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MRG begins letter-writing campaign for women in Darfur suffering rape

1 August 2006

Letter from Katrina Naomi, MRG Gender Officer, to:

Yakin Erturk – Special Raporteur on Violence Against Women
Juan Mendez – SR on Genocide
Gay McDougall – Independent Expert on Minorites and Indigenous Peoples
Prosecutor Ocampo – International Criminal Court

Dear Yakin Erturk,

I am writing to you from Minority Rights Group International. As part of its conflict and gender campaigns, MRG is increasingly concerned at the number of rapes against minority women and girls in Sudan. I would like to draw your attention to a recent attack on 24 July 2006 on 20 Fur women in Darfur. The attack happened outside Kalma internally displaced camp in Nyala, southern Darfur. The women, who had left the camp to collect firewood, were beaten and 17 were raped by c 25 armed militias (some in army uniform).

We are concerned that minority women in southern and norther Darfur are being attacked and raped with impunity by armed militias. This is happening despite the Darfur peace agreement signed in May of this year. We believe that there has been an increase in the instability and discord between several communities in the region, including attacks on the Fur.

We would urge you to use your position to call for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attacks of 24 July 2006 and for those responsible to be arrested and put on trial. We would also like to ask you to urge the authorities in Sudan and the African Union to provide the 20 Fur women with adequate medical and psychiatric care, and to provide protection for these and other women and girls in internally displaced peoples camps in Darfur.

This matter is all the more urgent, given that the UN announced that c 25,000 civilians have been displaced in recent weeks – this will mean even more minority women and girls in camps, facing potential violence and a highly uncertain future.

I would be grateful if you could send me a copy of any actions that you are able to take on this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Katrina Naomi
MRG Gender Officer

Background to the situation: here