Feb 23, 2024 15:12 UTC
  • Sexual violence in Sudan may amount to war crimes: UN report

The United Nations has warned that sexual assault reports coming from Sudan may amount to war crimes as at least 118 people have been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in more than 10 months of conflict.

The UN human rights office said in a new report on Friday that at least 118 people, including children, had been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the months-long power struggle going on in Sudan, noting that the sexual assaults reported to the international body may amount to war crimes.

The ongoing power struggle between the two rivaling Sudanese forces — the country’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and a paramilitary faction known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan's former deputy and RSF chief. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo — has plunged the African country into chaos since the fighting started on April 15.

 The conflict has killed at least 12,000 people and sent over 7.5 million fleeing their homes, according to the report which covers a period from the outbreak of the fighting up to Dec. 15.

The report was based on interviews with more than 300 victims and witnesses, some of whom had escaped to neighboring Ethiopia and Chad.

One particular woman, according to the UN report, “was held in a building and repeatedly gang-raped over a period of 35 days.”

The latest report released stated that the victims included at least 19 children. Both sides of the conflict have recruited child soldiers, the UN report added.

The UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, asserted that, "Some of these violations could amount to war crimes."

He called for an independent investigation to verify the assaults and crimes.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the opposing generals in Sudan to end the conflict through dialogue, saying to reporters earlier in February that there is no military solution. He emphasized that fighting “will not bring any solution so we must stop this as soon as possible.”