Date: March 9. 2015

For immediate release

For contact :, 804 439 2022

Darfur Women Action Group

The shameful betrayal of Darfuri women by the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is writing to expose the failure of the United Nations, its betrayal of Darfuri women, and to not only condemn Sudan’s participation, but its position as Vice-Chair of the Bureau for the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

On October 31, 2014, members of the Sudanese army raped over 200 women and girls, the majority of whom were minors, over a 36 hour period. There was little to no response from the United Nations or international community and a clear lack of concern as the UN failed to investigate or even publicly condemn the mass rape until DWAG launched a petition calling for an investigation. The petition was signed by thousands of supporters and was reinforced by a Human Rights Watch report, which exposed the incident and made it impossible for the UN and the Sudanese government to ignore or deny it, which they initially had done. Even so, the victims and their families continue to be terrorized and threatened by the government of Sudan for speaking out about the incident; they are left vulnerable, without any protection or medical treatment.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Violent mass rapes have been ongoing since the beginning of the Darfur genocide and world leaders have done nothing to protect the victims or hold the perpetrators accountable. On the contrary, they are not only allowing the government that commits these heinous crimes to participate in the CSW, but they have selected Sudan to be Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the Commission.

The CSW is a forum where women, such as those victimized in Darfur, are supposed to be present and participate as they seek support, express concerns, and articulate their demands for protection and advancement of their rights. Unfortunately, the CSW has made no effort to give Darfuri women access to the CSW sessions. Instead, it has invited their government to be Vice-Chair of the Bureau, giving it legitimacy even as it continues its crimes against women. By participating in the CSW, Sudan’s delegation will have the opportunity to spread more lies, spin facts, and impede the advancement of women’s rights and protection, not only in Darfur but throughout the world.

It is shameful that African leaders and the United Nations empower and legitimize a government that still uses rape as a weapon of war and a tool of genocide; it is shameful that the Sudanese government, which facilitates, and even perpetrates, rape and violence against women, will be Vice-Chair at a forum that was explicitly established and designated to promote the advancement and protection of women’s rights.

Countries that participate in the CSW are supposed to demonstrate their positive track record on, and commitment to, women’s rights, protection, and gender equality. Sudan legalizes violence against women, including flogging, and it deliberately sponsors and implements rape of its own civilians, including children. Girls as young as seven years old are violently gang raped and some die from the injuries. A country with a horrific track record of sexual violence, rape, and oppression of women, Sudan should never be allowed at a CSW session, let alone be selected as Vice-Chair. Selecting Sudan as Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women will not only send the wrong message to those who commit violence against women, but it will discredit the remarkable work that the Commission is striving to advance.

Therefore, we appeal to everyone who opposes rape and violence against women to speak up for the women of Darfur and take a stance in the face of this genocidal regime, which has used women’s and girls’ bodies as a battlefield. We urge you to demand that Sudanese officials be excluded from the CSW session. We also implore the decision-making bodies within the CSW and UN women’s divisions to bar the Sudanese government from attending the CSW’s 59th session.

We must stand vigilant in the face of the world’s worst crimes. If the world leaders are failing their responsibility, we, the world citizens, must speak up and hold them accountable.

With your support, we can enable the people of Darfur to establish a basis for equal rights and respect for human dignity in Darfur and across Sudan – and permanently end the longest genocide in history.

Niemat Ahmadi
Norrie Kurtz,
Chair of the Board
Darfur Women Action Group