Showing posts with label International Rape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Rape. Show all posts

August 18, 2016

A Month Ago Rape, Murder Occurred Under UN Noses in S.Sudan, They Did Nothing


                                         


[NAIROBI, Kenya]  The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

"Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head," she remembers him saying.

She didn't really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.
On July 11, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle in the capital, Juba, over opposition forces, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South Sudan's three-year civil war.

They shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions, several witnesses told The Associated Press.

For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan. AP does not identify victims of sexual assault. 

The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes' drive away. U.N. peacekeepers in Juba have already been accused of not acting to stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.'s main camp and within their sight last month.

The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S. resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

 Image: Juba
In this photo taken on July 25, 2016, some of the more than 30,000 Nuer civilians sheltering in a United Nations base in South Sudan's capital Juba for fear of targeted killings by government forces walk by an armored vehicle and a watchtower manned by peacekeepers. Jason Patinkin / AP 
Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. "Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba," he said.

A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain's owner at Ruai's request, seen by the AP, alleges that at least five women were raped, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.

The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan's civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.'s largest camp in Juba.

By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

"Monday was relatively chill," one survivor said.

What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain's security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

"They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms," one American said.

One man wore a blue police uniform, but the rest wore camouflage, the American said. Many had shoulder patches with the face of a tiger, the insignia worn by the president's personal guard.

For about an hour, soldiers beat the American with belts and the butts of their guns and accused him of hiding rebels. They fired bullets at his feet and close to his head. Eventually, one soldier who appeared to be in charge told him to leave the compound. Soldiers at the gate looked at his U.S. passport and handed it back, with instructions.

"You tell your embassy how we treated you," they said. He made his way to the nearby U.N. compound and appealed for help.

Meanwhile, soldiers were breaking into a two-story apartment block in the Terrain which had been deemed a safe house because of a heavy metal door guarding the apartments upstairs. Warned by a Kenyan staffer, more than 20 people inside, most of them foreigners, tried to hide. About 10 squeezed into a single bathroom.

The building shook as soldiers shot at the metal door and pried metal bars off windows for more than an hour, said residents. Once inside, the soldiers started ransacking the rooms and assaulting people they found.
Some of the soldiers were violent as they sexually assaulted women, said the woman who said she was raped by 15 men. Others, who looked to be just 15 or 16 years old, looked scared and were coerced into the act.

"One in particular, he was calling you, 'Sweetie, we should run away and get married.' It was like he was on a first date," the woman said. "He didn't see that what he was doing was a bad thing."

After about an hour and a half, the soldiers broke into the bathroom. They shot through the door, said Jesse Bunch, an American contractor who was hit in the leg.

"We kill you! We kill you!" the soldiers shouted, according to a Western woman in the bathroom. "They would shoot up at the ceiling and say, 'Do you want to die?' and we had to answer 'No!'"

The soldiers then pulled people out one by one. One woman said she was sexually assaulted by multiple men. Another Western woman said soldiers beat her with fists and threatened her with their guns when she tried to resist. She said five men raped her.

During the attack on the Terrain, several survivors told the AP that soldiers specifically asked if they were American. "One of them, as soon as he said he was American, he was hit with a rifle butt," said a woman.

When the soldiers came across John Gatluak, they knew he was local. The South Sudanese journalist worked for Internews, a media development organization funded by USAID. He had taken refuge at the Terrain after being briefly detained a few days earlier. The tribal scars on his forehead made it obvious he was Nuer, the same as opposition leader, Riek Machar.

"ALL IT TOOK WAS A DECLARATION THAT HE WAS DIFFERENT, AND THEY SHOT HIM MERCILESSLY"
Upon seeing him, the soldiers pushed him to the floor and beat him, according to the same woman who saw the American beaten.

Later in the attack, and after Kiir's side declared a ceasefire at 6 p.m., the soldiers forced the foreigners to stand in a semi-circle, said Gian Libot, a Philippines citizen who spent much of the attack under a bed until he was discovered.

One soldier ranted against foreigners. "He definitely had pronounced hatred against America," Libot said, recalling the soldier's words: "You messed up this country. You're helping the rebels. The people in the U.N., they're helping the rebels."

