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UN Special Representative decries rape reports from Sudan

June 15 - 2019 NEW YORK
Pramila Patten UN special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict (File photo: Rick Bajornas / UN)
Pramila Patten UN special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict (File photo: Rick Bajornas / UN)

United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, released a statement yesterday expressing grave concern about the situation in Sudan following the deadly break-up of the sit-in in front of the general command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum by government militiamen on June 3.

The massacre left more than 100 dead and as many as 700 more injured. Doctors believe paramilitaries also carried out more than 70 rapes during the attack.

Patten’s statement points out that despite restrictions on communications in Sudan, reports have emerged alleging serious human rights violations being committed by elements of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and militias since 3 June 2019. These include the rapes and gang rapes of protesters, women’s human rights defenders and women medical personnel working in hospitals near the sit-in. Pending verification of these alleged incidents by relevant United Nations bodies, Patten highlights the fact that the weakness of the rule of law and a general climate of impunity for alleged perpetrators of human rights violations in Sudan is further compounding a highly-volatile context. 

 ‘I demand the immediate and complete cessation of all violence against civilians including sexual violence’ - UN Special Representative Pramila Patten

“I demand the immediate and complete cessation of all violence against civilians including sexual violence. The Rapid Support Forces, which have consistently been listed by the Secretary-General in his annual report on conflict-related sexual violence, should take effective measures to prevent and punish sexual violence in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2467 (2019),” stated Patten. “I urge the prompt investigation of all credible allegations of sexual violence and accountability for those responsible,” she added.

Patten strongly supports the rapid deployment of a United Nations human rights monitoring team to examine the situation on the ground, including alleged cases of sexual violence, and appeals for the full cooperation of the transitional authority in the deployment of such a mission. She also calls upon the international community, including members of the Security Council, to use all possible diplomatic channels with leaders of Sudan to pave the way for a swift transition to a civilian administration and an end to all forms of violence and intimidation against civilians.


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