On January 6th, 2023, members of the former regime kidnapped and raped 15 years old daughter of one of the members of the dismantling committee of Albashir regime. The attack was widely condemned by women groups and the resistance movement.
Altayeb Osman is a prominent member in the former regime dismantling committee, which is working on ending the corruption of the members of the former dictatorship. The committee work was attacked by former regime members and military leaders following the military coup of October 25th, 2021. Members of the committee were detained for weeks following the coup. The kidnapping and rape of Osman Altayeb’s daughter came as the political deal with the military has reached its final stages, where the dismantling committee work is provisioned to be reinstated. The daughter was kidnapped from outside her home, she was taken by three men who attacked her and then threw her under a bridge in Khartoum on the morning of January 6th, 2023. This reprisal attack is proving that the former regime members with the support of the military are waging the war against democracy using the bodies of women as their battlefields.
From Darfur to Khartoum, women protesters, women human rights defenders, women farmers and women family members of democratic leaders are being targeted as rape is being used as a weapon against democracy. During the last year, according to doctors sources and lawyers, over 23 cases of rape of women protesters were documented, another 8 to 10 cases of sexual assault against male protesters also reported.
During the processes of arrest and transportation of protesters, young men, and children’s reported being ordered to remove their clothes while in police cars, humiliated and beaten while naked according to mothers and families of at least 5 of the victims, who are mainly children detained in Omdurman last year. Sudanese military and security forces are trained to use sexual violence and rape as a weapon to wage wars against people’s demands for justice and democracy.
The former leaders of Albashir regime are accused of organizing mass rapes during the conflict in Darfur. International human rights groups and the international criminal court collected profound evidences on the case of Darfur. During the crackdown of the Khartoum sit in, following former regime fall on June 3rd, 2019, dozens of women were raped, the numbers are debated due to the lack of independent investigation into the attack to date.
In conflict areas, women farmers are being targeted by tribal militias and Janjaweed while working in their farms. Jameela Adam, 30 years, mother of 3 children was killed on December 31st, 2022 while fetching wood in South Darfur. Zubaida Eisa a 30 year old woman teacher and farmer was killed by armed militias in Kadugli Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan. She was shot dead on November 20, 2022, while defending herself and another woman farmer against the armed men who attempted to rape both women.
Rape and sexual violence against women, and men in increasing cases, are tools used by the military and antidemocracy forces in Sudan to crush the democratic movement.
Last month, some Sudanese political forces signed a framework agreement with the military and coup leaders to handover power to civilians. The agreement was rejected and criticized by resistance committees, the main organizers of the pro-democracy protests. Some women groups also rejected the agreement in public statements, citing lack of transparency on the issues of justice and accountability.
Amid the continuous political turmoil in Sudan, women bodies are increasingly becoming the battlefield of the war against equality, justice and democracy. The recent reprisal attack against the daughter of the dismantling committee member is sending a worrying alarm about the systematic use of rape as a weapon in Sudan political conflicts.
International actors supporting the political deal in Sudan must take urgent action to condemn and protect women and men from these outrageous attacks. Women bodies and sexual violence shouldn’t be part of the political rivals conflicts. We join voices with colleagues women groups and calls for serious actions that bring justice and ends all forms of immunity in sexual violence crimes in Sudan.