Frank Johnson - Photojournalist
Frank Johnson - Photojournalist
By: Frank Johnson

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Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war

Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences




"I was sleeping when the attack on Disa started. I was taken away by the attackers, they were all in uniforms. They took dozens of other girls and made us walk for three hours. During the day we were beaten and they were telling us: "You, the black women, we will exterminate you, you have no god." At night we were raped several times. The Arabs(1) guarded us with arms and we were not given food for three days."

A female refugee from Disa [Masalit village, West Darfur], interviewed by Amnesty International delegates in Goz Amer camp for Sudanese refugees in Chad, May 2004
1. Introduction

In March 2004, Darfur, western Sudan, was described by the then United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, as the world's greatest humanitarian crisis". (2) Humanitarian organisations operating in Darfur are warning about malnutrition and famine in the region.(3) Today's "worst humanitarian crisis" has been directly caused by war crimes and crimes against humanity for which the Sudanese government is responsible.

The testimony of the Sudanese woman given above echoes hundreds of others, collected by Amnesty International, other human rights organisations, UN fact-finding missions and independent journalists. They all describe a pattern of systematic and unlawful attacks on civilians in North, West and South Darfur states, by a government-sponsored militia mostly referred to as "Janjawid"(armed men on horses) or "Arab militia" and by the government army, including through bombardments of civilian villages by the Sudanese Air Force. In these attacks, men are killed, women are raped and villagers are forcibly displaced from their homes which are burnt; their crops and cattle, their main means of subsistence, are burnt or looted. These massive attacks are the response of the Sudanese government to the insurgency of two armed political groups. These armed groups, mainly of Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnicity were founded in 2003.

The attacks have led to the displacement of at least 1.2 million persons. At least one million people have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) and been forced to move to the vicinity of towns or big villages in Darfur, and more than 170,000 have taken refuge across the border into Chad. Others, of which the exact number is unknown, are in hiding in mountains, valleys or areas held by armed political groups(4).

Massive human rights violations committed in the region include: extra-judicial executions, unlawful killings of civilians, torture, rapes, abductions, destruction of villages and property, looting of cattle and property, the destruction of the means of livelihood of the population attacked and forced displacement. These human rights violations have been committed in a systematic manner by the Janjawid, often in coordination with Sudanese soldiers and the Sudanese Air Force, with total impunity, and have targeted mainly members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups and other agro-pastoralist groups living in Darfur. Many of the crimes committed in Darfur constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity(5).

There is a large amount of information pointing at the responsibility of the Sudanese government in the human rights violations committed in Darfur. In addition to the military and logistical support and the impunity that it provides to the Janjawid, the Sudanese government has used a policy of repression to deal with the problems of Darfur. It has engaged in arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, "disappearances" and torture in order to punish human rights activists, lawyers, leaders and members of communities in Darfur. The Sudanese government has also used unfair and summary trials, using confessions sometimes extracted under torture without the right to defence, and applied cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, such as amputations, floggings and the death penalty.


1.1 Gender-based violence is an immediate concern

In May 2004 Amnesty International delegates returned to Chad(6) in order to obtain further information on the violence perpetrated against women in Darfur. At the time of writing this report the organization had not yet been granted visas to revisit Sudan.(7)In Chad, Amnesty International visited three of the refugee camps set up by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): Goz Amer, Kounoungo and Mile, where they obtained more than one hundred personal testimonies from refugees. In these camps, women appear to form the majority of the adult refugee population. The organisation was able to collect the names of 250 women who have been raped in the context of the conflict in Darfur and to collect information concerning an estimated 250 further rapes. This information was collected from testimonies of individuals who represent only a fragment of those displaced by the conflict. Other human rights violations which have specifically targeted women and girls are: abductions, sexual slavery, torture and forced displacement. Amnesty International also examines in this document the consequences of the violence perpetrated against women, such as social stigmatisation, the consequences on their economic, social and health rights, and the destruction of the social fabric of their communities.

Caption
[Shelter, Mile refugee camp, eastern Chad ©AI]

The testimonies collected have made clear that the majority of the women who have been raped have, for several reasons, stayed in Darfur or at the Sudan-Chad border; relatively few have made the journey to the UNHCR-run refugee camps in Chad. There is, in addition, considerable hesitation among the women of speaking openly about sexual violence. This report can therefore only present a fraction of the reality of violence against women in the context of the current crisis in Darfur. However, the testimonies collected, combined with the reports of sexual violence collected by the UN, independent journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Darfur, indicates beyond doubt that the occurrence of rape and other forms of sexual violence is widespread(. The rapes and other sexual violence in Darfur constitute grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Abuses against women are an integral part of the conflict and are too often neglected. They must urgently be taken into account in the Sudanese government and the international community's responses to the crisis. Amnesty International is urging all parties to the conflict to immediately cease perpetrating violence on women and for those who have committed these crimes to be brought to justice in fair trials, without the possibility of the death penalty. Amnesty International is further calling for the urgent provision of medical and psychological care to women affected by violence in Darfur and Chad, measures to enable the communities affected to minimise stigma of these women and work for the reintegration of survivors, and preventive measures to reduce the suffering of women in the longer-term.

