Solidarity Against Systematic Sexual Violence in Sudan: A Call for Accountability and International Response

Smoke rises from Sudan’s capital as conflict grips Khartoum

In a grave turn of events that has marred the landscape of human rights and dignity, the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights has voiced its steadfast encouragement and support for the Saiha Network along with the organization La Li Qahr Al-Nisa (No to Women’s Oppression). This alliance extends to numerous women’s and community organizations fighting against the barbaric sexual violations perpetrated by the Rapid Support Militia in Sudan. The observatory has meticulously documented a harrowing total of 168 instances of rape targeting health staff and civilians since the outbreak of conflict on April 15. It is crucial to highlight that the actual number of victims is likely significantly higher, given the societal pressures and conservative traditions that deter victims from coming forward.

In a series of acts devoid of humanity, the Rapid Support Militia has engaged in the kidnapping of Sudanese girls, leveraging their freedom against exorbitant ransoms demanded from their families. Furthermore, many women and girls have been coerced into domestic servitude, facing unspeakable sexual abuses. These actions are not only reprehensible but also represent clear violations of international human rights laws and the fundamental principles of humanitarian ethics.

Adding a complex layer to this situation, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda received General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the chief of the Rapid Support Forces, in Kigali on January 6, 2024. This meeting has drawn criticism and raised questions regarding the stance and involvement of the Rwandan government in the context of the ongoing atrocities in Sudan. The interaction between high-ranking officials of Rwanda and the leader of a militia accused of such severe human rights violations prompts a critical examination of Rwanda’s diplomatic engagements and its implications on international efforts to address the crisis in Sudan.

The Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights, through its unwavering support for women’s rights organizations, underscores the imperative of protecting women from sexual violence. It calls for the global community to unite in holding the perpetrators accountable and to intensify efforts in providing support to survivors. The observatory commits to collaborating with all relevant entities to document these violations thoroughly, offer assistance to those affected, and pursue legal avenues to ensure justice prevails.

The plight of the Sudanese people, especially the women and girls who have suffered immeasurably, demands immediate attention and action from the international community. It is a stark reminder of the need for solidarity, accountability, and the unwavering pursuit of justice to combat such heinous crimes. The meeting in Kigali, while contentious, serves as a critical juncture to reflect on the broader responsibilities of nations and leaders in addressing and preventing such atrocities on the global stage.