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UN experts denounce widespread sexual violence as a weapon of war in Sudan conflict

Khartoum, 30 November, 2023 (GNP): A group of United Nations human rights experts expressed profound concern over the extensive use of sexual violence, often ethnically motivated, as a “tool of war” in conflict-torn Sudan. The experts strongly urged for perpetrators to be held accountable for these egregious acts.

Grave Concerns and Appalling Violence:

The UN experts, including rapporteurs on violence against women and girls, decried the pervasive use of gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, as a method to subjugate, terrorize, and punish women and girls in conflict-ridden regions of Sudan.

They highlighted disturbing reports of widespread sexual violence, including rapes, sexual exploitation, slavery, trafficking, forced prostitution, and marriage, which are reportedly orchestrated to instill fear and retribution within targeted communities.

Perpetrators and Conflict Zones:

The experts pointed towards forces aligned with army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, notably the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and their allies as primarily responsible for the bulk of sexual violence in the conflict.

They highlighted that these atrocities have expanded beyond specific regions like Khartoum or Darfur, reaching other parts of Sudan, such as Kordofan.

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Call for Accountability and Urgent Action:

Emphasizing the need for a UN-led fact-finding mission in Sudan, the experts underscored the necessity of holding perpetrators accountable for these grave human rights violations.

They warned that the scale of sexual violence is significantly underreported and urged the international community not to overlook these atrocities, urging a robust message to the conflicting parties that they would be held responsible for violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws.

Demand for International Response:

The UN experts stressed the imperative for the international community to unequivocally condemn these acts and demand accountability for the widespread sexual violence occurring in Sudan.

They highlighted the urgency of a strong and resolute stance to address these atrocities and uphold international humanitarian and human rights principles.