Sudanese women refugees living in eastern Chad face a constant threat of rape and other violence against women. According to an Amnesty International report released today, it is impossible to know the exact number of Sudanese women who have been raped and attacked outside refugee camps by bandits, military, or organized groups or who have been targeted within the camps by family, aide workers, and others in positions of authority. Most women are silent about the attacks because “it is not uncommon for married women who have been raped to be shunned or abandoned by their husbands [and because] women who have been raped very often find it difficult to marry.”
Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Program, said in a press release, “The rape that countless women and girls experienced in Darfur continues to haunt them in eastern Chad…Many people know that women who venture outside refugee camps in eastern Chad to collect firewood and water face harassment and rape. What people don’t realize is that there is little safety inside the camps for these same women. They face the risk of rape and other violence at the hands of family members, other refugees, and staff of humanitarian organizations whose task it is to provide them with assistance and support.”
More than 142,000 women and girls have fled the Darfur region of Sudan in the past six years and are refugees in eastern Chad. Twelve Sudanese refugee camps exist along the Chad/Darfur border.