Thu, Aug 23, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Sudanese military abducted, raped women, UN says

NO INVESTIGATION A woman abducted with her daughter described how women were raped and those who resisted were beaten with sticks

AP, GENEVA

The UN's top human rights office released gruesome new details of rapes of Darfur women, reportedly by soldiers and government militia, and accused the Sudanese government of failing to investigate.

"The abuses may also constitute war crimes," said the report by the office of Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Members of the Sudanese armed forces and allied militiamen allegedly subjected around 50 women to multiple rapes and other forms of violence in an attack on the village of Deribat in late December, it said, adding that they abducted many children.

Deribat was one of nine villages attacked in the eastern Jebel Marra region of Darfur at the time, it said, adding that 36 civilians were killed and many people were driven from their homes.

"Interviews indicate that the abducted women were systematically raped," said Tuesday's report, which was compiled by a team of the UN's human rights investigators.

"Some children were beaten by their abductors and they were exposed to the traumatic scenes of rape," it said.

Testimony from victims indicated that the attacks were committed by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated groups, the report said.

Arbour's office urged the Sudanese government to "establish an independent body to investigate abduction, rape and sexual slavery committed in the region," and said the suspects should be brought to justice.

The office said in a report last April that the military and its allies have been using rape as part of a wider assault on people belonging to the same ethnic group as some Darfuri rebels.

The report said UN representatives presented the initial findings to local authorities in Darfur, but "no investigations were carried out by the authorities," it said.

Sudanese government reaction was not immediately available. Rahma Slih Elobied of the Sudanese mission to the UN in Geneva said that she was unable to comment because she had yet to see the report.

The report said a woman who had been abducted from Deribat with her 16-year-old daughter described how the women were raped in front of each other. Those who resisted would be beaten with sticks, the report said.

The women suffered physical injuries and psychological trauma from the repeated rapes by many of the attackers, the report said.

"A number of women became pregnant as a result of the rape," posing a further health risk to them, it said.

The women were forced to cook and serve food to their abductors, but received only leftovers to eat, the report said.

Darfur has been the scene of a bloody four-year conflict between government-backed militias and rebel forces.

Also see story:
The flawed options in Darfur

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