KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Groups of women have staged processions in Khartoum and other regional capitals in Sudan states on Thursday to denounce rape and sexual harassment committed against females protesters during the 19 December mass demonstrations.
It was reported that a number of women were raped in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace while taking part in the protests against the military coup, demanding a return to civilian transitional government on the third anniversary of the December Revolution.
The UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Liz Throssell said that their joint office in Sudan has received 13 allegations of rape and gang rape as well as reports of sexual harassment against women by security forces as they attempted to flee.
Director of the Unit for Combating Violence Against Women at the Ministry of Social Development in Sudan, Sulayma Ishaq, revealed that eight women have reported being raped.
Sulayma said she believes that the number of women who have been raped was greater than those documented.
Beside the protest processions a stand in was also organized by groups of youth Resistance Committees, law men and human rights activists before the office of the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner. They denounced sexual violence committed by the military coup operatives against the women during last Sunday's demonstrations and called for urgent intervention to investigate the incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.
The Darfur Lawyers Association said in a statement that the “emergence of rape claims signals a development in the type of crimes committed by the security forces against protesters”, and called bringing the authors before courts of law.
The Declaration of the December Revolution Forces Unity, a newly established alliance consisting mostly of the Resistance Committees,
Issued a statement saying the rape and sexual harassment committed by the oppressive security organs against female protestors proved that "we are really living in an era governed by gangs, weapons and drugs mafia and clandstine organizations that when ever you think they had committed the most abjacted act they surprise you by producing yet a much hineous act"
The group vowed that such dirty acts would motivate them more to their level best for restoring the rule of law.
Canada, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement, condemning the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon to keep women away from demonstrations and silence women’s voices.
They urged the coup authorities in Sudan to conduct a full and independent investigation into these crimes.
The UN human rights body said "we urge a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into the allegations of rape and sexual harassment, as well as the allegations of death and injury of protesters as a result of the unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, in particular use of live ammunition”.
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