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UNAMID conducts awareness campaign against sexual violence in conflict in Golo, Central Darfur

Photo by Jane Some, UNAMID.

Hundreds of people, comprising community leaders, women and youth groups attended an awareness raising campaign event and capacity-building workshop on the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, organized by UNAMID’s Human Rights Section and the Gender Advisory Unit (GAU) from 29-31 July 2019, in Golo, central Darfur.

During the campaign launch event on 29 July, the Mission’s Human Rights Team introduced participants to basic International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, with special focus on Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), whilst the Rule of Law Team took the participants through the process of accessing justice for survivors of sexual violence, including the steps involved in reporting incidents to eventual prosecution of cases in courts of law.

Addressing almost 400 participants, including 125 women, UNAMID Chief of Staff, Luke Mhlaba, noted that ending sexual violence in conflict is not only about respecting the rights of women, but also addressing the fundamental question of sustainable peace in Darfur in general and the Jebel Marra area.

In his remarks, Golo Locality Commissioner, Hassan Hussein Hassan,  stated that government authorities at the federal, state and locality levels continue to work hard to ensure stability for the local community and appealed to the armed rebel factions operating in the Jebel Marra area to lay down their weapons and join the peace process. “Rest assured that Golo locality officials will continue to strive to achieve positive action for women in terms of respect of their human rights. We strongly urge all men in the local community to treat women with respect, adding that this position has religious acceptance,” Mr. Hassan added.

Addressing participants, UNAMID Senior Women Protection Adviser, Ms.  Ruth Kibiti, indicated that the main focus of the campaign is to raise awareness on women’s human rights; draw attention to issues relating to sexual violence in conflict; take stock of the gains made and obstacles endured in ending sexual violence in conflict; strengthen women protection networks in Camps for internally displaced persons and ensure that women’s rights are taken seriously by all.

Ms. Kibiti focused on the survivor-centered approach, which advocates for placing the survivor of sexual violence at the center of any response, including the referral pathway. “We urge participants not to discriminate against or to stigmatize rape survivors but to instead support them to get immediate medical attention, report the incident and initiate legal action against the perpetrators and help them access psychosocial and livelihood support,” Ms. Kibiti stated.

UNAMID Chief, Gender Advisory Unit, Ms. Judith Mirembe appealed to the men present to become male champions of women’s rights and not violate them. She called on all participants to unite to explore ways of ending conflict in the Jebel Marra area.

The campaign focused capacity-building workshop was later held in the same Golo Locality, Central Darfur from 30-31 July and was attended by over one hundred participants, including 50 women. Workshop presentations focused on enhancing skills on survivor-centered approach and  awareness raising on CRSV, sexual violence, human rights,  GBV guiding principles, grave violations against children and Gender Based Violence (GBV) referral pathway as well as advocacy for the elimination of CRSV/GBV/SGBV and other forms of impunity and human rights violations affecting women, girls, men and boys in the community