Students at the Yale Law School are working to address gender-based violence in Southern Sudan.
The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at the Law School published a report this Monday, prepared by three Law School students, that details the rise and prevalence of rape and violence against women in Southern Sudan and recommends policy solutions, asking the United Nations to extend its work in the region. The study also found that soldiers and police officers have been responsible for most of the violence toward women.
“Women and children are raped and abducted, with sex workers and women of foreign origin particularly vulnerable,” the report states. “Sudanese authorities and the international community have failed to protect women from [gender-based violence] or to hold perpetrators responsible.”
The report added that violence in Southern Sudan will likely increase because of tensions resulting from a referendum on whether Southern Sudan should become independent, which took place Jan. 9-15. Preliminary results of the referendum have shown a nearly unanimous desire for independence among Southern Sudanese.
The study was published for the Enough Project, a campaign against genocide run by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress.
In a guest post on the Enough Project website, members of the clinic wrote that the issue of gender-based violence is especially important in light of the Jan. 1 launch of the new United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The Law School study recommends that the U.N. Security Council more fully implement Resolution 1325, which was adopted in 2000 to protect females from violence in areas of conflict. It also suggests the extension of Resolution 1820, which is currently limited to sexual violence, to apply to all gender-based violence in conflict.
The suggestions are coupled with recommendations for the governments of the United States, Sudan and Southern Sudan, urging the U.S. to hold Sudan responsible for the treatment of its people and asking Sudan to improve the avenues through which woman can seek justice. The legal definition of rape in Sudan does not include rape that occurs within a marriage.
The clinic, directed by Law School professor Jim Silk, was named for Allard K. Lownstein, who was the U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights under President Jimmy Carter.