Women and girls who have fled violence in Darfur continue to face rape and attack as refugees in eastern Chad, according to a report out today from Amnesty International. The human rights organization asserts that the attacks not only occur when women leave refugee camps to collect firewood but also within the camps, leaving women with few places to seek refuge from the threat of rape. An alarmingly wide array of people are responsible for the attacks, including Chadian villagers, members of the Chadian National Army, aid workers, family members, and school teachers. Amnesty International says that perpetrators of the violence enjoy near total impunity and calls for immediate international action.
Amnesty’s reminder of the ongoing horrors refugee women in Chad comes just as the United Nations Security Council passes a resolution demanding an end to the use of sexual violence as a tool of war. Tomorrow, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take a hard look at the very same topic at a hearing titled “Violence Against Women: Global Costs and Consequences.” I’ll be there to cover it, since the hearing draws together many of the leaders charged with directing U.S. efforts to combat violence against women internationally. Follow me (amanda4Enough) on Twitter starting at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow for the play-by-play.
Here’s a look at the speakers:
The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Department of State
The Honorable Stephen Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Department of State
Major General Patrick Cammaert, Former Military Advisor to the UN Secretary General, Former UN Force Commander for the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
The Honorable Donald Steinberg, Deputy President, International Crisis Group, Former Ambassador to Angola
Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta, President International Center for Research on Women
Ms. Esta Soler, President and Founder, Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF)
Stay tuned for an update post-hearing.
Photo: Darfuri women search for firewood