New Report Shows Rape Is Common Against Darfur Women
Monday, June 1, 2009 12:37 PM

According to a recent report by the Physicians for Human Rights(PHR), women living in Darfur or nearby refugee camps are vulnerable to sexual violence. Doctors working for PHR surveyed 88 women living in a United Nations refugee camp for those escaping violence in Darfur.  The doctors found that 29 of the women surveyed were either victims of rape or were probably victims of rape. Half of these attacks occurred in Darfur and were carried out by militiamen, while half were carried out by Chadian villagers against women while they were living in the refugee camp.  The PHR report represents widespread claims of sexual violence among Darfurian refugees.  

While reports of sexual violence are common, documenting specific cases of sexual violence in Darfur is difficult.  Women are reluctant to report attacks due to the social stigma often suffered by victims of rape.  In addition, the Sudanese government denies allegations of systematic violence against women, and women living in government-controlled areas fear retaliation if they report sexual violence. Recording sexual violence became even more difficult after the Sudanese government evicted 13 foreign aid groups working in the area.   

The PHR report called on the International Criminal Court to issue warrants against Sudanese suspects of rape and to prosecute rape as a war crime in Darfur. The report also sought to improve the protection of women living in refugee camps by local police and international peacekeepers.  

The conflict in Darfur has claimed up to 300,000 lives and displaced almost 2.7 million people since 2003.  To access the full article, please click here.  To access the Physicians for Human Rights report, please click here.

Compiled from: Peter James Spielmann, “Sudan-Darfur – Doctor’s Survey: Rape Common Against Darfur Women,” Associated Press, (31 May 2009).