1.2 Immediate actions needed

While the priority of the international community is, rightly, to save the lives of more than a million IDPs in Darfur and more than 170,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, Amnesty International is of the opinion that humanitarian aid will not succeed in containing the crisis unless civilians, including women and girls, in Darfur and at the border in Chad are given adequate and effective protection. In some cases IDPs in Darfur have refused to accept food and non-food aid items, because they said that would make them the target of further attacks by government-sponsored militia. Moreover, the majority of IDPs live in spontaneous camps and settlements around the cities or large villages of Darfur, where they continue to be the target of attacks, killings, rapes and harassment by the Janjawid whose presence is reported in the cities or at the periphery of the IDP camps. One person who lived for three months as an IDP in the town of Mukjar in Darfur, before moving on to Khartoum said: "it is not a camp, it is a prison". The delivery of aid to IDPs in Darfur must be accompanied by robust measures to protect civilians, so as not to increase the vulnerability they already experience as a result of their displacement, and should in particular seek actively to reduce discrimination against women, not to reinforce its effects or to intensify existing stigma and discrimination.

The Sudanese government has not only failed in its duty to protect civilians, it has also actively violated its legal obligations to protect civilians. Amnesty International repeats the calls it has made to the Sudanese government to immediately stop all attacks against civilians; to cease all support to and disarm the Janjawid militia and put them in a position where they can no longer attack the civilian population; to provide unfettered access to all humanitarian organisations; to allow human rights monitors and human rights organisations into the region; and to allow independent investigations of the massive human rights violations committed by members of the Janjawid militia and of its own armed forces and bring to justice all those suspected to be responsible.

At present, there is no political solution in sight to the conflict in Darfur other than a fragile ceasefire which has been violated on a number of occasions since its signing on 8 April 2004 in N'djamena in Chad. While an African Union (AU) ceasefire monitoring force, supported by the international community, is established in Darfur(9), its mandate does not explicitly include the protection of civilians. On 6 July, The African Union announced the deployment in Darfur of a protection force; this force will be mandated to protect the ceasefire monitors, not the civilians displaced by the conflict. Independent human rights monitors are needed immediately in the region to contribute to verify and to report publicly on violence against civilians. The monitoring team must include people with gender expertise and their mandate must include the monitoring of violence against women. Furthermore the international community must put in place effective mechanisms to assist women affected by the violence and measures to reverse the destruction of the social fabric of communities in Darfur.

Most of the Janjawid are now reportedly incorporated into the Popular Defence Forces, a government paramilitary force, and the Sudanese army. Amnesty International is receiving increasing information that the Janjawid are occupying some of the villages whose population has been forcibly displaced. One issue of urgent and crucial importance is the need to ensure the voluntary return of all refugees and internally displaced persons to their land and villages in conditions of safety, dignity, sustainability and respect for their human rights. Farmers have already missed the planting season this year, which means that the whole region will be dependent on humanitarian assistance for its survival for at least another year. It is clear that the international community will need committed, long-term and sustained engagement in the region, in order to reverse the course of another massive displacement on the African continent.


2. Background


2.1 Taking up arms in Sudan

In February 2003, a new armed insurgent group, calling itself the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and composed mainly of members of the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit ethnic groups of Darfur emerged and attacked government targets. In April 2003 another insurgent group emerged, calling itself the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The two armed groups demanded the end of the marginalization of Darfur and more protection for the settled population, which they claimed to represent. Their motives were connected to the exclusive character of the north-south peace negotiations of Sudan, which they claim has left them out and showed them that "Khartoum only talks to those who have arms."(10)

These peace negotiations are conducted, under international mediation, between the Sudanese government and the leadership of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the main armed political group in southern Sudan which has been at war with the central government for more than 20 years. The negotiations, conducted in Kenya, have been continuing since July 2002 and have come to a preliminary end with the signing by both parties of a number of important protocols(11). However the exclusive character of the peace process has, at the same time, triggered feelings amongst the population in other areas of Sudan of being left out of important power and wealth sharing agreements for the future of the country. The logic of "militarization", dominant in most Sudanese elite circles, has led the leaders of today's armed opposition groups in Darfur to the conclusion that they would only be represented in the transitional government and in the political future of Sudan if they would take up arms and fight the central government. Their demands include full representation in power and politics in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

There have been reports of abuses and torture, including rape, by members of the SLA and JEM but due to the restrictions on access to the area, including those imposed by lack of security, it is difficult to collect more evidence on the human rights abuses reportedly committed by the insurgents(12). One report of rape by members of armed opposition groups committed against women from communities thought to support the Janjawid was reported by a German journalist. Osman Adam Mahmud, the sheikh of the Tarjem who had fled from attacks by the armed groups, told her that the rebels had attacked Kuala village twice, killing 12 people, destroying their goods and raping some women. The group now live in Mosai, an IDP camp of some 12 huts near Nyala(13). However, this is the only case Amnesty International has yet received of rape by members of armed opposition groups. During the two visits of Amnesty International to Sudanese refugee camps in Chad(14), refugees hardly mentioned the presence or actions of the SLA/M or JEM in their area. Despite seeking information on all rape and sexual violence, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, Amnesty International did not receive any information in Chad on rapes or other forms of sexual violence committed by armed political groups in Darfur. As a result this report focuses solely on sexual violence committed by the Janjawid and government armed forces.

This does not mean that the insurgents do not commit human rights abuses. It may be because they do not happen on a large scale or because the refugees that Amnesty International met were not victims of such attacks or because the refugees would only report violations by those they perceived as their aggressors. Amnesty International asked the Sudanese authorities to provide information regarding abuses by the SLA and JEM. The Sudan government has listed a number of ceasefire violations by the SLA and JEM, which Amnesty International has not been able to investigate. In some cases it appears that the insurgents have put the lives of civilians at risk. Refugees have reported the presence of SLA and JEM among civilians or fighting between Government forces and insurgents before or after attacks against civilians(15). Allegations of possible serious abuses of international humanitarian law by the two armed opposition groups in Darfur include attacks on civilians and civilian villages(16); unlawful killings(17); and the taking of hostages, including relief workers(18).

