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«Annex V: Rape of Women and Girls in Darfur March 2012 Eric Reeves Madeline Zehnder, research and editing Rape as a Continuing Weapon of War in ...»

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An Archival History of Greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012

Annex V:

Rape of Women

and Girls in Darfur

March 2012

Eric Reeves

Madeline Zehnder, research and editing

Rape as a Continuing Weapon of War in Darfur:

Reports, Bibliography of Studies, A Compendium of



Sexual violence and rape in Darfur have ceased to command the attention they once

had—not because this brutal epidemic has ended, but because the absence of human rights reporting, news reporting, and the intimidation of humanitarian organizations ensures that we hear very little about one of the most brutal features of the Darfur genocide. This annex provides [1] an overview of the realities of rape and sexual violence in Darfur from mid-2005-12; [2] a select bibliography of reports and studies examining the realities of rape and sexual violence in Darfur; [3] a compendium of reports of specific incidents of sexual violence and rape. This compendium extends back into report archives, but it represents only a fraction of the total number of incidents as Radio Dabanga reports cases of rape on a nearly daily basis, despite various assertions that Darfur is settling into a more “peaceful” state. There can be no possible claim to definitive figures, but the evidence assembled here makes clear than many tens of thousands of Darfuri girls and women have been raped.

Because rape is an issue regarding which the Khartoum regime has proved especially sensitive—with an eye in particular to how the Muslim world would receive reports on the subject—a 2005 study by M´ decins Sans Fronti` res/Doctors Without e e

Borders (MSF)-Holland was the last report on rape based on systematic, on-theground data collection. For publishing their report (“The Crushing Burden of Rape:

Sexual Violence in Darfur,” Amsterdam, March 2005), the two most senior MSF officials for Darfur and Sudan were arrested by Khartoum, further evidencing of the regime’s sensitivity to rape charges.

The use of rape as a weapon of war on the scale we have seen in Darfur clearly rises to the level of crimes against humanity—and likely to the level of genocide— under the Rome Statute. International silence, especially by UNAMID, which receives specific accounts of rape on a continual basis does not publicly report findings, amounts to complicity in atrocity crimes.

[1] Rape and Sexual Violence: The View from June 2005

Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, June 5, 2005:

“In Darfur, rape is systematically used as a weapon of warfare.” Egeland’s recourse to the present tense in describing the use of rape as an ongoing weapon of war in Darfur is entirely appropriate. The Janjaweed militia forces allied with the Khartoum regime continue a brutal, systematic campaign of sexual violence directed against the women and girls of non-Arab or African tribal groups.

Khartoum remains deeply complicit in this campaign, now in its third year, as Egeland makes clear:

[Egeland said] the impact of [sexual] violence was compounded by [the government of] Sudan’s failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem and to act to stop it. “Not only do the Sudanese authorities fail to provide effective physical protection, they inhibit access to treatment.” He said in some cases unmarried women who became pregnant after being raped had been treated as criminals and subjected to further brutal treatment by police. “This is an affront to all humanity,” Egeland said.1 The consequences of systematic, racially and ethnically-animated sexual violence in Darfur are enormous. Rape as a weapon of war is one the defining features of the insecurity affecting most of Darfur: sexual violence paralyzes civilian movement, circumscribing life within overcrowded and under-served camps for displaced persons. More broadly, insecurity continues to attenuate humanitarian reach and efficacy.

The threat of rape severely inhibits the gathering of firewood, water, and animal fodder. Indeed, the collapse in Darfur’s food production is directly related to the ongoing intimidating effects of sexual violence. More generally, rape—and the impunity with which Khartoum’s proxy forces commit it—contributes to a desperate decline in morale within many camps and among displaced persons, some now experiencing their third year of these conditions.

A powerful study of sexual violence in Darfur was published in the fall of 2011 and deserves close attention. Written by Tara Gingerich, JD, MA and Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, “The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the conflict in Darfur, Sudan” (October 2004) was prepared for the US Agency for International Development/OTI under the auspices of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. Virtually all of the conclusions and assessments made in this detailed and historically informed study continue to be borne out by realities on the ground more than half a year later.

Certainly the central claim of the report stands without meaningful challenge:

Our findings suggest that the military forces attacking the non-Arab people of Darfur, the Janjaweed in collaboration with forces of the Government of Sudan, have inflicted a massive campaign of rape as a deliberate aspect of their military assault against the lives, livelihoods, and land of this population.2 Additionally, The highest priority now is to introduce a measure of real protection for the populations now displaced in Darfur and Chad in order to reduce the ongoing risk of rape to women and girls as they move outside camps and villages to find firewood and water.3 More than half a year later, such protection was nowhere in sight. Indeed, June 22, 2005 Congressional testimony by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick ensures that current plans for an expanded—but still inadequate—African Union (AU) deployment will constitute the full extent of international response to ongoing

genocidal violence and destruction:

The Bush administration is opposed to the dispatch of U.S. or European forces to help enhance security in Sudan’s Darfur region because they could be vulnerable to attack by terrorists, [Zoellick] said Wednesday.

“The region is populated by some bloodthirsty, cold-hearted killers,” Zoellick said, mentioning Somalia in particular as one possible source.4 Leaving aside the lazy geography invoked, Zoellick appears unaware of the grim irony in declaring that Western troops cannot be deployed to Darfur because of “bloodthirsty, cold-hearted killers” in Somalia, which is over 1,000 miles away, even as defenseless women and girls in Darfur are directly vulnerable to the “bloodthirsty, cold-hearted killers” that are the Janjaweed on a daily basis.

