Internal anger and condemnation from abroad.. Feminist processions in Sudan denounce the “rape” of female demonstrators

Khartoum- A state of shock has pervaded Sudanese circles over the past few days, with news circulating that a number of young women were raped and harassed while participating in a protest procession last Sunday.

Human rights and media circles accuse members of the regular forces of being involved in the rape of girls.

Sudanese cities have witnessed semi-regular protests since last October 25, in rejection of the decisions of the General Commander of the Army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who suspended the constitutional document, declared a state of emergency, and removed political forces from the political scene, accusing them of controlling the management of the joints of the state and excluding the rest of the parties from the circle of action.

The decisions led to congestion in the street, and the civil parties and forces decided to raise slogans calling for the military to withdraw from politics, to return to the barracks, and to hand over power to civilian leaders.

The protests continued despite the army’s reluctance to isolate Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, and to enable him again to carry out his duties.

These slogans, which seem to have dominated all the popular processions, do not satisfy the leaders of the regular forces, as the demonstrators are being dealt with excessive violence by firing live bullets and gas canisters, which has led to the deaths of at least 45 people since October 25.

Human rights and medical bodies are talking about the use of tear gas that affects the nervous and respiratory systems, and there has been talk of documenting rape of girls who participated in the December 19 procession.

Yesterday, Thursday, at least 40 Sudanese feminist bodies, organizations, movements and initiatives called to demonstrate in protest against these violations, and handed over a memorandum to the office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country.

Al Jazeera Net monitored a wide participation in the procession that handed the memorandum to the UN official, and then joined a vigil in Omdurman, amid widespread condemnation of violations against women and calls for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

The processions were not limited to Khartoum, where several cities in the states witnessed similar vigils to denounce the improper practices of the regular agencies.

Palace walls

The news of the rape began to circulate hours after the convoy broke up last Sunday, which was able for the first time to reach the walls of the palace, when the “Khartoum Bahri” resistance committees spoke in a statement that the excesses that happened exceeded the limit of description, reaching the rape of two young women and cases of sexual violence and other throwing of Totti’s bridge fractured her vertebral chain.

Hala Al-Karib, the regional director of the Sayha network, says – to Al Jazeera Net – that sexual violence against women is systematic and intentional, “especially since rape is part of the practices of the military institution that does not have any accountability and justice mechanisms to limit violations against civilians.”

Al-Karib says, “The military establishment has adopted rape as a means of humiliating women and communities in Darfur for more than 20 years, in addition to the fact that the rape crimes committed in Khartoum during the dispersal of the leadership sit-in did not receive attention and justice from the transitional government, similar to the murders committed in the dispersal of the sit-in. Repetition of crimes occurs in the absence of accountability and lack of access to justice.”

The Darfur Human Rights Lawyers Association confirmed the occurrence of rapes against girls, and quoted some of them as having been threatened with restricting lawsuits against them to “practicing prostitution to force them to remain silent.”

In a statement, she indicated that the phenomenon of rape illustrates the development in the type of crimes committed against the revolutionaries, calling for a campaign to prosecute the perpetrators and those behind them to prevent impunity.

Over time, the number of women complaining of rape increased after a spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Office published a statement talking about reporting 13 cases of rape and gang rape.

But the government and its security institutions remained completely silent, and there was no comment about them.

Salima Ishaq, director of the (governmental) unit for combating violence against women and children, said that the number of women victims of rape on the night of the December 19 parade reached 8 documented cases that were confirmed.

systematic violence

The memorandum – obtained by Al Jazeera Net – talked about women being subjected to systematic violence during the sit-in dispersal process on June 3, 2019, and the subsequent unfortunate events of the frequency of sexual violence crimes in Darfur and other areas.

She added, “We are now finding ourselves once again as Sudanese women in the midst of defending our rights, security and safety through our peaceful participation in marches to defend democracy and rights in the face of crimes of systematic sexual violence since the December revolution until today.”

The memorandum indicated that field reports, and data of the Unit for Combating Violence against Women and Children, confirmed the occurrence of 9 cases of rape and gang rape in the vicinity of the Republican Palace in Khartoum.

And it quoted a 10-year-old girl who was raped by at least 10 men, who were wearing the uniforms of the official security forces. Neighborhood committees also reported that dozens of girls were subjected to harassment and various types of physical and sexual assault during their arrest and later in police stations, according to the memo.

protection demands

The signatories of the memorandum called on the United Nations High Commissioner to adopt the demands of forming independent investigation committees to investigate cases of sexual and physical violence against female and male demonstrators, and to provide the accused to fair trials.

They also called for the work of UN bodies and the UN mission to provide protection for female demonstrators and demonstrators and to provide urgent medical services, protection, and support for victims and survivors to access justice according to their will, while calling on military and security institutions to immediately stop using all forms of sexual violence, violations and extrajudicial killings against peaceful demonstrators and demonstrators. .

Activist Shahinaz Jamal confirms to Al Jazeera Net that women are determined to resist all forms of violence, and not to remain silent about violations.

On Thursday, the European Union, America, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Britain condemned the use of sexual and gender-based violence to keep women away from demonstrations and silence their voices.

These countries called on the Sudanese authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations of violence and to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable, in addition to guaranteeing the right of the Sudanese to freedom of expression and assembly free from violence.

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