When Amnesty International put these allegations to an SLA leader during his visit to the UK in June 2004, he answered that the SLA was attacking government targets; in the case of Buram, the SLA stated that the Janjawid had arrived to reinforce government troops and had then attacked the hospital in Buram, apparently thinking that they would find wounded SLA fighters in the building. Regarding the taking of hostages, including relief workers, he answered that, if the SLA was alerted of the arrival of relief convoys, it would ensure coordination and protection of these convoys, and that the SLA had briefly detained relief workers in the belief that government agents were amongst them. On all the allegations, he answered that further investigation was needed to clarify responsibility for human rights abuses and that Amnesty International and other human rights organisations should go to Darfur to "see for themselves" and independently investigate these allegations.


2. 2 The military response of the government

The central government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir came to power in a military coup in 1989 backed by the National Islamic Front of Hassan al-Turabi. Hassan al-Turabi, former speaker of Parliament under the current government, was removed from power in 1999 and created his own political party, the Popular Congress, a rival faction of the National Congress, the state party.

By April 2003, after an attack by the SLA on the airport of Al-Fashir, which killed some 70 members of the Sudanese army and destroyed several planes, the Sudanese government had decided to respond to the Darfur problem by military force. The central government has accused Hassan al-Turabi of backing the JEM, one of the two armed political groups in Darfur and arrested him in February 2004(19). He is, like many of his supporters, held incommunicado in Khartoum and has not been charged. Hassan al-Turabi claims that he supports "spiritually" the JEM but that he does not provide it with logistical support.

To counter the rebellion in Darfur, the government has used the Janjawid, a militia composed of members of nomadic groups and "bandits". Encouraging specific groups to fight against those who have taken up arms against Khartoum and whose actions are condoned and given impunity, is a recurrent strategy of the central government in Sudan. It was used by the government throughout the 21-year-old conflict with the SPLM/A in the south of the country. Former President of Sudan Sadiq al-Mahdi armed mainly nomadic groups of the Rizeiqat and Miseriya tribes from Darfur in the mid-1980s, which acted as a counter-insurgency proxy force in Bahr al-Ghazal. These militias, called murahilin, appeared to have been given a free rein to raid villages suspected of supporting the southern rebellion, abducting people and looting cattle and goods as a reward. Many of those abducted in the region of northern Bahr al-Ghazal have subsequently been used as domestic workers, field labourers or cattle herders, often for no pay and in slavery-like conditions(20).

This strategy allows the central government to control large groups of civilians, by spreading fear amongst them and reinforcing repression and is apparently aimed at collectively punishing the communities from which armed groups emerge. The government used specific groups to fight a proxy war not only against armed political groups, but also and largely against the civilian population. The government then denied responsibility for the atrocities committed and implemented a counterinsurgency tactic of divide and rule which has destabilized the social structure of communities. Sexual violence, including rapes and abductions were perpetrated by these groups and all parties to the conflict in southern Sudan.

Darfur village burned and attacked ©WFP/Marcus Prior

Under Sudanese President Nimeiri, the Zaghawas from Darfur were armed in order to support the regime of Hissein Habré in Chad, against Libya, who in response armed nomadic tribes in Darfur.(21) There were already signs of a military response in Darfur, through the proclamation of a state of emergency in the region and the creation of special courts in 2001 and the unequal treatment between nomadic and settled groups regarding their arming for self-defence purpose.(22) Traditional mechanisms of reconciliation between ethnic groups which might have defused the situation were bypassed in this repressive policy.


Gender-based violence The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women states in Article 1:
"the term 'violence against women' means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

It states in Article 2:

"Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs."

General Recommendation 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women states that:

"Gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women's ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men."

In Article 7, it goes on to state:

"Gender-based violence, which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms under general international law or under human rights conventions, is discrimination within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention."

In addition, women disproportionately suffer from the consequences of fleeing conflicts because they form the majority of the refugee and IDP population.(23)

The definition of discrimination includes gender-based violence. Violence against women is a form of gender-based violence. It is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately. It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty.

Acts are not necessarily identifiable as gender-based in isolation, but require an assessment of how particular acts affect women in comparison with men. There are also specific acts which are commonly gender-based.

According to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, violence that is gender-based results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women.

It includes:

- threats
- coercion
- arbitrary deprivation of liberty wherever it takes place
- it can occur in public or in private life equally
Some of the elements that may be examined to determine whether an act of violence is gender-based include:

- cause or motive: for example, distinctly expressed gender insults during violence
- circumstances or context: for example, abuse of women of a certain group within an armed conflict
- the act itself, the form a violation takes: for example, overtly sexual acts, forced nudity, mutilation of sexual parts of the body
- the consequences of a violation: pregnancy; shame and secondary victimization by the survivor's community because "honour" has been transgressed
- the availability and accessibility of remedies, and difficulties in securing a remedy, for example, difficulties for women in accessing legal remedies because of lack of legal aid, need of male family member support, need to concentrate on care of dependents and lack of appropriate healthcare


3. Violence against women in Darfur


"In May 2003, they dropped bombs from Antonovs on our cattle and on our huts. We were hiding near the village and were going back to the village at night to sleep there until June/July. Then they attacked the village. It was in the morning, I was preparing breakfast when I saw them coming. They started shooting. They came with horses and cars and they were all in uniforms. They killed my husband Musa Harun Arba, I ran and left the village. I took my three children and two children of my neighbour and we ran to Hara, the village in the valley. Then we went to Abu Liha where we stayed for two days and from there to Bamina. The Janjawid found us on the way. Antonovs bombarded us and killed three people. We were many on the run and some people were caught by Janjawid. Nine girls and two boys were taken by Janjawid. They took one of my uncles with his son, Khidder Ibrahim. We do not know what happened to these people." H., a woman aged 27 from Amnatay village in Kabkabiya district, reporting a series of attacks she was subjected to.

