Senior UN officials warn of the rise in violence against women due to the escalation of the conflict in Sudan

Senior UN officials warn of the rise in violence against women due to the escalation of the conflict in Sudan


The heads of several of the main UN agencies have joined their voices to denounce an increase in gender violence in Sudan since the outbreak of the conflict between the Army and the paramilitaries almost three months ago, since they consider that there are already 4, 2 million women and girls at risk, 1.2 million more than before the fighting began.

The United Nations has called for the immediate cessation of this violence, which also affects internally displaced persons and refugees and which takes different forms, including the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war. The signatories have also called for impartial and prompt investigations into these abuses, reminding all parties that they must respect International Law regardless of the political or war context existing in the African country.

The UN Office for Human Rights has evidence of at least 21 incidents of sexual violence with 57 victims –ten of them girls–, while the Sudanese government raises the cases to about 90, distributed among the capital, Khartoum , and the Darfur region. The UN concludes that, in any case, “the real number of cases is undoubtedly much higher”, either because of the victims’ fear of being estimated or suffering reprisals or because of the impossibility of contacting institutions or places that can echo the reports. abuses, including medical facilities.

The executive director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, has recognized that “sexual violence is one of the most difficult international crimes to document and prosecute”, since “stigma inhibits survivors from taking the step or seeking the support they need “, which implies null or minimal attention, both medical and legal. International agencies are working to fill these gaps, with specific measures by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, has warned that this type of violence “can have devastating long-term physical and mental effects for survivors”, which is why she sees it as crucial to design specific plans of prevention and response that take into account the specific needs of women and children.

For his part, the United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, has considered it “inconceivable” that people who are victims of a “senseless conflict” suffer added trauma for gender reasons: “What we are seeing in Sudan is not just a humanitarian crisis, it is a crisis of humanity,” he said. Along these lines, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has called for “zero tolerance” against the perpetrators of the abuses.

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Written by Editor TLN

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