Sudan: Authorities Urged to Protect Women and Children Following Violence and Protests in Sudan


Authorities in Sudan must protect boys and girls from violence, a senior official with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday, following recent deadly inter-communal clashes in West Darfur and protests in the capital, Khartoum.

Kambou Fofana, Acting UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, made the appeal in a statement on reported excessive use of force against children.

“UNICEF calls on all authorities in Sudan to protect all children from all forms of violence and harm including during conflict and political events. The use of excessive force against civilians is unnecessary and should be avoided, always,” he said.

Violence displaces families

Mr. Fofana reported that an increase in inter-communal violence in West Darfur, most recently in Jebel Moon, has resulted in a high number of deaths, with children among the victims.

Families continue to be displaced by the fighting, and UNICEF has also received reports of gender-based violence in the area.

Children and women were also among those injured in demonstrations in Khartoum earlier this week, he added.

‘Harrowing reports’ of rape

Thousands took to the streets on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the uprising which led to the April 2019 overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled for three decades.

“We are closely following harrowing reports of rape of women and girls during the protests,” said Mr. Fofana.

Meanwhile, the UN official fighting to stamp out rape during wartime was also gravely concerned about reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment by Sudanese security forces during the demonstrations.

Credible reports of violations

Pramila Patten, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, expressed deep concern over credible reports of serious human rights violations, including the use of rape and gang rape of women and girls, to disperse protesters who had attemptedto hold a sit-in close to the Republican Palace.

While some survivors have filed judicial complaints and sought medical assistance, others have not due to social stigma, fear of persecution and reprisals, her office said on Thursday.

Ms. Patten underlined that the absence of criminal accountability for these crimes can prevent survivors from seeking redress, and perpetuate “cycles of impunity” that hinder peacebuilding and recovery efforts.