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Medical News and Perspectives
August 3, 2005

Agencies Speak Out on Rape in Darfur

JAMA. 2005;294(5):542-544. doi:10.1001/jama.294.5.542

Near the end of the last century, delays in international intervention allowed violence and genocide to escalate to extremes in Rwanda. Now, only a decade or so later, a similar crisis has raged in Darfur, Sudan. There, because of conflict during the past 2 years between opposition groups, more than 2 million people are living in refugee camps, up to 400 000 are dead, and rape has been used as a weapon of terror against women and their communities.

Threats in Darfur exist not only for Sudan’s citizens, many who have been internally displaced and living in refugee camps, but also for aid workers providing medical relief. In May, two staff members of the nonprofit Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) [Doctors Without Borders] were arrested as the consequence of the release of a report by the group in March that reported extensive rape, mostly inflicted by militia, in the region (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/reports/2005/sudan03.pdf).