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SIHA urges ICC to investigate RSF for war crimes in El Fasher

May 24, 2024 (NAIROBI) – The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) has issued an urgent appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for his alleged widespread sexual activity. and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the besieged city of El Fasher, North Darfur.

Since May 11, El Fasher has been under relentless siege by RSF, leading to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. The capital of North Darfur, already home to more than 150 shelter centers for internally displaced people (IDPs), has seen a rise in killings, sexual violence, looting and the destruction of critical infrastructure.

In response to these war crimes and crimes against humanity, the regional women’s organization denounced the brutal attacks against civilians and called on the Security Council and the African Union to take concrete measures to protect civilians, particularly women who They are targets of the paramilitary force.

SIHA further called for recognizing sexual and gender-based violence as a major threat and allocating resources to establish comprehensive centers and at least one hospital for obstetric fistulas.

“We call on the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute crimes of sexual and gender-based violence and other human rights violations and acts of criminal retaliation committed by RSF against women and girls and the civilian population throughout this conflict. “SIHA stressed.

RSF’s brutal attacks have not saved hospitals or children. The Babiker Nahar Center children’s hospital, the only such center operating in the region, was bombed and a pediatric hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was left out of operation. The Saudi Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, essential for women’s health services, is also on the brink of closure due to violence.

Furthermore, the group called on international and regional actors to investigate war crimes committed against civilians in Sudan and hold parties to the conflict accountable through various regional and international accountability mechanisms.

SIHA emphasizes the need for the UN Security Council to renew and fully implement the arms embargo on Darfur, punishing all violators, including state actors involved in perpetuating the genocide. The situation in El Fasher is a stark reminder of the urgent need for international action to protect civilians and hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable.

More than 400,000 residents of the Abu Shouk IDP camp have been caught in the crossfire and many have lost their homes due to shelling and fires set by the RSF. The southern areas of El Fasher are witnessing mass displacement, with civilians suffering from hunger and lack of access to essential services.

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