Violence against women is occurring in a context of systematic human rights violations against civilians in Darfur. The grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by the Janjawid and the Sudanese army against civilians have targeted men, women and children indiscriminately. Women have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, bombed, raped, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced. Children have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced; girls have, like women, been the particular target of rapes, abductions and sexual slavery.
Refugees from North Darfur have reported frequent aerial bombardments by the Antonov planes and shelling by the helicopter gunships of the Sudanese government, before, during or after ground attacks by the Janjawid and government forces. In South and West Darfur, fewer aerial bombardments were reported, although they occurred, and civilians were more largely the target of ground attacks. In Masalit areas, villagers have sometimes been "deceived" by the Janjawid, who had told village leaders that there was no risk, and then attacked them.

Men have often seemed to be the primary target for summary killings in the context of attacks (24). In some attacks on villages, people have been treated differently according to their gender: men were taken away and then executed by the Janjawid, while women were shot when trying to escape from the village. In May 2004, Amnesty International collected further testimonies about extra-judicial executions and mass killings in several locations, including Murli, Mukjar, Deleij and Kereinek. These testimonies confirmed information already received and published by the organization. Amnesty International has a list of names of more than 400 people who appeared to have been extra- judicially executed in Darfur, including in the context of reported mass executions during an attack on Mukjar in August 2003.(25)


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:


"At 7am in August 2003, our village was surrounded by the Janjawid; we heard machine guns and most of the people ran away, some were killed while trying to escape. My sister, M., aged 43, was captured by the military and the Janjawid. They tried to sleep with her. She resisted, I was present and could hear her: "I will not do something like this even if you kill me" and they immediately killed her. Other people were also present when this happened."

In other cases, the Janjawid have tortured women in order to force them to tell where their husbands were hiding. Forms of torture reportedly included: putting the face of women between two wooden sticks and pressing hard or pulling out the nails of women. F., aged around 50, from Kondilay â?? a place not far from Kabkabiya â?? was flogged by the attackers and had her fingers broken when they tried to pull her nails out. Pulling out of nails during interrogations was often mentioned by female refugees.
Some women also reported the Janjawid breaking the legs of victims of rape in order to prevent them from escaping. N., a 30-year-old woman from Um Baru, told Amnesty International delegates in the camp of Konoungou:


"The attack took place at 8am on 29 February 2004 when soldiers arrived by car, camels and horses. The Janjawid were inside the houses and the soldiers outside. Some 15 women and girls who had not fled quickly enough were raped in different huts in the village. The Janjawid broke the limbs (arms or legs) of some women and girls to prevent them from escaping. The Janjawid remained in the village for six or seven days. After the rapes, the Janjawid looted the houses."

She gave a list of names of the women who were raped during the attack.

Rape, abductions and sexual slavery

Women and girls have been abducted during attacks and forced to stay with the Janjawid in military camps or hideouts. Several testimonies collected by Amnesty International contain clear cases of sexual slavery; torture appears to have sometimes been used as a tactic to prevent women held as sexual slaves from escaping.


"They took K.M., who is 12 years old in the open air. Her father was killed by the Janjawid in Um Baru, the rest of the family ran away and she was captured by the Janjawid who were on horse back. More than six people used her as a wife; she stayed with the Janjawid and the military more than 10 days. K, another woman who is married, aged 18, ran away but was captured by the Janjawid who slept with her in the open place, all of them slept with her. She is still with them. A, a teacher, told me that they broke her leg after raping her."A., a 66- year-old farmer from Um Baru in the district of Kutum.

N., a 30-year-old woman from the village of Disa in the Masalit area of western Darfur, told Amnesty International delegates how she was abducted and subjected to gang rape after an attack by government forces and the Janjawid on her village. She and her 15-year-old sister fled when the attack happened but were caught by soldiers in uniforms. She refused to follow them, reportedly accusing them of having already killed children. The soldiers reportedly beat her up and she was taken away by force. She had to walk with them for three hours. She received no food for three days. She was taken to a place in the bush and beaten up and raped several times at night. She said that several groups of Arabs had taken away several groups of women. She gave a list of names of the women reportedly abducted.
K. from Kenyu, aged 15, was reportedly abducted on 15 January 2004 and raped by several men. She was later found with two serious wounds on her head and a crippled leg, apparently from blows inflicted on her knee. The wound on her leg was putrescent when she was found five days after her abduction; she had been abandoned by her abductors.

In the same camp two women, M., a 40-year-old woman and N., aged 17, both from the village of Kibbash in the region of Silaya reported to Amnesty International having been abducted and gang-raped by the Janjawid:


"The Janjawid held women in different huts. The children ran away but some were caught by the Janjawid: they abducted five of them; three boys aged two, four and six, and two girls, aged five and six. The Janjawid took me away, bound my hands in the back and took me along with four other girls in the wadi.
In the wadi I saw some 20 other women, their hands and feet tied, who had arrived on the same day. We received some water and rice. During the day, most of the Janjawid left the wadi to loot the neighbouring villages and at night they came back to the wadi where they raped the girls in turn. Some 50 Janjawid stayed in the camp during the day. I did not see government soldiers in the wadi."


