The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded its 77th Ordinary Session held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 20 October to 9 November 2023. During the session, the Commission renewed its Bureau. It received solemn declarations from elected and re-elected members and launched several documents and newsletters, among others.
On March 14th, 2022, one 18 year-old woman protester was gang raped by 3 members of the Central Reserve Forces according to the victim and witnesses.
Following protests’ crackdown in Khartoum, near the bridge of Masalamya, 18 year-old woman, originally from South Sudan was forced out of public transportation with two other girls by Central Reserve Forces, which is part of the Sudanese riot police. The three girls were chased by members of the forces,where the survivors were taken to a place near the bridge and raped. Her screaming was heard by residents and people walking around the area. At least three officers gang raped the young woman, while beating her. Residents of the area found her and took her to hospital in critical condition. She is receiving medical care in the hospital.
This incident follows the gang rape and sexual assault of 13 women on December 19th, 2021. The Sudanese military and coup leaders are using rape and sexual violence as a weapon to silence women protesters. There was no investigation, and no steps were taken to ensure accountability in the previous case. In early January 2022, at least 2 other women reported sexual assault by security forces.
“On 24 December, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan issued an emergency order (No. 3/2021) granting regular security forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, the police and the General Intelligence Service, new sweeping powers enabling them to arrest and search individuals and buildings, regulate movements of people and confiscate goods and property. The emergency order also granted immunity to regular forces against any proceedings.” (UNITAMS report March 2022). This new emergency order ended hopes for justice and accountability for the crimes of the security forces since October 25th, 2021. On March 3rd, 2022, the June 3 Massacre investigation committee was forced to stop its procedures. Nabil Adib, the head of the committee said in a statement, “security forces ordered the evacuation of the buildings occupied by the committee’s own guarding staff and handed them over to authorities. They prevented the committee’s employees from entering the premises and taking any equipment belonging to the committee.” The commitee was formed in 2019 to investigate the 3rd of June massacre where more than 200 individuals were killed and over 60 women were raped.
This attack on the justice system through the emergency laws and the hindering of investigation for the crimes against protesters must end. Justice and accountability for sexual and gender based violence against women in Sudan must be ensured. Women Human Rights Defenders’ work must be protected.
We the undersigned organisations call for the following:
- Sudan must end impunity for security forces committing these crimes.
- Sudan must end the emergency laws that prevent the rule of law and hinder justice.
- OHCHR, the Expert on Sudan Mr. Adama Dieng and all relevant Special Procedures must take urgent action to condemn these crimes against women protesters and call for an independent and swift international investigation.
- Governance Programming Overseas
- International Service for Human Rights
- Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA
- Rights for Peace Foundation
- Nora Center for Combating Sexual Violence
- Sudan Doctors for Human Rights
- Sudanese Women Rights Action
ISHR and Outright International celebrate the adoption by United Nations Third Committee Member States today of a resolution on elections and democratic processes that, for the second time, specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination in people’s right to participate in public affairs.
Next week, the Human Rights Council will seek to adopt a resolution on the human rights situation in Afghanistan. The context in which this takes place is of deep financial, humanitarian and human rights crises in the country, but also of political negligence by the international community.