31/08/2004

Darfur refugees still at risk of 'rape and violence'

The displaced inhabitants of the Sudanese region of Darfur are traumatised and humiliated, and remain at constant risk of rape and violence, a UN humanitarian official has said.

After visiting the war-torn area, Dennis McNamara, the Director of the UN's Internal Displacement Division, told a press conference in Kenya yesterday that rape and sexual violence against women and girls in Darfur was an "immense problem".

He made his remarks on the day that the Security Council deadline arrived for the Sudanese government to show that it is giving Darfur's vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) better protection and it is disarming the militias accused of attacking civilians.

On Thursday, Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, will brief the Security Council on his findings of whether Khartoum is making progress in its pledges.

In Nairobi, Mr McNamara said there was a "chronic lack of protection" for Darfur's estimated 1.2 million IDPs. He said the Sudanese government was continuing to pressure the IDPs to leave their makeshift camps and return to the homes they fled because of earlier attacks by the Janjaweed militias.

Mr McNamara said Khartoum's harassment was still occurring despite the efforts of officials from the UN, the African Union (AU) and many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Darfur to stop it.

(gmcg)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 August 2004
Sudanese forces 'harassed and brutually treated' refugees
Sudanese military harassed and brutally treated the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Darfur region, in contravention of agreements made to the UN and US, it has been confirmed.
06 August 2004
Sudan pledges to disarm militias within 30 days
UN and Sudanese officials have signed an agreement committing Khartoum to take "detailed steps" in the next 30 days to disarm the militias responsible for deadly attacks in the Darfur region, improve security for the 1.
10 August 2004
UN to vaccinate children trapped behind Sudan's rebel frontlines
Rebel groups in Sudan's western Darfur region have agreed to allow some 500,000 children cut off from regular health services to be vaccinated against such potentially killer diseases as measles and polio, the UN has announced.
29 July 2004
UN mission to assess Darfur plight concludes
An observer group of UN staff, Sudanese officials and representatives of concerned countries today wrapped up its three-day visit to Darfur, where local civilians have been fleeing militia attacks, by touring a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region's west.
28 October 2004
Darfur aid hampered by security and transport problems
Lack of security and restrictions on transport are hampering the delivery and distribution of humanitarian relief to the massive population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the strife-torn Darfur region, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) has reported.