Home | Reports    Tuesday 3 July 2007

Sudan must rewrite laws to protect rape victims


Refugees International

Report on Sudanese Laws Exposes Unjust System that
Compounds Rape Victims’ Trauma

June 28, 200 — (Washington, DC) - Sudan’s laws governing rape expose rape victims to further abuse, shield perpetrators from prosecution, limit the ability for survivors to receive medical services and generally deny any access to justice, according to a detailed analysis by Refugees International. The crisis of rape in Sudan’s Darfur region can’t be addressed until Sudan revises its laws, says the report, Laws Without Justice: An Assessment of Sudanese Laws Affecting Survivors of Rape.

The Refugees International report examines Sudan’s laws on rape and makes a series of recommendations on how they can be revised. The report also encourages international support of Sudanese civil society organizations and opposition members of Parliament who are calling for changes to these laws. Laws Without Justice was written by Adrienne Fricke, an Arabic speaking lawyer, and Amira Khair, a Sudanese human rights advocate who has worked extensively with rape victims in Darfur, after extensive interviews and legal analysis in Sudan.

"Much has been written about the scale of rape in Darfur," Fricke said. "But unless we understand the legal mechanisms that are creating and reinforcing the problem, it will be impossible to bring justice to the victims or reduce the incidence of rape. Denying justice to these women only compounds the terrible physical and psychological trauma of rape."

Laws Without Justice resulted from a January meeting between Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. During this visit, the officials in Sudan’s Ministry of Justice extended an invitation to analyze the Government’s purported efforts to address sexual violence against Sudanese women. Refugees International president Ken Bacon, who was in the Richardson delegation, accepted this invitation, and Fricke and Khair, working as consultants to Refugees International, met in Khartoum in March to interview people with knowledge about the crisis of rape in Darfur. After a week, the Sudanese government turned uncooperative and gave 24 hours to leave the country.

"The Government of Sudan invited us to analyze its laws against rape," Bacon explained. "We accepted this invitation and despite the government’s efforts to block our study, we are now providing constructive steps that the Government can take to improve these laws and increase protections for women who have been raped. Sudan’s laws can be changed and there is a strong community of Sudanese activists calling for reforms who should be supported."

Rape of Darfuri women on a mass scale is one of the hallmarks of the conflict in Darfur. Analysts say it is part of a calculated plan to destroy communities and contributes directly to ethnic cleansing. If a woman cannot prove that she did not consent to intercourse, she can be accused of adultery - a crime that carries a sentence of one hundred lashes or even stoning?even if she was raped. Sudan’s laws also grant immunity to members of the military, security services, police and border guards. Many members of the Janjaweed militias that carry out the worst atrocities in Darfur are integrated in the Popular Defense Forces, which is also exempt from prosecution. The Government also continues to harass non- governmental organizations who work with rape victims and doctors who provide medical treatment to raped women.

Many legal and human rights experts in Sudan recognize the need to change these laws. Prominent Sudanese NGOs collaborated with the United Nations and recommended reforms to the Government of Sudan, and there is a concept paper being circulated in Parliament that addresses these reform proposals.

"There is nothing inherently Islamic about the way Sudan’s rape law is constructed," Fricke continued. "This report provides greater documentation on the implementation of Sudan’s laws relating to rape so that the Sudanese people can continue their efforts to change them. Women who have survived sexual violence should not be penalized for seeking justice."

In addition to urging international support for local Sudanese efforts to reform these laws, the report urges the African Union Mission in Sudan and UN Hybrid Peacekeeping Force to adopt a stronger mandate to protect women and girls and allocate sufficient resources and training to deal with survivors of sexual violence. The report also calls on international aid organizations to support rape awareness campaigns and work with local groups to improve community support for victims of sexual violence.

"Sudanese officials continue to deny that rape is a problem, and Refugees International repeats our call on the U.S. and the international community to implement tougher policies against the Government of Sudan - including stricter sanctions - to end the violence and rape in Darfur," Bacon concluded. "In addition to the massive suffering that the Darfuri people have endured throughout this four-year conflict, the violence threatens the stability of the entire region. More pressure must be put on the warring parties to end the fighting."

Attached the full text of Refugees International.

PDF - 859.2 kb
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.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Pragmatic patriarchy of Sudan over South Sudan 2018-09-22 09:28:17 James Okuk, PhD “We honour the human capacity to manage our collective lives with peace and even, at times, dignity” – Barbour & Wright The political process of Sudan and South Sudan has (...)

Salient features of South Sudan latest peace deal 2018-09-21 05:36:06 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi Last week, the government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir, various armed and unarmed opposition groups and other parties, including the SPLM/A-IO led by Dr (...)

Open letter to South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority 2018-09-19 04:05:10 By Telar Ring Deng On the cold morning of 9th September 2018, we were all in utter shock and bewilderment at the very tragic accident that occurred in Eastern Lakes State when a Plane crashed (...)


Latest Press Releases

Unity State community in Kenya supports Khartoum peace agreement 2018-08-17 08:33:21 PRESS STATMENT 14th Aug, 2018 Re: We shall Rally behind Khartoum Peace Agreement The Unity State Community Association in Kenya was established in 2010 to organize and mobilize the people of (...)

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.