Tag Archives: Darfur

Human Rights Watch Exposes Mass Rape in Darfur

Special Prosecutor for Crimes in Darfur Yasir Ahmed Mohamed (R) and his team talk to women during an investigation into allegations of mass rape in the village of Tabit, in North Darfur, November 20. © 2014 Reuters
Special Prosecutor for Crimes in Darfur Yasir Ahmed Mohamed (R) and his team talk to women during an investigation into allegations of mass rape in the village of Tabit, in North Darfur, November 20. © 2014 Reuters

Human Rights WatchLast week, Human Rights Watch released a scathing report exposing mass rape by the Sudanese military. We first heard about these mass rapes late last year, but the news could not be easily corroborated. Since then, however, through telephone interviews, Human Rights Watch has been able to verify that nearly 200 rapes occurred during a three-day period – between October 30 to November 1, 2014 —  in the small town of Tabit in North Darfur.

Through 130 interviews Human Rights Watch learned that women and girls were routinely raped in their homes by government soldiers sometimes in front of their husbands and children. They were not shown any mercy often having several men rape them.  Soldiers who left the military told HRW that women and girls were targeted because those in high command beliebed them to be rebel supporters.

“The deliberate attack on Tabit and the mass rape of the town’s women and girls is a new low in the catalog of atrocities in Darfur,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “The Sudanese government should stop the denials and immediately give peacekeepers and international investigators access to Tabit.”

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Helping Women In Darfur Become Self-Sufficient

Women’s groups, collectives, and networks are the backbones of Africa. When women are empowered to work together they can demand more for their daily work and they are afforded more opportunities to thrive and create a better lifestyle for their children and families.

One such project in Darfur is called SAFE, a community-led project for women funded by the World Food Programme. According to the United Nations, “SAFE is a locally-run community project in which participants produce fuel-efficient stoves for themselves and to sell at market. The stoves reduce the consumption of firewood by about 30% and, as a result, the number of times women must fetch wood. The center also produces natural firebrick and plant seedlings, maintains an orchard of gum arabic trees, and organizes training for illiterate women.”

Creating their own fuel-efficient stoves and bricks is vitally important for women as going to fetch firewood is often quite dangerous for women and girls and is detrimental to the environment. Oftentimes it takes many hours or sometimes days for women and girls to get firewood and there are perpetual threats of violence and rape in the forests.

There is a magnificent award-winning film called Carbon for Water that shows the plight of girls who have to fetch firewood for their families. Below is the trailer. It is definitely worth watching.

Sharga: Women in Sharga village, in North Darfur, prepare food during the visit of a delegation of ambassadors of the European Union countries into the SAFE centre.

The SAFE Centre is a project promoted by the World Food Program and currently only run by the local community.

The members of this center make fuel efficient stoves for themselves and to sell to the local markets. These stoves reduce around 30% the consumption of firewood and, consequently, it reduces the number of times that women go to the forests to collect firewood.

Besides, the center produces natural firebricks, plants seedlings, runs a forest of gum arabic trees and organizes trainings for illiterate women.

Photo by Albert González Farran – UNAMID

Caption and information courtesy of the United Nations.

World Food Programme Provides Food Vouchers in Abu Shouk Camp in Northern Darfur

In Northern Darfur an estimated 80,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) live in Abu- Shouk Camp in Al-Fashir, Sudan. Al-Fashir is the capital of Northern Sudan. While the stability of the region is still in flux (four UN peacekeepers were killed earlier this month in an ambush) surprisingly there is enough food in the marketplace where the World Food Programme can provide vouchers to displaced families to buy foods like oils, meats, sugar, vegetables, and cereals from local traders and merchants.

Here is a woman in the Abu-Shouk camp with her World Food Programme voucher. Vouchers are a stark contrast to direct food aid and distribution, a food assistance program the World Food Programme is moving away from in the region. People have more choice over the variety of food they buy for their families and they have more dignity purchasing the food. Furthermore, the merchants and traders, of whom many are women, also benefit from the voucher system by bolstering the local economy.

The World Food Programme will feed close to 3.3 million people in the Darfur region this year according to global news agency, AFP.

18 October 2012. Abu Shouk: A local trader measures oil at the voucher distribution center in Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced persons (IDP), North Darfur.
The World Food Program (WFP) has replaced the direct distribution of food to the IDPs for a voucher system where each family can exchange its value for products such as sugar, salt, lentils, oil, cereals, meat, chicken and dried tomatoes. The center hosts 12 local vendors who distributes these products to the IDPs.
Photo by Albert González Farran – UNAMID
18 October 2012. Abu Shouk: A local trader prepares jerry cans at the voucher distribution center in Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced persons (IDP), North Darfur. 

Learn more about the World Food Programme’s cash and vouchers programs at www.wfp.org/cash-and-vouchers

Quick Impact Project Provides Education for Darfur Children

Did you know that the largest peacekeeping mission is currently in Darfur? After the civil war erupted in 2003 between the government of Sudan and rebel groups the African Union and the United Nations partnered to create UNAMID – African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in 2007. Now at over 19,000 peacekeeping military personelle and over 6,000 police the UNAMID is charged with protecting civilians, promoting human rights, monitoring the Chad and Central African Republican borders and ensuring agreements are kept.

The UNAMID has recently opened several Quick Impact Projects (QIPS) in northern Darfur in the areas of education, sanitation, health, community development and women empowerment.

Teacher Rauda Abbakar (above) leads schoolchildren from Kuma Garadayat on a tour of six new development projects, known as Quick Impact Projects. They include a clinic, a women’s’ centre and several schools.

Learn more about the UNAMID on the UN.org web site.