S. from Silaya, near Kulbus, was five months pregnant when she was abducted by the Janjawid with eight other women during an attack on 24 July 2003. Some of the girls who were abducted were reportedly as young as eight years old. According to S.:

"After six days some of the girls were released. But the others, as young as eight years old(26) were kept there. Five to six men would rape us in rounds, one after the other for hours during six days, every night. My husband could not forgive me after this, he disowned me."

Another refugee woman in Konoungou camp, K., aged 23, from Ibek, mother of three children, told Amnesty International how she was abducted with two other women and one man, the husband of one of the women.

"On the first night I had to endure five men who raped me, the second night I was raped by three men. The third night I managed to escape with one of the others. I do not know what happened to the third women, the wife of I. who was with us."

I, the husband of the missing woman, who was abducted with her, is 36. His 11- month-old child was killed before his eyes. He reported being severely beaten by the Janjawid.

"They slit the throat of my only child in front of my eyes. I don't know where my wife is and what happened to her. It is only because one of the soldiers was merciful that I was not killed."


Sexual violence against girls
Girls, like women, have been raped, abducted and kept in sexual slavery. M., a Fur woman from Um Bada near Kutum reported the abduction of girls from the village by the Janjawid:


"During the attack on Kutum, many girls disappeared. Some of their names are: Hamra (15), Khadija(14), Fatima (12), Hama (10). An old woman called Khadija (80) was also abducted. Those women were taken away on camels and the Hakama saw this and cheered their men." (27)


3.2 Rape in the context of attacks
Rapes have been committed in the context of attacks on villages, and according to some testimonies collected by Amnesty International, during smaller raids, mainly at night, before attacks on villages took place. Women in Darfur are primary targets for violence and are more vulnerable in the context of armed conflict because, in Darfur, it is women who are responsible for the children and other family dependants. Women are the main care givers, which renders them more vulnerable during attacks and flight. Women are more accessible to aggressors during attacks, because they usually stay closer to the village, compared to men who tend to herd cattle, further away from the village.

In many interviews with refugees it became apparent that the differing circumstances of men and women and the gendered roles they played in society meant that they reacted to attacks in different ways.

M., a 46-year-old man from Abu Jidad (close to Kornoy) described how people reacted during attacks:


"Only women and children were in the village, the men were with the cattle a bit further north, closer to the hills. When the attack occurred, men ran up the hills in order to see and the women ran into the village to take their children and flee south of the village."

Women in most cases have described how during attacks they started looking for their dependants before leaving the village. K., a 40-year-old woman from Jaroko explained:

"When the Janjawid came, they put fire on our huts and they beat the children and the women. I have seven children and six are here with me now, I put one on my back and on in front and the others were holding my hands and we ran. Also my grandmother was with me. On the way there were many Janjawid and they were beating people and we saw them raping women and young girls."

Another 45-year-old woman, A., from Mamoun describes a similar flight:

"We heard when the Janjawid attacked Kenu and then, before breakfast they came and killed people. I collected my children and the old woman who is deaf and whom I am taking care of."

However, even before the escalation of the conflict and the systematic attacks against civilians in Darfur, there was no gender balance in many rural villages, for several reasons. There is a high rate of migration from rural to urban centers in Darfur, partly because of desertification and lack of development in the region. Many Sudanese women interviewed by Amnesty International in Chad said that their husbands, brothers or other male relatives were working in towns in Darfur, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum or in neighboring countries and that the men were not present during the attacks. This is important to note; as a result of the higher percentage of women than men in the refugee camps in Chad, there is speculation as to what happened to the men. A partial explanation stems from the pre-war gender ratio in the rural villages. Of course, there are other explanations: the fact that many men appear to have been extra-judicially executed or summarily killed during attacks, or arrested and detained incommunicado, and the suspicion that some have joined the rebellion.
Mohamed (33), a local leader from Magarsa explained:


"I was in Khartoum for many years and when I found out what happened in my hometown I returned to Magarsa in February 2004. I learned that my relatives went to Fur Baranga".

Caption
[Refugees fleeing Darfur ©AI/Philip Cox]

3.3 Rape during flight
Women have been victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence during their flight. The Janjawid have raped women at road blocks or checkpoints, or while chasing groups of people who had escaped attacks on their villages.
A. from Khusha in North Darfur said that she witnessed a rape and abductions when she and several other women ran away from the attack on their village in August 2003:


"A woman had her legs and arms broken and was left on the road. Others were beaten up when they refused to undress and they were taken away to a Janjawid camp."

A., a 40-year-old Tama(28) woman from Azerny (30 miles south of Jeneina) witnessed rape while she was fleeing:

"After the attacks we ran for four hours to our neighbours who are Tama as well. On our way from Aserny two women were raped by three Janjawid. I was there; I saw it with my own eyes".

She gave the names of the women reportedly raped to Amnesty International.

"In February 2004, I abandoned my house because of the conflict. I met six Arabs in the bush, I wanted to take my spear to defend my family, they threatened me with a weapon and I had to stop. The six men raped my daughter, who is 25 years old, in front of me, my wife and the young children." H., a man from Magarsa in the Masalit region of Western Darfur

Several testimonies report abductions during the flight. It seems that it is mainly women and children who are abducted. In most cases the whereabouts of those abducted are not known. Amnesty International received more than fifty names of people who have "not been seen again" after being abducted by Janjawid.

