The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The Overlooked Plight of the People of Darfur
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was marked on November 25th. During the launch of this day, the United Nations held a conference during which UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker made a speech calling for the protection of women around the world and for stakeholders to end the violence against women.
Mr. Whitaker also spoke to the Youth Peace Network members, he urged them to seize the moment and speak out against the continuing violence against women. He paraphrased the UN by saying that violence against women and girls is the most widespread violation of human rights.
We at Darfur Women Action Group appreciate the UN and Mr. Whitaker’s statements concerning the world wide atrocities of violence against women. However we regret that in marking this important day the UN and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador has largely ignored the horrendous acts in Tabit, where 200 girls and young women were raped in a single night, not to mention the situation for women in Darfur. This is very disappointing to us and to Darfuri and Sudanese women on the ground in Sudan. The UN cannot ignore such inhuman acts, it’s imperative that an event such as Tabit is remembered, brought to the world’s attention, and acknowledged on the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women to recognize the suffering of those who have been victimized by their own government.
On this occasion we stood in solidarity with the women in Darfur and the entirety of Sudan, by doing this we renewed our commitment to fight for the right of those who have been oppressed. We further renewed our call to our supporters to continue to promote our petitions until a concert action is taken by the UNto provide adequateprotect forwomen, men and children in Darfur. Our petition to the UN Security Council addresses not only the short term issues that arouse due to Tabit, but also long term issues. We have asked for an open investigation by UNAMID into what happened in Tabit and that the perpetrators of this horrendous crime be brought to justice. For the long term solutions we ask the UN to allow that humanitarian aid be allowed into every part of Sudan, and that UNAMID offer more protection to civilians.
We are pleased that the UN has recently issued a statement asking for a transparent investigation by UNAMID as well as full access to Tabit, unrestricted by government soldiers and the perpetrators brought to trial. This is precisely what our petition asked for concerning short term solutions. The UN however has yet to address the issue of long term solutions such as protection of the people of Darfur. (link to the UN statement concerning Tabit http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49385#.VG0bgCjUaC1 ) Words must be matched with deeds and the deed that we want to see is that, investigation and accountability must be achieved. Unhindered humanitarian access and protection of the vulnerable must be prioritized by the UNSC and the UN peace keeping in Darfur.
We therefore ask the UN Security Council to effectively respond to our demands for long term solutions and continue to address the issue of Tabit and violence against women in Darfur at large. This heinous crime committed in Darfur is not one that can be forgotten, we cannot let the long suffering of women of Darfur, including the recent 200 girls and young women, go without justice. We urge our readers to join us in speaking up for women’s rights in Darfur and Sudan. Please sign our petition in order to make your voice heard, and to make a lasting change in Darfur and Sudan at large.