Published on سبتمبر 10th, 2015 | by admin0
هيومن رايتس ووتش : تنشر تقرير يوثق الفظائع المروعة التى ارتكبتها قوات الدعم السريع
“[The government soldiers] confiscated our belongings. They took our livestock. They beat the men. And then they raped us. They raped us in a group. Some women were raped by 8 or 10 men. Seventeen women were raped together. All of us were raped. Even the underage girls were raped.”
– Mahassan , 38, resident of the Golo area, July 2015
“I am deeply sorry. But you must understand that this was not my endeavor, I was under the command of men with no mercy. I wish I could turn back the time.”
– Ibrahim, 19, Sudanese military defector who admitted killing a young woman, July 2015
The Rapid Support Forces (al-Quwat al-Da’m al-Sari’ in Arabic, or RSF) is a Sudanese government force under the command of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The RSF was created in mid-2013 to militarily defeat rebel armed groups throughout Sudan.
The RSF led two counterinsurgency campaigns in the long-embattled region of Darfur in 2014 and 2015 in which its forces repeatedly attacked villages, burned and looted homes, beating, raping and executing villagers. The RSF received support in the air and on the ground from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and other government-backed militia groups, including a variety of proxy militias, commonly known as Janjaweed.
The first campaign named “Operation Decisive Summer” took place primarily in South Darfur and North Darfur between late February and early May 2014. The second, “Operation Decisive Summer II,” took place primarily in and around Jebel Marra, the mountainous region located primarily in Central Darfur, between early January 2015 and the onset of the rainy season in June 2015.
Based on research conducted between May 2014 and July 2015, this report describes serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by the RSF and other Sudanese government forces during the two RSF-led counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur. Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 151 survivors and witnesses of abuses in Darfur who fled Sudan to Chad and South Sudan, 16 who were interviewed inside Darfur, and an additional 45 victims and witnesses in Darfur by telephone.
Human Rights Watch found that the RSF committed a wide range of horrific abuses, including the forced displacement of entire communities; the destruction of wells, food stores and other infrastructure necessary for sustaining life in a harsh desert environment; and the plunder of the collective wealth of families, such as livestock. Among the most egregious abuses against civilians were torture, extrajudicial killings and mass rapes.
Many civilians were killed by the RSF when they refused to leave their homes or give up their livestock, or when they tried to stop RSF fighters from raping them or members of their family.
The RSF violations of international humanitarian law amount to war crimes. The mass rape and killings and other abuses appear part of widespread and systematic attacks on civilian populations that may constitute crimes against humanity. Crimes against humanity are serious offenses, including murder, torture and rape, committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population. As Human Rights Watch research has found, the RSF committed rape in numerous towns and villages over an extended period of time, making them widespread. First-hand accounts of orders from commanders to commit crimes and the RSF’s repeated use of abusive practices indicate that they were systematic.
The attack on the town of Golo, in central Jebel Marra, was emblematic of RSF atrocities. The Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) rebel faction had contested control of Golo at various times since the Darfur conflict began in 2003, but during the past year the town had been firmly under government control.
On January 24 and 25, 2015 the RSF took over the town, burning buildings and looting. Human Rights Watch interviewed 21 people who had been in Golo and neighboring villages at the time. Nearly everyone interviewed said that they witnessed killings, rape, and widespread beating and looting.
Nur al-Huda, a young woman from Golo, told Human Rights Watch that she was in her compound with her father and sisters when the RSF attacked: “They killed my father. My father was defending us so that we would not be raped and he was beaten to death. … After they killed my father they raped the three of us. Me and my two sisters. … After they raped us they stole everything.”
During the three weeks after they attacked Golo, the RSF continued to rape scores of women and girls in the town and many more in the neighboring village of Bardani. Many of the women were gang raped, often in front of community members who were forced to watch. Those who resisted were killed. The naked bodies of many dead women were later discovered in the streets; other women were burned alive. The survivors of the Golo mass rape have not had access to medical or psychosocial services.
Many survivors of RSF attacks fled to camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in government-controlled territory or the hills and mountains outside of government-controlled areas. Those who fled to IDP camps are almost entirely dependent on the international community for a modicum of protection and subsistence; survivors who fled to the hills, primarily in Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra, are often unable to return to their farms with no access to desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Both groups remain vulnerable to further abuse.
The United Nations Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has received reports that as many as 130,000 people remain displaced in areas out of the reach of humanitarian agencies. Lacking adequate food, shelter, and medical care, and unable to return to their homes or their farms, there is a risk that they could face death from starvation, illness, or exposure to the elements. RSF attacks were often carried out in areas that had been controlled or contested by two of the most significant rebel factions, including the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi (SLA/MM) in 2014 and the SLA/AW faction in 2015. However, the overwhelming majority of the abuses reported to Human Rights Watch were committed by RSF or other government forces in villages and towns where rebels were reportedly never present or had left prior to the attacks. Some RSF attacks even occurred in towns or villages that were entirely under government control.
Human Rights Watch also spoke with five defectors from Sudanese government forces: two RSF members, two SAF soldiers, and one Border Guard. Four of the defectors participated in attacks in Jebel Marra or East Jebel Marra. All five defected to the rebels after having participated in RSF-led counterinsurgency campaigns, during which time they witnessed serious abuses by soldiers. Four of the five said commanding officers ordered their units to carry out atrocities against civilians. One admitted to committing serious crimes himself.
The numerous abuses documented in this report demonstrate the continuing need for an effective and rapidly responsive international force that can help protect civilian populations in Darfur from attack. The abuses also demonstrate that the current African-Union-United-Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, UNAMID, has been hamstrung in its performance and in the implementation of its core mandate to protect civilians.
The UN and AU should focus on how to urgently improve and bolster UNAMID’s ability to protect civilians from attacks, including the kinds of attacks they have suffered during the RSF-led campaigns, and to effectively investigate and expose abuses without endangering victims and witnesses.
Although UNAMID’s mandate includes reporting on human rights abuses, the mission has failed to release any detailed documentation about abuses against civilians during either of the RSF-led counterinsurgency campaigns. Several reports of the UN secretary-general to the UN Security Council have referred to attacks by the RSF causing civilian displacement; however, there has been no indication of magnitude of the other serious abuses, such as sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, and burning of villages.
Human Rights Watch calls on the UN Security Council, the AU Peace and Security Council, and UNAMID to take concrete steps to protect civilians in Darfur from further abuse, including sanctioning individuals responsible for attacks on civilians, to expand and ensure access to humanitarian assistance for victims, including medical and psychosocial care for victims of sexual violence and other forms of trauma, and to press for cooperation with the International Criminal Court’s investigation and prosecution of grave international crimes in Darfur.