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Sudan activists to take action against Tabit mass rape

February 23 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Displaced women in Darfur (file photo)
Displaced women in Darfur (file photo)

A group of Sudanese human rights activists will take action against the rape of more than 200 women and girls by army soldiers in Tabit, North Darfur, in October last year.

In an interview with Dabanga, gender activist Nemat Ahmedey confirmed the outcomes of an independent investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW), published on 11 February.

She demanded the UN Security Council to “take legal action against the perpetrators, and to take the necessary measures to protect the 221 rape victims, who have been terrorised by the Sudanese regime to prevent them from telling the truth”.

Ahmedey stressed that her group has also collected evidence and documents “from the ground” confirming the rape crimes, and indicated that they will take action “in the coming days”.

Treatment

Dr Nahed Mohamed Hassan, psychiatrist in Khartoum, confirmed to Dabanga that the treatment of rape victims in Sudan faces significant challenges. “In the Sudanese society, rape victims and their families are stigmatised, as the victims themselves are considered to be guilty.”

She said that the government’s denial of the mass rape also means that the victims are deprived of treatment, and warned for the consequences. “Non-treatment of a rape victim may lead to permanent mental disabilities, and affect the future of the victims socially and economically.”

Hassan appealed to the international community, “in particular organisations working in the field of mental health” to pressure the government to allow them to provide psychological assistance to the victims in Tabit.

‘Open prison’

Between 30 October and 1 November army forces sexually assaulted more than 200 women and girls in Tabit. They said that they had been ordered to do so in their search for a missing soldier.

Witnesses told HRW that the soldiers conducted house-to-house searches in the village, robbed the residents of their belongings, severely beat them, and raped women and girls. During the two nights, the soldiers detained the men of Tabit en masse, and threatened and abused them throughout the nights, while others raped the women and girls in their homes.

HRW described the current situation in Tabit as being like “living in an open prison”. Since the attacks, Sudanese government officials, military commanders, and traditional leaders have threatened, intimidated, beaten, detained, and tortured residents of Tabit to prevent them from speaking out, the report stated.

 


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