Human Rights Watch today released a report detailing the continued prevalence of rape and sexual violence in Darfur and decrying the impunity in which perpetrators continue to operate.
The 44-page report, “Five Years On, No Justice for Sexual Violence in Darfur,” documents the widespread prevalence of sexual violence throughout Darfur, and details incidents of violent rape perpetrated on girls as young as 11 years old. The government of Sudan has failed to rein in the abuse, much of which is carried out by their own soldiers and allied militia. In spite of the presence of international peacekeepers in Darfur, they have to date been under-resourced and unable to protect women and girls from rape and other forms of violence.
Marking the four-year anniversary of the Security Council’s first action on Darfur, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized the particular plight of women and girls in Darfur, deploring the “violence targeting civilians, including women and girls, that continues at alarming levels with no accountability, or end, in sight.” In his monthly report on the status of UNAMID deployment, Ban called on all parties to “immediately focus” on both civilian protection and the peace process.
While Ban is correct that — as we have emphasized before — peacekeeping must be accompanied by “a peace to keep,” there are certain priorities that require a peacekeeping force as soon as possible. The protection of women and girls in IDP camps is one such priority — and one in which peacekeepers have a demonstrable record of success. The international community therefore needs to speed the deployment of UN military and police personnel — particularly high-ranking and experienced female police officers — who can help staunch this intolerable persistence of rape and sexual violence in Darfur.