During the tirade, a soldier hit a man suspected of being American with a rifle butt. At one point, the soldier threatened to kill all the foreigners assembled. "We're gonna show the world an example," Libot remembered him saying.

Then Gatluak was hauled in front of the group. One soldier shouted "Nuer," and another soldier shot him twice in the head. He shot the dying Gatluak four more times while he lay on the ground. 
"All it took was a declaration that he was different, and they shot him mercilessly," Libot said.

The shooting seemed to be a turning point for those assembled outside, Libot said. Looting and threats continued, but beatings started to draw to a close. Other soldiers continued to assault men and women inside the apartment block.

From the start of the attack, those inside the Terrain compound sent messages pleading for help by text and Facebook messages and emails.

"All of us were contacting whoever we could contact. The U.N., the U.S. embassy, contacting the specific battalions in the U.N., contacting specific departments," said the woman raped by 15 men.

A member of the U.N.'s Joint Operations Center in Juba first received word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., minutes after the breach of the compound, according to an internal timeline compiled by a member of the operations center and seen by AP.

Eight minutes later another message was sent to a different member of the operations center from a person inside Terrain saying that people were hiding there. At 4:22 p.m., that member received another message urging help.

Five minutes after that, the U.N. mission's Department of Safety and Security and its military command wing were alerted. At 4:33 p.m., a Quick Reaction Force, meant to intervene in emergencies, was informed. One minute later, the timeline notes the last contact on Monday from someone trapped inside Terrain.

For the next hour and a half the timeline is blank. At 6:52, shortly before sunset, the timeline states that "DSS would not send a team."

About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan's army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers. But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong's troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.

“THE PEACEKEEPERS DID NOT VENTURE OUT OF THE BASES TO PROTECT CIVILIANS UNDER IMMINENT THREAT"

The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.

"Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go," he said.

Eventually, South Sudanese security forces entered the Terrain and rescued all but three Western women and around 16 Terrain staff.

No one else was sent that night to find them. The U.N. timeline said a patrol would go in the morning, but this "was cancelled due to priority." A private security firm rescued the three Western women the staffers the next morning.

When asked why the U.N. peacekeeping mission didn't respond to the repeated requests for help, acting spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said the circumstances are under investigation.

"The peacekeepers did not venture out of the bases to protect civilians under imminent threat," Human Rights Watch said Monday in a report on abuses throughout Juba.

The U.S. Embassy, which also received requests for help during the attack, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The assault at the Terrain pierced a feeling of security among some foreigners who had assumed that they would be protected by their governments or the hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers almost next door.

One of the women gang-raped said security advisers from an aid organization living in the compound told residents repeatedly that they were safe because foreigners would not be targeted. She said: “This sentence, 'We are not targeted,' I heard half an hour before they assaulted us."

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NBC News

August 5, 2016

Iran Hangs Teenager Over Anal Sex






[The following report was published on Amnesty International on Aug. 2, 2016]

Amnesty International has revealed that a teenager was executed in Iran after being convicted of the rape of another boy, the first confirmed execution of a juvenile offender in the country this year.

The organization, which has been carrying out extensive research into the situation of juvenile offenders on death row in Iran, found that Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak’s Prison in Markazi Province on 18 July, after being convicted of “lavat-e be onf” (forced male to male anal intercourse) in early 2015. The execution went ahead even though the Office of the Head of the Judiciary had promised his family that they would review the case on 15 September 2016.

Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds 

“Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds. Hassan Afshar was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested. He had no access to a lawyer and the judiciary rushed through the investigation and prosecution, convicting and sentencing him to death within two months of his arrest as though they could not execute him quickly enough,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International

“In a cruel stroke of irony, officials did not inform Hassan Afshar of his death sentence for around seven months while he was held in a juvenile detention facility because they did not want to cause him distress – and yet astonishingly were still prepared to execute him. With this execution, Iranian authorities have demonstrated once again their callous disregard for human rights.”

Just days after Hassan Afshar was executed, the authorities scheduled Alireza Tajiki, another youth who was under 18 at the time of his alleged offence, for execution. The implementation of his death sentence, which had been scheduled to take place on 3 August was, however, postponed yesterday following public pressure.

