UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
Last 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.”
During the weekend we read global news articles worth reading from media outlets ranging from the New York Times to the Guardian. If you would like to bookmark some of these articles we recommend using Instapaper or Evernote for future reading.
- The New York Times published a heartbreaking video about the malnutrition crisis that is ongoing in Afghanistan in Afghanistan’s Unexplained Hunger Crisis.
- Peace talks have officially begun between the South Sudanese and rebel groups in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read the progress so far in South Sudan and Rebels Open Peace Talks.
- Despite the growing number of U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and South Sudan evidence points to the troops not being able to effectively stop the violence. Details are in Record Number of U.N. Peacekeepers Fails to Stop African Wars.
- Although peace talks between the South Sudanese and Rebels were initially begun in Addis Ababa, talks were halted on Sunday due to shooting in Juba. Read more in South Sudan Peace Talks Stall Amid Fresh Clashes in Juba.
- Bangladesh had national elections this weekend, but violence broke out and the voter numbers were low – only 22%. 19 people have been reported killed and over 400 poll centers were closed due to security concerns: Low Turnout in Bangladesh Elections Amid Boycott and Violence.
Direct from NGOs
- The amount of violence against children in the Central African Republic is increasing steadily amid the sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. UNICEF says children have been beheaded, mutilated, and are being recruited into war. Read: Children Being Brutalized in the Central African Republic.
- UNAIDS has published a PDF with a rundown of HIV/AIDS statistics from 2013. This is definitely a PDF worth bookmarking for future reference.
- There are over 100,000 people who have sought refuge at the airport in Bangui due to the increased violence in Central African Republic’s capital city. Doctors Without Borders has announced they have had to decrease services because the violence is so bad.
Security Council Authorizes African Union Mission in Central African Republic
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.