions and absence of the trust among women living in the camp, short comings in Sudanese law on gender based violence that lead women to avoid reporting cases of violence for fear of reprisal, harassment of victims and their families by the local authorities when they attempt to report cases, and fair to bring criminal to court because many of them held power positions.

Towards better security and protection for women human rights defenders
Mainstreaming women’s participation In a nutshell, this means ensuring full participation by women alongside men in decision-making processes; putting women’s security issues on the agenda, and placing women on a par with men in the process of taking security precautions.

Awareness rising on any confusion between social, cultural, religion values and women rights, human rights.
On domestic violence against women which includes all physical, sexual and psychological harm occurring within the family, such as battering, material rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices which are harmful and a risk to women’s lives.

Concluding remarks.

Due to ongoing insecurity, it is difficult to arrive to accurate numbers. More method of data collection is needed due to absent of International NGOs big gap of women human right violation will take place. Therefore we need deploy more International NGOs to report what is going on the ground.

Comments

mystika802's picture

Thank you for sharing this.

Thank you for sharing this. It is such a tragedy that people can be victimized like this with no justice. I'm glad you shared your story, raising awareness to this issue and raising your voice for so many silenced women.

Zuhal Ahmed's picture

mystika802

Thank you very much for your comment,

Zuhal Ahmed
Norwegian Chuch Aid
South and West Darfur
skype: Zuhal Ahmed Abakar Fadl

JaniceW's picture

Tragic beyond words

Thank you for reminding us that Darfur continues to be unsafe for women and children. If you google "rape in Darfur", entries come up dating back to 2003. This is evidence that the problem never went away and if anything, that incident rates are even higher than before. The international community is not blind to the scale of sexual violence but their awareness has not translated into meaningful action. Even as some NGOs are expelled from the region for reporting on the violence, organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights continue to report on the devastating mental and physical effects the displacement and warfare have had on the health of girls and women who have been victims of rape.

For whatever reason, there is no willingness of the U.S. or Europe to address this most urgent humanitarian intervention and that is a tragedy. So long as the international community fails to provide a force in place for civilian protection, an intolerable number of women and girls will continue be raped. This brutal epidemic has not ended – the intimidation of NGOs and the absence of a free press has just pushed it off the front pages.

Zuhal Ahmed's picture

Tragic beyond words

dear JaniceW,
it's Obviously you have very good information about the situation in Darfur, thanks once again for you comment and hope to hear from you a gain.

Best regards

Zuhal Ahmed
Norwegian Chuch Aid
South and West Darfur
skype: Zuhal Ahmed Abakar Fadl

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