“While we welcome the stay of execution for Alireza Tajiki, his life has been saved for the moment because of public pressure and not because the Iranian authorities are seriously considering stopping the horrendous practice of executing juveniles. This is illustrated by the fact that just two weeks ago Hassan Afshar was hanged in anonymity – publicity should not make the difference between life and death,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

For the 160 individuals who remain on death row in prisons across Iran for crimes allegedly committed when they were under 18, the news of yet another juvenile execution will come as a terrifying blow.

“Any one of these youths could be next in line for execution. The torment that Iran’s flawed juvenile justice system has inflicted on them will not end until the Iranian authorities commute their death sentences and amend Iran’s Penal Code to abolish the use of death penalty for all crimes committed under 18 years of age, as immediate first steps towards full abolition of this punishment,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

Hassan Afshar was arrested in December 2014 after the authorities received a complaint accusing him and two other youths of forcing a teenage boy to have sexual intercourse with them. Hassan Afshar maintained that the sexual acts were consensual and that the complainant’s son had willingly engaged in same-sex sexual activities before.

While authorities must always investigate allegations of rape and, where sufficient admissible evidence is found, prosecute those responsible in fair trials, rape does not fall into the category of offences for which the death penalty can be imposed under international law. Furthermore, the existence of laws in Iran that criminalize consensual male to male sexual intercourse with the death penalty means that if the intercourse in this case had been deemed consensual, the teenager who accused Hassan Afshar of rape would himself have been sentenced to death. The criminalization of same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults violates international human rights law.

The Supreme Court initially overturned the sentence due to incomplete investigations but ultimately upheld it in March 2016.

Background

Male individuals who engage in same-sex anal intercourse face different punishments under Iranian criminal law depending on whether they are the “active” or “passive” partners and whether their conduct is characterized as consensual or non-consensual. If the conduct is deemed consensual, the “passive” partner of same-sex anal conduct shall be sentenced to the death penalty. The “active” partner, however, is sentenced to death only if he is married, or if he is not a Muslim and the “passive” partner is a Muslim.

If the intercourse is deemed non-consensual, the “active” partner receives the death penalty but the “passive” partner is exempted from punishment and treated as a victim. This legal framework risks creating a situation where willing “recipients” of anal intercourse may feel compelled, when targeted by the authorities, to characterize their consensual sexual activity as rape in order to avoid the death penalty.

International law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Iran is a state party, absolutely prohibits the use of death penalty for crimes committed when the defendant was below 18 years of age.

International law restricts the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes”, which refers to intentional killing.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally, for all cases and under any circumstances.

June 12, 2015

India Fams.Using “Corrective Rape” to try Change Orientation of LGBT



                                                                          


 Families in India are using "corrective rape" to convert their gay, lesbian and transgender sons and daughters, the director of the first Indian film on the issue said, urging society to confront the brutal, hidden practice.

Corrective rape, which is known to happen in Africa and the Caribbean though largely perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances, in India can involve families and is thus seldom reported.

Director Deepthi Tadanki said research for her film "Satyavati" - named after the lesbian protagonist who is raped by a family member - helped her understand why families were committing corrective rape in India.

"There is this very conservative society where people are very afraid to tell anyone that their son is gay or daughter is lesbian, and they think that they can change their orientation if they get them into contact with someone of the opposite sex," the 27-year-old director said in an interview on Thursday.

"They can't approach outside people to do it as they are worried about the family's name and reputation... so they get a family member to do it."

Tadanki said although it was difficult to find victims willing to speak about their ordeal, she came across two cases in the city of Bengaluru which were "horrific".

In one case, a young lesbian was raped by her cousin to make her "normal", and in another case, the family of a gay man tried to make him have sex with his mother.

Homosexuality was re-criminalised in India in 2013, after four years of being legal, in a Supreme Court decision that shocked rights groups. The United Nations called it a "significant step backwards for India".

The 155-year-old British colonial law states that "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" - widely interpreted to refer to gay sex - is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.


FINDING FUNDS

Tadanki said cases of corrective rape were kept inside the home, and victims were afraid to speak out for fear of being arrested themselves.

