Home | News    Saturday 25 September 2004

Sudan in denial over Darfur rapes - UN official

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Sudan is in denial about the extent of rape in refugee camps in its traumatized Darfur region where fear and distrust of the government is pervasive, the United Nations’ top human rights official said on Saturday.

JPEG - 11.7 kb
Women pray in a makeshift mosque

Aid officials in Darfur say many women are raped or attacked when they leave the camps to collect firewood, vital to cook food and for trade.

"I think the government as a whole is in denial about the scale and the severity of the problem," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Saturday after a week-long trip to the remote west of Sudan.

"I don’t believe that it is credible to believe that the women who are coming forward are fabricating stories that would bring this amount of shame and stigmatization upon themselves. It’s bizarre," she told reporters in Khartoum.

Government officials admit there is some rape, but deny a systematic problem, saying many women exaggerate their stories.

"There is a credible base of evidence that there is a severe, severe, serious amount of sexual violence that is not being properly addressed," Arbour said.

"There is a serious gap or disconnect between the perception of the reality on the ground by the government and the perception of that reality by everybody else."

After years of low-level conflict between Arab nomads and non-Arab farmers over scarce resources in arid Darfur, African tribal rebels launched a revolt accusing Khartoum of neglect and arming marauding Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, to loot and burn non-Arab villages.

Nearly 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes and 50,000 people killed in 19 months of fighting.

The government admits arming some militias to fight the rebels but denies any links to the Janjaweed, calling them outlaws.

The United States has said the Darfur violence constitutes genocide.

Juan Mendez, the U.N. secretary-general’s special advisor on the prevention of genocide who traveled with Arbour, said he was not looking for signs of genocide on this mission, but how to ensure security for refugees within Darfur.

"We did look for a means by which whatever is happening or has happened will not in the future deteriorate into genocide," he said.

Arbour said she would be recommending an increased international presence on the ground, in various capacities, and more African Union monitors with a wider mandate.

Currently about 150 AU observers, with 300 troops to protect them, monitor a shaky April cease-fire, which has been violated 20 times in the past month alone.

She said there was a "prevailing atmosphere of fear and distrust" in the camps she described in a statement as "prisons without walls" and that people were not ready to go home, despite government reports that thousands had voluntarily made the journey.

But Mendez said some people had been driven home out of desperation. In one village, he said people had returned after spending two months without receiving aid in a camp near the capital of West Darfur state.

"They chose to go back to a dangerous situation because it was the only way that they could feed their children and feed themselves," he said.

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


The Position of the SPLM-N on Relief Delivery Same Wine, Old Bottles! 2018-02-18 06:50:42 By Elwathig Kameir On January 19, 2017, I published an article titled “Armed Struggle and Civil Resistance in Sudan: Catch 22,” from which I quote the following opening paragraphs (from i to iii): (...)

Without meaningful change Sudan will descend into chaos 2018-02-16 11:14:31 Economic failures, armed conflicts, and power struggles within the regime have pushed Sudan towards a tipping point By Ahmed H Adam Sudan's political crisis has reached its worst since the coup (...)

What to do with Salah? 2018-02-14 05:39:22 By Magdi El Gizouli In a flattering piece from 1973 the New York Times picked up one of Jafaar Nimayri’s nicknames. Sudan's president from 1969 to 1985 was known as “Sartana”, the hero of a series (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Petition for release of Agou John Wuoi from prison 2018-02-15 20:45:31 Open letter to South Sudan President Salva Kiir Your Excellency, Kindly please permit me to take this rare opportunity to appreciate you for every effort you have made toward making South Sudan (...)

AUHIP Communiqué on Sudan & SPLM-N talks for cessation of hostilities agreement 2018-02-05 13:04:16 African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan Joint Statement on Unilateral Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Completion of Negotiations 1) With the facilitation (...)

South Sudanese rights group call to release political detainees 2017-12-10 07:50:31 THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: 10 DECEMBER 2017: SSHURSA CALLS ON ALL TO ACTION FOR SOUTH SUDANESE The 10 December usually marks the international human rights day. SSHURSA notes with (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.