- UN’s Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan says it had received credible reports of more than 50 incidents of sexual violence linked to the conflict
- At least 105 victims, including 86 women, one man and 18 children, had been impacted
GENEVA: The UN warned Friday that the situation in Sudan’s western Darfur region was getting worse by the day, while women and girls were being kidnapped and held in slave-like conditions.
The war between troops loyal to Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo has left more than 9,000 dead across Sudan since April, according to a UN report.
“We are deeply alarmed by reports that women and girls are being abducted and held in inhuman, degrading slave-like conditions in areas controlled by the RSF in Darfur, where they are allegedly forcibly married and held for ransom,” UN human rights office spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told a media briefing.
“Credible information from survivors, witnesses and other sources suggests more than 20 women and girls have been taken, but the number could be higher,” she said.
“Some sources have reported seeing women and girls in chains on pick-up trucks and in cars,” she added.
She said that the Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan had received credible reports of more than 50 incidents of sexual violence linked to the conflict, impacting at least 105 victims: 86 women, one man and 18 children.
Twenty-three of the incidents involved rape, 26 were of gang rape and three were of attempted rape, the spokeswoman said.
At least 70 percent of the confirmed incidents of sexual violence recorded were attributed to men in RSF uniforms.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk has called on senior officials on both sides of the conflict to issue urgent clear instructions to their forces demanding zero tolerance of sexual violence.
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA meanwhile said the situation for civilians in Darfur was “getting worse by the day” and becoming increasingly violent.
The two sides returned to talks last week in Jeddah brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
“While much hope is being placed on the Jeddah talks to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and facilitate humanitarian access, we call on all parties to refrain from escalating and expanding the conflict,” OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters.
“Darfurians have suffered enough, not least women — in the past, and in the current conflict,” he added.
He said that overall in Sudan, more than 5.7 million people have been forced from their homes and 25 million — more than half the population — now need humanitarian assistance.