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Press centre

Joint press release

UN Condemns Massive Upsurge in Rape in Darfur

NEW YORK, 9 October 2006 - Violence against women and children by warring groups in Darfur is reaching alarming levels.  Extreme violence has been a feature of the civil conflict since it erupted in 2003.  However, in the past months, attacks on women and girls, both within and outside camps for the displaced, have soared.

The rising rate of violence against women and children is increased by the participation of many different groups in these crimes.  Warring parties seeking retribution against their opponents by inflicting humiliating punishment on civilians are flagrantly disregarding their obligations under international law.  Moreover, there is scant evidence that culprits are being actively sought, let alone punished, for their crimes.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with relevant resolutions of the Security Council and remind the Sudanese government of its obligation to rigorously and transparently investigate and prosecute all crimes, particularly those committed against women and children.  In addition, more must be done to protect victims who report crimes, and to protect the population in general.

The agencies urge the African Union forces to resume regular firewood and area patrols to provide effective protection to the civilian population, and call upon all parties, including armed groups within internally displaced persons - (IDP) camps, to stop all acts of violence, particularly against women and girls.  Finally, non-governmental organizations providing support to victims of violence must be allowed to undertake their work free from intimidation and obstruction.

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Kristin Hetle (UNFPA): Tel +  212 297 5020 hetle@unfpa.org

William Orme (UNDP): Tel + 212 906 5388, 917 607 1026 william.orme@undp.org

Stephanie Bunker (OCHA): Tel + 917 367 5126, 917 892 1679 bunker@un.org

Nanette Braun (UNIFEM): Tel + 212 906 6829 nanette.braun@unifem.org

Laurence Gerard (Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict): Tel + 212 963 0984 gerardl@un.org

Gordon Weiss (UNICEF): Tel + 917 498 4083 gweiss@unicef.org




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