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Cablegate: Darfur - Irc Reports Sexual Assaults

VZCZCXRO4744
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2165/01 2510858
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080858Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4453
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002165

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR JBRAUSE, NSC/AFRICA FOR TSHORTLEY
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SU AU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - IRC REPORTS SEXUAL ASSAULTS

REF: a) Khartoum 2150, b) KHARTOUM 1912

KHARTOUM 00002165 001.2 OF 002


-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) On August 7, nearly 300 female internally displaced persons
(IDP) convened a meeting in Kalma IDP camp to ask the international
community to increase protection through the resumption of African
Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) firewood patrols. Following the
meeting, the non-governmental organization (NGO) International
Rescue Committee (IRC) issued a press release on August 23 reporting
that 200 women had been sexually assaulted, including rape, and 200
others attacked in the area surrounding Kalma camp during the
previous five weeks. Since the press release, the Government of
National Unity (GNU) has created obstacles for IRC programs and has
smeared it in the press. Additionally, in an unrelated event, one
IRC staff member was killed in Hashaba, where an IRC clinic was
looted during fighting (Ref A). End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --
IDP Women Demand Better Security and Protection
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (SBU) On August 7, nearly 300 female IDPs convened a meeting in
Kalma IDP camp to ask the international community to increase
protection in the camp through the resumption of AMIS firewood
patrols. According to USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives
(USAID/OTI) staff, who attended the meeting, approximately 20 women
articulated an increase in violence targeting them and an increase
in cruelty associated with attacks since mid-July. The women
described attacks that included stealing women's clothing, raping
pregnant or elderly women, shooting guns into the air to frighten
and intimidate women, and throwing babies onto the ground.
Additionally, the group of women reported that men who accompany
women to collect firewood have been tied to camels and dragged.

3. (SBU) At the meeting, the women and NGOs asked AMIS to resume
consistent firewood patrols, and to initiate helicopter patrols.
During the rainy season, vegetation and wadis (seasonal rivers)
provide obstacles to patrolling a sufficiently broad area by
vehicle. Despite the risk, women cross wadis and navigate muddy
terrain on foot or by donkey to collect firewood. To ensure the
protection of women collecting firewood in areas inaccessible by
vehicles, helicopter patrols have been suggested as a way to
increase their safety. (Comment: USAID staff note that helicopter
use is unlikely due to resource constraints. End comment.)

4. (SBU) As of August 27, AMIS firewood patrols have taken place
only once since April 2006. Per ref B, AMIS had agreed to resume
firewood patrols on July 29. However, USAID staff report that no
firewood patrols have occurred since that date.

-----------------
IRC Press Release
-----------------

5. (SBU) Subsequent to the meeting, IRC issued a press release on
August 23 to call attention to the assaults in Kalma camp with data
collected from the IRC-managed women's centers. The IRC press
release reported nearly 200 sexual assaults, including rape, and an
additional 200 attacks over the last five weeks in the area
surrounding Kalma camp.

6. (SBU) Prior to issuing the release, IRC's Country Director
invited major donors, including USAID, the Netherlands Embassy, and
the Department for International Development (DFID), to inform the
IRC of its intent to release a public statement detailing the
reported gender-based violence in and around Kalma camp. At the
meeting, IRC indicated that it had exhausted all other possible
courses of action, and was willing to accept the consequences
associated with issuing the release. IRC indicated that other
organizations were unwilling to be associated with the press
release, including the Kalma camp coordinator, Norwegian Refugee
Council.

--------------------------------
THE FALLOUT OF THE PRESS RELEASE
--------------------------------

7. (SBU) On August 27, IRC received a letter from the Director of

KHARTOUM 00002165 002.2 OF 002


International Organizations at the GNU Ministry of Humanitarian
Affairs requesting the names, marital status of women, dates of
incident, medical report, and police report of all women included in
the recent report. The letter gave IRC 48 hours to provide a
response.

8. (SBU) On August 28, the local press Sudan Vision ran a story that
claimed to corroborate that IRC is cooperating with the
International Criminal Court (ICC). The newspaper claimed to have
obtained a letter laying out guidelines for IRC staff cooperation
with the ICC. The same day, IRC received a letter from the
Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) Director asking for an explanation
of what was printed in the Sudan Vision and whether collecting
evidence for the ICC was a core mandate of IRC. IRC responded that
the letter was never approved and does not represent the policy of
IRC.

9. (SBU) In the following days, several IRC staff had difficulty
obtaining exit visas, including one American citizen and one British
national. IRC's program in Kass was suspended temporarily by
National Security, and only resumed after intervention of the Kass
town Commissioner. On September 3, an IRC nurse was killed in
Hashaba, North Darfur when IRC's clinic was looted (Ref A), although
there is no evidence that this incident is linked to the press
release.

HUME

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