3.4 Rapes in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settlements in Darfur

According to reports by independent sources and satellite photos(29) from the region, it appears that most of the rural villages inhabited by the farming population of Darfur have been burnt to the ground and their populations forcibly displaced. But attacks on civilians, in particular on the population internally displaced by the conflict, are continuing. The IDP population, who have largely gathered at the periphery of the towns and large villages of the region, are restricted in their movement by Janjawid groups who patrol outside the camps and settlements. Men do not leave the settlements for fear of being killed; women who have ventured outside the camps in order to fetch desperately needed wood, food or water, have been raped and harassed. Some of the IDPs who have spoken out against abuses during visits by foreign UN or government officials were killed by the Janjawid or arrested and held incommunicado by the government national security forces or the military intelligence. The internally displaced population is consequently being held in what amount to virtual prisons, and is effectively being denied the right to freedom of movement. Such violence against civilians not only breaches international human rights standards but also often appears to be an intentional attempt to humiliate and destroy the social fabric of the communities attacked.

M. a 47-year-old man from Nan Kursei, a village in the district of Garsila told Amnesty International in Chad:


"The population of more than 30 villages escaped to Garsila and there we were held in IDP camps. In Garsila it is like this: the army barracks are outside the town. Inside the town there is a big camp for the Janjawid, there is the National Security and the Police and then there are more than 21,000 IDPs. The government prevents them from coming to Chad. They want to leave this place in Garsila. The government people said: "There is peace now. There is a delegation coming and we want you to go back to your villages, there is no danger now you have to go back". The Janjawid prevent people from leaving Garsila, it is surrounded by Janjawid. They killed more than 60 people who tried to escape, you can see the bodies, they did not allow us to bury the dead, the bodies are still there around Garsila.
There was one woman, Rusonga, she refused to be raped, she hit a Janjawid and then he shot her. In Garsila the women wanted to bring firewood and water and many were raped by Janjawid. On our way to Garsila the Janjawid tried to rape my wife. I managed to catch her and nothing happened"


The United Nations Inter-Agency Fact Finding and Rapid Assessment Mission(30) reports on 25 April 2004, after visiting the town of Kailek in South Darfur:

"The women unequivocally stated their great fear of living in this location (Kailek) due to the daily and nightly harassment and sexual abuse of the Janjawid in town. They expressed how they feel 'imprisoned' and how the women and girls have been raped and sexually abused when leaving the IDP setting, while the men are being harassed and frequently beaten by the security forces. When asked, the women identified several of the rapists and abusers among the present group of armed elements. They explained how the perpetrators use to come to the setting during the night to abduct girls, bringing them to the nearby wadi where they would be raped."

The reported cases of rapes in such IDP settlements inside Darfur seem to be more numerous than those reported in the camps in Chad. The OHCHR, UN aid workers, independent journalists and foreign government or parliamentary officials who have been able to visit the region have all reported meeting women who have been raped and often given detailed accounts of such crimes. Most of the refugees interviewed in Chad by Amnesty International in May 2004 managed to flee to Chad soon after attacks on their villages. Even those who had fled to IDP sites in Darfur had not spent much time in these sites. Amnesty International believes that the number of women who have suffered rapes and other forms of sexual violence in Darfur is high. Given the cultural taboo that rape constitutes in the society in Darfur, another explanation for the high numbers of women who have remained in Darfur after suffering rape is that these women have stayed away from relatives who have fled to Chad because they are, or fear being, stigmatized.
While the situation of the Sudanese refugees in Chad is precarious, the situation of IDP civilians within Darfur itself is desperate. The towns and villages in which most of the estimated one million internally displaced people are currently located are under direct government control. According to testimonies by refugees as well as information Amnesty International received from several and cross-checked sources in Darfur, the local authorities do not intervene and thereby are complicit with the Janjawid who rape and torture, kill and physically assault the displaced population. The proximity of Janjawid military camps to villages and settlements where the displaced have gathered renders the situation highly dangerous for the many IDPs in Darfur.


4. The consequences of sexual violence on women and their communities

There are many consequences of rape which have immediate and long-term effects on women, beyond the actual physical violation it constitutes.


4.1 Stigma and ostracism towards survivors of rape

Rape in itself is a heinous human rights violation, but the victims are likely to suffer further because of the shame and the stigma associated to it. As some women told Amnesty International delegates in Chad in November 2003:


"Women will not tell you easily if they have been raped. In our culture, it is a shame. Women hide this in their hearts so that men don't hear about it."

Many women and men told Amnesty International that only women who are not married would be able to talk about rape, or that women who were raped would not dare to come to the refugee camps. This is the likely explanation for why so many women who have reportedly been raped are said to remain at the border between Chad and Sudan, or to have sought refuge in the IDP camps in Darfur, far from the eyes of their relatives and close community.

Pregnancy as a result of rape

Women who have become pregnant as a result of rape are most likely to suffer further abuses of their rights. There is the trauma of the rape itself as well as the difficulties associated with carrying and caring with a child who is the result of violence. In the specific social context of Darfur, in a society where rape is considered a taboo and a shame for the survivor of this violence, the child who is a result of rape will mostly be considered as a child of the "enemy", a "Janjawid child". Survivors of rape and their children are most likely to be ostracized by their community and married women most likely to be rejected by their husbands. Women may feel forced to abandon the child who is a result of rape and face another traumatic decision to make.

The communities of the women raped do not seem ready to accept the need to provide their full support for these women and possibly the child who could result from such violation. In group and face-to-face interviews conducted by Amnesty International in May 2004, women and men said that while they would accept raped women back into the community, the child as a potential result of rape would not be accepted. This leads women who have become pregnant as a result of rape to a situation of further ostracism, trauma and abuses of their rights. The lack of medical and psychological care facilities to deal with survivors of rape in the refugee camps in Chad and the many more victims in the IDP settlements in Darfur further compounds this situation.

