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New conflict in Sudan puts women and girls at extreme risk | World News


Since the outbreak of the Darfur conflict in Sudan on April 25, 2003 – when the Sudan Liberation Movement attacked the Sudanese army – there has been a vicious power struggle in the country’s political landscape, affecting innocent civilians who often find themselves Caught in an endless cycle of indiscriminate armed attacks.

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Sudanese women and young girls are being forced to bear the disproportionate impact of an ongoing power struggle, with widespread sexual violence reported across the country (Reuters)

Fresh fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces broke out on April 15, killing more than 400 people and wounding more than 3,500. The new wave of violence has led to international concern that the fragility of peace between Sudan and South Sudan requires continued bilateral efforts over the disputed oil-rich border town of Abyei.

The war has killed more than 600 people and wounded another 5,000 because of political allegiances centered on ethnic, regional and other group identities. More than 700,000 Sudanese have fled their homes since the violence erupted last month, with another 334,000 internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.

Indeed, violence in Sudan persisted even after the ouster of former President Bashir in 2019, when a transitional government — formed as a result of a power-sharing compromise between military and civilian leaders — came to power, despite Sudan Peace Agreement The agreement was signed in 2020. Yet the perpetuated culture of impunity has failed to provide security and justice, allowing only those implicated in war crimes to remain in leadership positions even today.

While unlawful killings, beatings, looting, exploitation and abuse, and the burning of villages have caused horrific human suffering in Sudan over the past 20 years, it is in fact Sudanese women and young girls who are forced to bear these ongoing powers The disproportionate impact of the struggle.

Fueled by systemic impunity, sexual violence against women is de facto repeatedly used to resolve political conflicts, and rape is widespread across the country by all armed groups. “How Sexual Violence Is Used as a Reward and Entitlement for Youth and Men Engaged in Sudan’s Conflict,” UN South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

With the recent escalation of the conflict, the dangers facing Sudanese women will only intensify. This was well represented in the report of the UN Commission which highlighted a woman’s account of her friend being raped in the forest by a man who also sexually assaulted the friend with a firewood stick until she Bleed to death. The report included accounts of teenage girls who described being left behind by their rapists, bleeding profusely to die.

Currently, some 3.1 million women and girls in Sudan are in urgent need of protection, mitigation and response services. Ongoing conflict not only increases the risk of violence, it also disrupts the provision of services designed to help female survivors of life-threatening gender-based violence such as rape, female genital mutilation and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

In addition, the fierce fighting has put tens of thousands of pregnant women at risk, and even going out of their homes to seek emergency medical services, including safe delivery services, prenatal and postnatal care, is extremely dangerous.

In addition, the fierce fighting has put tens of thousands of pregnant women at risk, and even going out of their homes to seek emergency medical services, including safe delivery services, prenatal and postnatal care, is extremely dangerous.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), there are some 219,000 pregnant women in the capital Khartoum alone, the epicenter of the current violence, and some 24,000 of them are expected to give birth in the coming weeks.

However, evidence from the ground suggests that at least 20 hospitals in Khartoum have already been forced to close due to the violence, and another 12 currently operating across the country may soon close as they continue to grapple with shortages Power outages, water outages, staff shortages, etc.

Indeed, the escalation of conflict between the warring parties has created roadblocks, making it harder for doctors, nurses and hospital staff to get to their workplaces and hindering the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid, leaving medical facilities understaffed and overwhelmed. There is a shortage of critical medical supplies critical to providing life-saving sexual and reproductive health services for women.

Assessing the situation, UNFPA warned that if the violence continued on this scale, there was a risk that “Sudan’s health system will completely collapse and pregnant women and unborn children will die”.

Some four million pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five are acutely malnourished and in urgent need of humanitarian and life-saving nutrition services. Of these, 611,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

However, malnutrition is exacerbated by factors such as inadequate dietary intake, lack of care and feeding practices, prevalence of disease and poor water, sanitation, health and hygiene services – all of which will play a role in the current war Deterioration – Time Scenario.

Extrapolating from this, it can be clearly stated that women’s rights have only been devalued in Sudan over the past 20 years, and that the increasing militarization of the country, the closure of civic space and the restriction of freedoms threaten even women’s groups and human rights defenders in these hostile protection of women’s rights under conditions. As a result, the United Nations and its partners have repeatedly expressed serious concern about the ongoing conflict in Sudan, which is having a dire and disproportionate impact on the lives of Sudanese women and girls.

Akanksha Khullar is a Visiting Scholar at the Observer Research Foundation


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