Home Middle East Sudan’s RSF Rape Accusations Raise Alarms: HRW and UN Express Concern

Sudan’s RSF Rape Accusations Raise Alarms: HRW and UN Express Concern

During the period from April 24 to June 26, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported documenting 78 cases of rape.

Sudan's RSF Rape Accusations Raise Alarms: HRW and UN Express Concern

Sudan has been gripped by a four-month conflict that escalated from simmering tensions between two key armed groups, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces. In this complex and deeply troubling situation, both Human Rights Watch (HRW) and a group of 30 United Nations experts have separately accused the RSF of carrying out rape and sexual violence against women.

The RSF, a paramilitary group that evolved from the notorious Janjaweed militias responsible for genocidal atrocities in the early 2000s, has been at the center of the conflict. Human Rights Watch, based in New York, has recently highlighted that the RSF targeted non-Arab women and girls, as well as activists documenting human rights abuses during the conflict, particularly in the western Darfur region.

According to HRW, the RSF and allied militias have committed a staggering number of rapes and other war crimes during their assault on El Geneina. Belkis Wille, HRW’s crisis and conflict director, emphasized the urgency for the international community to respond, stating, “The UN Security Council should show those responsible for abuses that the world is watching by taking urgent steps to bring an end to these atrocities.”

HRW has documented 78 cases of rape between April 24 and June 26, alluding to the devastating scope of sexual violence during the conflict. Many of the victims, who fled Darfur for Chad, shared their horrifying experiences with HRW, with some stating that they were targeted due to their ethnicity or activism.

The situation has also alarmed a group of 30 independent UN experts, who expressed concern about reports of widespread sexual violence and rape carried out by the RSF. They highlighted that hundreds of women have been detained by the RSF, subjected to sexual assault, and exposed to sexual slavery. The experts called on the RSF to uphold humanitarian and human rights obligations.

The conflict in Darfur has also taken an ethnic dimension, with the RSF and allied militias reportedly targeting African communities. The Janjaweed militias, which evolved into the RSF, were previously accused of heinous crimes during the early 2000s, including killings, rapes, and other atrocities.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced its investigation into alleged new war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Karim Khan, the ICC’s prosecutor, informed the UN Security Council of these investigations, indicating an international effort to address the grave situation.

The human toll of the conflict is immense. At least 4,000 people are estimated to have been killed, according to the UN human rights office, although activists and local doctors suggest the true death toll is likely far higher. Over 4.3 million people have been displaced, with more than a million seeking refuge in neighboring countries such as Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan.

The situation in Sudan remains a deeply concerning humanitarian crisis, with reports of violence, rape, displacement, and other atrocities. International organizations and governments are urging for swift and effective actions to address the conflict and protect vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls who continue to suffer from sexual violence and abuse amid the turmoil.

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