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HRW calls for investigation into Blue Nile rape claims


December 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported claims of war crimes and rape by Sudanese government army and allied militias in the troubled Blue Nile state and called for an international investigation.

Refugees from Blue Nile state arrive at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state on 22 June 2012. The site is currently home to almost 40,000 refugees (Photo: Giulio Petrocco/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudanese refugees in South Sudan and IDPs told the international rights group they had been raped by the Sudanese government troops who detained and beat them giving for the first time patterns of sexual violence committed in this region since the start of hostilities between the government and SPLM-N rebels in September 2011.

“The United Nations Security Council should immediately establish an international commission of inquiry and impose an arms embargo against the Sudanese government and individual sanctions against human rights violators from all parties. The African Union should support these steps or establish an inquiry of its own,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement released on Monday.

“The Security Council should wake up to the tragedy unfolding in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, verify the facts, and impose both an arms embargo on the government and targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for the abuses,” said Philippe Bolopion, United Nations director at Human Rights Watch.

HRW said they interviewed 42 Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring Upper Nile state’s Maban county in South Sudan and six internally displaced people inside Blue Nile state.

About half of the refugees said they had experienced sexual violence themselves, have an immediate family member or neighbour who had, or had witnessed sexual assaults committed during home raids or house-to-house searches by security forces, the organisation said.

Five women said they were raped by members of security forces or militiamen, and twelve said relatives had been raped. Other women said they were detained first and then were taken away and raped.

A woman called Hawa, 20, said she was subjected to a collective rape following her arrest at a market in the small town of Musfa earlier in 2014.

“They raped me one after the other and they beat me,” said Hawa, adding, “I tried to resist and they pulled me to the ground and [when they were finished] they left me.”. She was taken to Damazin hospital where she remained for 10 days.

HRW said most of the reported incidents took place within the past year. The victims said most of the rape crimes were committed last year by the Rapid Support Force (RSF) militia, and army members.

Sudanese government strongly rejected last month similar accusations of mass rape in North Darfur and slammed the joint peacekeeping mission for raising the claims.


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