For many men in the refugee camps the human rights violation of rape seems to directly translate into a humiliation against themselves and the group they belong to.

One cultural belief is apparently that women cannot become pregnant through rape. One refugee from Kenyu explained:


"Some women were raped. We heard about this. But only those who are not married can talk about it. We believe that nobody can become pregnant when raped, because this is unwanted sex and you cannot have a child from unwanted sex. For those who are in the camps in Darfur, those whom they rape day and night, they might become pregnant. Then only Allah can help the child to look like the mother. If an Arab child is born, this cannot be accepted"

K., a 40-year-old woman from Jaroko presented a similar belief, shared by a group of women sitting with her, whom Amnesty International interviewed in Goz Amer refugee camp:

"If there is any woman pregnant she cannot come to Chad. When we were in Deleij, we were not allowed to move and there are still many people there. They take the women as their wives. This is a big problem, if they become pregnant they must escape, they cannot stay in their family or in their community. Why? Because it is not normal for her to be pregnant from being raped, so she has to go."

Although the majority of women who are pregnant as a result of rape seem to remain mostly in Darfur or in border locations, Amnesty International met a number of women in camps in Chad who were pregnant as a result of rape by the Janjawid.
K., a woman currently in Konoungou camp said that she was raped during an attack on her village and, at the time of interview, was nine months pregnant with the child of one of the suspected rapists.

F., from a village located between Silaya and Jebel Moun told Amnesty International how she was abducted on 5 August 2003 by men in uniforms, whipped and raped. She said that she miscarried a boy some months after her rape.

M. was nine months pregnant as a result of rape. At least three men raped her and she said to Amnesty International: "I don't even know who the father is."


Social and economic consequences of ostracism

The stigma attached to women who have been raped has far-reaching social and economic consequences on the rape victims. Married women can be "disowned" by their husbands, although this is not always the case. As for unmarried survivors of rape, they may never be able to marry because they are stigmatized or considered to be "spoiled" by their communities. Women who are not able to marry or who have been abandoned by their husband because they have been raped will become, particularly in the social context of Darfur, socially and economically more vulnerable. They will not be able to enjoy the economic support that men traditionally provide or the "protection" that men are supposed to provide to women. If these women already have children or are pregnant as a result of rape, they can find themselves as the only caregivers for these children.


4.2 Medical and mental health problems

Women who have been attacked and raped often bear physical injuries. Violence, sexual or not, can have serious consequences on women's reproductive system. The physical and psychological violence of rape on women who are already pregnant can lead them, as the testimonies above showed, to abort and lose their baby. In these cases, women are also likely to be rejected by their husbands, as they are not seen as fulfilling their roles as "reproducers".

Given the cultural taboo associated with rape, women are reluctant to report it to the few medical workers present in refugee camps, which can lead to further medical complications of injuries they may have sustained during the rape. Women who have become pregnant as a result of rape often suffer complications before, during and after giving birth, because of the physical injuries resulting from assault. When giving birth, women who have been raped are prone to the problem of fistula. A fistula occurs when the wall between the vagina and the bladder or bowel is ruptured and women lose control of the bladder or bowel functions. They become isolated as a result of their incontinence. The problem can be resolved by surgery.

Even if women raped have not sustained consequent grave physical injuries, the apparent lack of hygiene and sanitary products in the context of material relief shortages in Darfur and Chad contribute to the risk of infections.

On top of this, most women will suffer serious psychological problems, having to bear and raise an unwanted child and suffering from social stigma and a lack of community support.

In western Sudan, female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced: the majority of women are circumcised and many women are infibulated(31). This increases the risk of injuries during rape and consequently increases the risk of contracting HIV/Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases. At present there are no adequate medical facilities to provide comprehensive medical care on HIV/Aids amongst the refugee population in Chad or in IDP camps in Darfur, as a consequence of the fact that humanitarian organizations are overwhelmed by the nutritional emergency and difficulties in access, logistics and capacity. The consequences of this lack of medical support for rape survivors living with HIV/Aids are severe.(32)


4.3 Children as victims of the conflict and the effects on women

Children have also been victims of massive human rights violations in Darfur. In Darfur, children are considered to be mainly the responsibility of women; hence human rights violations against children have traumatized women considerably. In interviews with women, it became apparent that for them, human rights violations against children were one of the most shocking feature of the conflict and that many felt guilty for not having been able to protect their children better.

Children were killed and abducted, allegedly in large numbers, by the Janjawid. A., a 15-year-old boy from Goz Um Bela, near Kornoy spoke to Amnesty International about his abduction and torture:


"I was looking after the goats when I was arrested by the Janjawid in November 2003. Eight other children who were not from my village were also arrested, they are still with them, and myself I was able to escape. They took me to a camp in Abu Jidad where there were also army soldiers. They asked me where the goats were and beat me if I wasn't answering. They tied up my sexual organ with a rope and pulled from both sides each time they were asking me questions, they beat me several times a day. When I told them where the goats were, they stopped beating me. The other children received the same treatment from the Janjawid and the soldiers."

Refugee women in eastern Chad have in some cases referred to children who were left behind or 'forgotten' by their mothers, when they were busy collecting other children to escape attacks. F., a 35-year-old woman from Kenyu told Amnesty International:

"When the Janjawid attacked we left everything behind. Even myself, I left some of the children. I ran with five children and saw how the Janjawid murdered people and how one, Musa Baha, was wounded. I took him, and then the Janjawid came and shot him. He was dead. There was another one called Juma, they cut both his arms just up here, under the shoulder."

