126 total incidences of sexual violence documented by unamid
The conflict in Sudan's western expansive territory, Darfur, continues to be one of the most volatile places on earth. Sexual violence, including rape, attempted rape, abduction for the purposes of sexual exploitation, indecent assault, sexual humiliation, and serious injuries or killings following rape, remains a dominant feature of the conflict.
In 2014, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) documented 117 incidents involving 206 victims, as compared with 149 cases involving 273 victims in 2013. Victims ranged in age from 4 to 70 years. In two incidents, six women were killed in connection with attempted rape and 30% of the recorded rape survivors sustained serious physical injuries. The United Nations also documented one case of a child conceived following rape, which resulted in the marriage of the victim (aged 14) to the perpetrator as a form of traditional settlement. These numbers are a gross underestimation.
The Sudanese Armed Forces were accused of committing mass rape against some 200 women and girls in Tabit, north-east of El Fasher, North Darfur, over a period of 36 hours in October 2014. Despite several attempts by UNAMID to reach the area, government authorities granted access on only one occasion. Armed members of military intelligence and the Sudanese Armed Forces were present during UNAMID's interviews with members of the community, which may have influenced their reticence. Most sexual assaults, 71%, occurred while women and girls were carrying out essential sustenance and livelihood activities, such as farming and the collection of grass and firewood, often in isolated areas. Of 63 incidents reported to the Sudanese police, representing 53 per cent of the cases documented, UNAMID has seen investigations initiated in 20 cases to date, with 14 arrests made and, in 2 cases, trials resulting in convictions completed.
Importantly, the government of Sudan amended section 149 of its Criminal Act (1991) to more clearly define the crime of rape and align it more closely with international standards. The Minister of the Interior committed to deploy at least six women police investigators to West Darfur to investigate sexual violence cases, and in East Darfur, a state committee on gender-based violence was established in March of 2015.
Youth to End Sexual Violence works closely with grassroots youth and women's organizations in Sudan. Ms. Maha Babeker is the incumbent Youth Ambassador for Sudan on Sexual Violence in Conflict. She also works closely with the Salmmah Women's Resource Center in Khartoum, and as an advocate for the reform of adultery laws in Sudan.