Worldwide: Protests in more than 40 countries demand an end to rape in Darfur

Demonstration in London: Rape alarms to be set off outside Downing Street

Photos and video from refugee camps in Chad available; experts available for interview

Demonstrators will set off hundreds of rape alarms outside Downing Street today (10 December), as part of a Global Day of Action for Darfur (1) which will see events in more than 40 countries around the world demanding an end to rape and sexual violence in Darfur. The London event is organized by a diverse coalition of organizations including Amnesty International, the Aegis Trust, the National Union of Students, the Mother’s Union and the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Institute.

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights will lead the protest, which will start at the Sudanese embassy (Cleveland Row, SW1) at 10am, and move on to Downing Street at 11.30am, to draw attention to the horrific levels of sexual violence used against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls during more than three years of conflict in Darfur, western Sudan. Thousands of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have been raped, but no one has been prosecuted for rape since the crisis began.

Recent months have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of rapes as Darfur has been plunged into new fighting. A new report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch revealed that around one camp in Darfur reported rapes have risen dramatically again this summer to 200 a month.

The Global Day of Action for Darfur is calling for the immediate deployment of an international peacekeeping force, with the mandate and capacity to effectively protect civilians.

Halima Basheer (not her real name) survived being gang-raped and tortured in Darfur. She will be speaking out for the first time and attending the demonstration in London. She said:

“Janjaweed militia and Government soldiers attacked a primary school for girls, raping the pupils. They were aged between 8 and 13. They were in shock, bleeding, screaming and crying. It was horrific. Because I told people what happened, the authorities arrested me. They said, ‘we will show you what rape is.’ They beat me severely. At night, three men raped me. The following day the same thing, different men. Torture and rape, every day, torture and rape.”

Glenys Kinnock MEP is supporting Global Day for Darfur. She said:

“If armies were storming villages and towns in the UK, brutally raping Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls or executing the men without retribution, there would be absolute uproar from the international community. Why then, when we know that this is happening in Darfur, are we not seeking to stop this?

“After Rwanda, the international community said ‘never again’ – that statement is hollow and meaningless when we see the tragedy unfolding in Darfur. Enough is enough, let’s get on with stopping this absolute catastrophe.”

Anita Roddick, who is also supporting the protest, said:

“The rape and sexual violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls in Darfur is horrifying – how dare any armed man use his power this way.

“Rape is not an inevitable part of war. It can be stopped – if military leaders, governments and the international community make clear that it will be punished as severely as any other war crime.”

To coincide with the day Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights leaders from around the world have published an open letter. The letter signed by StatesWomen's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland) to Edith Cresson (former Prime Minister of France) said that:

“The situation in Darfur constitutes one of the most serious attacks on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights anywhere in the world.” It called for “Pressure to be stepped up and maintained until the Government of Sudan accepts an international peacekeeping force”.

The human rights crisis in Darfur has worsened considerably since a peace agreement was signed in May this year. The minimal African Union force which is currently in the region is unable to guarantee civilians’ security. More than 300,000 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict, more than two million people have been displaced. Amnesty International has documented the raids on villages and killings of civilians in the last few weeks, and has shown that the conflict has spread more than 100 miles into neighbouring Chad.

Global Day for Darfur events are being held in: Australia, Bahrain, Benin, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Luxemburg, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, UK, USA.

More information at: www.globefordarfur.org

Find out more about our Crisis Response work on Sudan (Darfur) /p>

Find out more about our Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign /p>

Notes to Editors

1. The Global Day for Darfur Coalition is organized by Globe for Darfur, a coalition of dozens of organizations around the world including Amnesty International, the Darfur Consortium (a coalition of over forty African NGOs campaigning on Darfur), the Save Darfur Coalition, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Groups and many others.

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