Children suffer in addition when as a result of the conflict their mothers or parents are killed or they are separated from their families. Often it is the female relatives of the mothers who have been killed or female members of the same community who take on the responsibility of caring for these children. This in turn further increases the burden of displaced women who have had to take on the additional role of care givers to unaccompanied or separated children.

4.4 Further risk of violence against women during flight and in the context of displacement

S. a 38-year-old mother of six children from Abu Sin, south of Abu Gamra gave a detailed account of her flight:


"We ran, I had the little one on the back and two on my hands and two with my older brother. My husband lived with me in the village but was absent when we escaped.
We were hiding in the forest and I had only one little bag of clothes and nothing else. For three days I could only feed my children with water. One of my children felt sick with malaria after 10 days and we had to stay there for eight days before the child was stronger again.

I was pregnant and I lost my baby. I was very weak but everybody had to help themselves. I was worried that we would all die. Some people who came by gave us food, I could not get up and I could not find food for the children because I was weak after losing the baby. I took mimosa as medicine and after 20 days we were able to move further to Kornoy.

On the roads the Janjawid would stop us and tell us: "You are wives of the Tora Bora(33), we can kill you".

There was rape as well. There is one woman, Zara, who was raped and now is pregnant. This was in Kamu when they came with many cars to the road where we were running to Tine from Kornoy."


M., a Fur woman from Um Bada near Kutum reported the death of children during her flight: "Many of our children died on the way. There was no food, there was malaria and they were weak".
Women and children are the most affected, physically and psychologically, during flight and as a consequence of forced displacement. During flight, as the primary care givers, women are responsible for the survival of their dependants. Children are most vulnerable to disease and exhaustion while fleeing. They can also get lost or separated from their families. The vulnerability of children increases the threat of further violations of the rights of their mothers or female care givers, because it can make the search for safety longer or can increase the exposure of the family group to danger.

A. aged 33, from the village of Harara near Kutum told Amnesty International about her experience:


"My eldest child A., who was 17, died in the first attack. He went to the well to feed the cattle and there he was shot. On our way to Obliha one woman who was with us gave birth. The Janjawid attacked us and we left her behind with the baby. We do not know if she is alive and if the baby is alive."


4.5 Long-term effects of violence against women
Violence against women goes beyond the direct attacks, rape and physical violence by combatants. As described above, the long term effects for women who are victims of rape are that a large number of ostracized women suffer further violations of their rights because they are women. The organization urges that the design of a humanitarian and social response to the conflict in Darfur, and to the displacement of persons as a result of the conflict should take into consideration issues related to the particular human rights violations suffered by women.


4.5.1 Early marriages

One aspect of the discrimination against women can already be noticed in some refugee camps in eastern Chad and may also be a reality for women who are trapped in Darfur. Some refugees told Amnesty International that the bride price (payment made by a man or/and his family to the family of a woman he wishes to marry) in the camps has greatly decreased. As one refugee in the camp of Goz Amir said:


"Marriage is very very cheap in our days."

This phenomenon has occurred in other conflict contexts. Parents fear that, being in refugee camps, it will be impossible for them to "control" their daughters, and they will try to 'marry them' hastily, in order to save the honour of the girl and the family. Early marriages are, in themselves, a violation of children's rights. Further, girls who enter early marriage are less likely, as both girls and women, to enjoy their right to education, and more likely to encounter medical(34) and psychological problems in the case of an early pregnancy.
This is also an indicator of the disruption of the social structure of the community which finds itself in a refugee camp. It reflects the destruction of social care and control mechanisms, usually expected in the social environment of the community. For example, traditionally arranged marriages are seen, in part, as a means by which families can protect their daughters. Such a marriage engages both extended families and is often preceded by an extended period of discussions between the families. It can therefore constitute a mechanism by which a certain amount of control and protection can be exerted over the partners to marriage by both families. The breakdown of this mechanism, signalled in part by an increase in early marriages, puts a strain on the security of women and girls entering in more hastily agreed marriages. Early marriages in the context of refugee camps may be arranged hastily and may place girls at risk of abusive spouses.


4.5.2 Female headed households

Another risk for women who are heads of households and sole caregivers, in the absence of men and in the setting of a refugee camp, is their marginalization in decision-making and in the distribution of food.

A., a 30-year-old woman from Kereinek said:


"In the first attack in August my brother Issa was killed. My eldest brother came back from Libya, he supported us and he was taken and killed by the Janjawid when he came to help us. They took all the camels and now my two brothers are dead. I have nothing and now nobody is there to support me."

A common phenomenon that develops around refugee camps is the development of a shadow economy. Trade in nearby markets, paid labour in neighbouring villages or for humanitarian agencies become essential sources of income for the inhabitants of such camps. Yet for most female-headed households such sources of income are out of reach. If several people are responsible for a household, they are able to split work tasks or employment opportunities. One person can 'line up' for food distribution, the fetching of water, milling of grain or medical care for other members of the household, while the others can engage in income-generating activities. For the women who bear responsibility for a household on their own it is often impossible to perform all these tasks. These women therefore remain at the lower, and more vulnerable, end of food security and often lack additional commodities such as soap, salt, sugar and tea, compared to households headed by two or several persons. In addition, female-headed households are often vulnerable to exploitation, whether sexual or otherwise, in such situations.
In a context of scarce resources and lack of food security, single women are additionally vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Their children are more likely to be affected by malnutrition, less likely to receive


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