Call for Justice for Sudanese Women Protesters

Marking The 1st Anniversary of June 3rd Massacre

Today marks the first anniversary of the 3rd June massacre of peaceful protesters in Khartoum. The crimes took place in this day last year resulted in the death of 200 peoples, among them 4 women protesters. During 8 hours of unprecedented violence, at least 64 women were raped, while dozens faced extreme sexual violence. In the days following the crackdown on the peaceful sit in, violence continued all over Sudan where more women and girls subjected to sexual harassment, injury and humiliation. Videos and photos emerged on Social Media documented the forces attacked the sit in and committed these crimes. Dozens and hundreds of witnesses has confirmed the involvement of all law and order forces and the army in the attack in addition to militias belongs to the former regime.

A year after the attack and six months after the initiation of the investigation committee on the events, Sudanese people are still waiting for justice. The constitution document signed in August 2019, had mentioned the importance of achieving justice for all the victims of the massacre. In December 2019, an independent investigation committee was formed, but the lack of resources and protection of witnesses has hindered many witnesses and victims from approaching the committee. Women victims of sexual violence in particular were not feeling safe enough to approach the committee.

During the 8 month of the Sudanese revolution, women protesters faced unprecedented amount of violence and human rights violations amounts to serious atrocities that must be investigated urgently and independently. Hundreds of women protesters were injured, detained, sexually abused and tortured. At least 13 women were killed during the protests among them young child of 7 years old. Most of the deaths were caused by gun shots in the head and chest, which means direct targeting of the victims with orders to shoot to kill.
Hundreds of women professionals were subjected to intimidation, detention, unfair trials and reprisals because of their leadership of workers unions and local communities during the revolution. Women lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, bankers, university professors and others were detained for weeks without charges or access to medical care. During the sit in crackdown on June 3rd, 2019, hundreds of women protesters were subjected to sexual violence including, verbal and physical harassment, rape, beating and intimidation. The main perpetrators are NISS officers, NCP militias, and riot police, before the regime fall on April 11, 2019. After the regime fell, the main forces responsible for most of the violence are the RSF officers and their leader Hamiditi. These forces are known of their use of rape as a weapon in Darfur and other war areas. RSF soldiers used all forms of violence and especially sexual violence during the sit in crackdown on June 3rd, 2019 and the days followed the attack all over Sudan.
The numbers of women raped, killed, injured, abused remains unknown due to the continuous fear from the perpetrators, as some of them became the head of state. On August 17th, 2019, the military council and the civilian forces reached a power sharing deal that insured 50 % of the sovereignty council to the military council members including the leader of the RSF. Although the transitional government will be led by civilian government, but the positions of the main perpetrators in the new state structure give them more power to silence the victims or to escape justice.

In the light of the continuous delay in taking serious steps toward investigating sexual violence in the sit crackdown, we call for an independent investigation on gender based violence during these events.
We also call the International human rights mechanisms including the: (Human Rights Council, United Nation, African Commission for Human and People Rights) to:

  • Establish an independent investigation or form a fact-finding mission, into all human rights violations and abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence, committed in the context of peaceful protests since December 2018.
    -The human rights council should renew and strengthen the mandate of the independent expert and ensure close monitoring and public reporting for the OHCHR.
    -Provide technical support and capacity building to the newly formed transitional government to build human rights protection institutions and reform laws to comply with the international human rights standards, especially on women’s rights issues.
    -Call the Sudanese government to ratify CEDAW and all human rights covenants that protect women’s rights.
    -Support the International Criminal Court calls for arrest and hand over of the former regime leaders to trials on crimes against humanity that include mass rapes in Darfur.
    -Take steps through the united nations and the security council to place sanctions on the perpetrators who committed human rights atrocities against women since December 2018.

Download our report about women protesters here