UN condemns dangerous rise in gender-based violence in Sudan

A mother seeks shelter at a refugee entry point A mother seeks shelter at a refugee entry point Catherine Harding Wiltshire via Pexels

Reports of gender-based violence related to the conflict in Sudan are growing in frequency, heightening the concerns of top UN officials

Agency heads from the Office of Humanitarian Coordination OCHA, the Office for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Agency for Sexual and Reproductive Health (UNFPA), UN Women, and the World Health Organization (WHO) called for an end to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including conflict-related sexual violence against internally displaced persons and refugee women and girls.

They called for prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all alleged gross violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, and for perpetrators to be held accountable. It was stressed that all parties must fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, including women and girls, and ensure safe passage for survivors to access health care.

The need to rapidly scale up gender-based violence prevention and response services in Sudan and neighboring countries, where refugees fleeing violence seek safety, was also stressed.

UNHCR urged Sudan's warring generals to allow safe passage for civilians after 28 Sudan-hosted refugees were killed in Khartoum during fighting on June 25. Mamadou Dian Balde, UNHCR regional director, said that "once again refugees and other civilians are the innocent victims of this tragic war". 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that the health needs of the population in Sudan are high and access to health care remains difficult. He also highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of people at risk of starvation, as well as attacks on health care and gender-based violence. Tedros called for a cessation of hostilities and the protection of health workers and facilities, as well as corridors for the delivery of humanitarian and health supplies.


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by Chiara Cacciatore 

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