Genocide is a brutal, ongoing reality in Darfur, yet the U.S. remained content with an “Africa only” response, despite the clear inadequacies of the AU—even with NATO logistical and material support. Nothing in Zoellick’s Congressional testimony suggests how the deployment of even 7,700 AU personnel by September 2012 can address the multiple security tasks in Darfur, including the protection of women and girls from sexual violence.

Though there can be no denying the significant physical risks associated with humanitarian military intervention by American, European, Australian, or Canadian troops, these risks are almost certainly less than those confronted in Iraq and Afghanistan, even as the basis for participation in such military action is morally and legally much less ambiguous: halting genocide and halting the deliberate destruction of the African ethnic groups in Darfur because of who they are. Here we should bear in mind two of the acts of genocide specified in Article 2 of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: 5 [b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group [d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group Considerable international jurisprudential thought has been given to the particular meaning of these phrases, but both have a clear bearing on how we consider the implications of systematic, ethnically-targeted rape in Darfur. Rape causes extremely serious bodily harm, particularly the gang-rape so characteristic in Darfur, as does rape accompanied by non-sexual violence, also typical in Darfur. Rape causes excruciating mental trauma. For a variety of reasons, rape also serves as a means of preventing births on the part of women within the targeted African groups.

Those girls and women raped are often socially ostracized, and become much less valued as potential wives; violent rape often leads to medical complications that make further child-bearing impossible or much riskier; and rape often carries the threat of disease and infection, including direct threats to the lives of potential mothers.

Rape committed by Khartoum’s military proxy in Darfur is entirely consistent with the genocidal ambitions that have been in evidence for over two years, and contributes significantly to the current genocide by attrition that has succeeded the previous campaign of large-scale violent destruction of the lives and livelihoods of Darfur’s African tribal groups. That sexual violence continues on a significant and consequential basis has been confirmed by UN reports (including the June 2005 report by the Secretary-general), and by reports from human rights observers and humanitarian organizations on the ground in Darfur.

But for Zoellick and the Bush administration—and clearly with the support of the European Union and officials within NATO—there is no willingness to contribute U.S. or European personnel to this urgent humanitarian intervention.

Genocide, including rape as a weapon of war in Darfur, will as a consequence proceed at a pace limited only by the drastically inadequate AU deployment, currently operating without a mandate for civilian or humanitarian protection. “Time must be given for an African solution to work,” Zoellick declared in his Congressional testimony.6 As Zoellick well knows, however, AU has been shamefully reluctant to admit its own fundamental limitations, has failed to secure a mandate for civilian protection, and has deployed only about two thirds of the 3,500 personnel planned for early fall of 2011. The AU has no capacity—either in material, manpower, or logistics (including “inter-operability”)—to reach the 7,700 target figure for September, a date much too far in the future given critical current needs for protection.

Nature and Consequences of Sexual Violence in Darfur So long as the international community fails both to supplement the African Union in Darfur and to provide a force with a mandate for civilian protection, an intolerable number of women and girls will be raped. This will compound the ongoing failure of the international community, in particular the UN Security Council failure to secure from Khartoum compliance with the only significant demand made to date: that the regime disarm the Janjaweed murderers and rapists, and bring their leaders to justice.7 In a region the size of Spain, with over 2.5 million internally displaced persons and refugees (including eastern Chad), many hundreds of thousands of women and girls are daily at risk of the sort chronicled by M´ decins Sans Fronti` res/Doctors e e

Without Borders (MSF) in its immensely powerful and clinically informed study:

“The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur” (Amsterdam, March 8, 2005). Without international protection, girls as young as eight will continue to experience the most vicious form of sexual violence. MSF provides all too many

horrific examples:

Five women, 2 young girls (13 and 14 years old) and 3 older women, went to collect grass for their donkeys. The group got ambushed by three armed men. “I was taken to the near-by river bed away from the other women. One man took me in one direction. The other man took the other girl. [ ] The man who took me told me to sit on the ground. But I refused. He hit me twice on my back with a stick. Then he took out a knife and threatened me by pointing the knife at me. I sat down. And then he told me to take off my underwear. I refused, but he threatened me again with his knife. He pulled his trousers down and raped me. He left without saying anything or even looking at me.” (Young girl, 13, February 2005, South Darfur) “One of the three man took me away from the other women. He threatened me with his knife by pinching my chest with it. He pushed me on the ground and took off my underwear. He raped me and was repeating ‘I will kill you’ all the time to intimidate me.” (Young girl, 14, February 2005, South Darfur)

A hateful racial/ethnic animus is all too often in evidence in these violent rapes:

“We saw five Arab men who came to us and asked where our husbands were. Then they told us that we should have sex with them. We said no. So they beat and raped us. After they abused us, they told us that now we would have Arab babies; and if they would find any Fur [one of the non-Arab or African tribal groups of Darfur], they would rape them again to change the colour of their children.” (Three women, 25, 30 and 40, October 2004, West Darfur)8 Gingerich and Leaning also report on the racial/ethnic animus in the accounts of

rape coming from non-Arab or African women, accounts that make clear the genocidal nature of these assaults:

It is widely reported that during the attacks, the Janjaweed often berated the women, calling them slaves, telling them that they would now bear a “free child,” and asserting that they (the perpetrators) are wiping out the non-Arabs.9 Gang-rape is, as MSF has established beyond doubt, a characteristic feature of

sexual violence in Darfur:

[A number of] women described that the rapists abducted them and held them captive for several days and during that period they were raped regularly by several men. One woman reported that her abduction lasted 6 days and she was raped by 10 men. In addition, almost half of the survivors report that there was more than one victim in the attack.10

Individual women offer accounts of unsurpassable horror:

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