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  • Ciara Laverty

54th UN Human Rights Council Side Event on Sudan

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

By Ciara Laverty, September 12th 2023

On 15 September 2023, Rights for Peace will discuss the scale and impact of crimes against humanity being committed in Sudan at the side event Sudan: Addressing Impunity Through International Action at the 54th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. Najlaa Ahmed Elkhalifa, Rights for Peace Legal Advisor, will join panellists from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Emergency Lawyers Group to call for urgent action by the Human Rights Council to address the crisis in Sudan.

Since the outbreak of the new conflict in Sudan on 15 April 2023, civilians have been facing brutal violence - over 5 million have been displaced inside and outside Sudan due to the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. Thousands have been killed and injured, others face enforced displacement and women and girls as young as 12 are being subjected to sexual violence. Rights for Peace will highlight the findings of our Study on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and Opportunities for Reparation, showing how the impacts of conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan have been devastating for decades, with the current conflict taking the use of rape as a weapon of war to new levels.

In the face of suffering on this scale, the international community has been slow to take action, allowing the ongoing atrocities to spread. It must now act decisively and without delay. Together with 110 other civil society organisations, Rights for Peace has called on the Human Rights Council to urgently establish an independent mechanism to investigate human rights violations in Sudan when it meets for its 54th Session this month.

A flyer announcing the time, date, panellists and sponsors of the Human Rights Council side event

During the Human Rights Council side event on 15 September, co-sponsored by Rights for Peace, experts will offer an update on developments on the ground in Sudan and will present concrete recommendations for action by the Council to advance accountability, prevent atrocities and protect human rights in the ongoing conflict. Rights for Peace will highlight in particular the devastating reports of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, sexual slavery and trafficking, that have emerged since the outbreak of the conflict.

Our Briefing Note on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Sudan, reveals the scale, nature and horrific impact of conflict-related sexual violence that is currently taking place in Sudan. Sexual violence is being used as a tool to exploit, terrorise and dominate the civilian population and, in conflict areas such as Darfur, to target individuals based on their ethnic background. Women and girls are being subjected to sexual violence inside their homes, when seeking food or other necessities or when fleeing the fighting. Some have been raped in front of family members while others have been abducted and subjected to conditions that may amount to sexual slavery.

The Human Rights Council must urgently establish an independent mechanism to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Sudan. This must include a focus on conflict-related sexual violence, with a view to ensuring justice and reparations for survivors and accountability of those responsible.

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