"When something happens to you, you go to your family for support, but when your family is committing the abuse and the police might arrest you, where do you go?" she said by phone from the southern city of Hyderabad.

The film tells the story of Satyavati - which means "she who speaks the truth" - and how she falls in love with another woman, much to the horror of her parents.

It explores their concern over their reputation being ruined in their middle class neighbourhood, and follows the parents as they plot the rape that will "correct" her.

Tadanki hopes the 90-minute film will be ready for screening in September, but has struggled to find funders willing to finance a first-time director with a film on a taboo subject.

She and her friends have poured in their own money, but to complete the film they need an additional 1.6 million rupees ($25,000), which they are trying to raise through crowdfunding.

"I have received a lot of acknowledgement and appreciation for the film... but when it comes to actual support such as funding, there has been nothing," she said.

"It's important to complete this film - not just for India, but also for the world. This is happening in other countries also and people should know.”
 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) -

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

April 22, 2013

In India People Erupts Over Rape of 5 yr Old Girl


Protesters attempt to break through a barricade outside Delhi police headquarters on Saturday during a protest over the rape of a 5-year-old girl in New Delhi, India.
AP
"What has changed?" That is the question echoing through Delhi on Sunday. Public frustration over sexual crimes against women is erupting again, this time over a gruesome sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl.
The protests are smaller than those that swept over the capital in December with the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman, but the incident has revived debate over the startling state of sexual violence in India.
Last Monday, the 5-year-old girl went missing from her home in East Delhi after going out to play. She was discovered Wednesday night when neighbors detected muffled cries in a small locked room in the same building where the girl lived. The child's family found her, bleeding and brutalized.
Doctors expressed shock at what had been done to the child. The medical team found a glass bottle and pieces of a candle forced into her private parts. "This is the first time I have seen such barbarism," R.K. Bansal, the medical superintendent of Swami Dayanand Hospital, said in a televised interview.
"There were injuries on her lips, cheeks, arms and anus area; her neck had bruise marks suggesting that attempts were made to strangle her," Bansal added.
Rising public pressure prompted authorities to move the injured girl to one of New Delhi's premier public hospitals. At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where girl was shifted, doctors said her vital signs are normal and that she is out of danger.
Anger Swells Again
The positive turn in her condition did little to dampen the ire of protesters who rallied at the hospital.
Among them was 34-year-old businessman Zia Choudhary. "We are angry ... Every four hours, news is coming that there is a rape," he said. "This kills our souls. We also have daughters 4 and 5 years old ... Neither the police commissioner nor the Home Ministry has any effect ... For how long are they going to make fools of the people?"
Activists from India's main opposition party jostle with police outside Sonia Gandhi's residence on Sunday.
AP
For a second straight day, protestors gathered outside the Delhi police headquarters demanding that Police Chief Neeraj Kumar resign. They also ridiculed the government of Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi for not improving the epidemic of sexual violence in the capital. Scores of women from the opposition BJP Party broke through barricades at Gandhi's home on Sunday and were detained.
Sensing the public mood, the government has moved quickly to try to assuage anger. Gandhi visited the young victim at the hospital. "Action and not words are required to ensure that such incidents never happen again," she said.
The Asian Age newspaper opined Sunday that the society had to "interrogate" itself. "It is not enough to take the authorities and the police to task," it said. "What's the point of getting worked up and passing new laws if police and society do not step in to check this malady, which demeans us as a people."
A Challenge For The Legal System
The case could prove to be the first test of a new sexual assault law enacted in the aftermath of the December gang-rape. It includes jail terms for police who refuse to register rape cases. In this instance, it is alleged that police offered the family the equivalent of $40 to quietly drop the matter.
The new sexual assault legislation also provides for capital punishment in instances where the victim dies or is left in a vegetative state.
But incensed demonstrators are demanding the death penalty for the culprit in the rape of the 5-year-old girl.
This weekend, police apprehended a suspect in his early twenties, Manoj Kumar. He is alleged to have left the girl for dead in the room that he had rented and fled to his in-laws in Bihar, where he was captured. Police are seeking a second possible suspect after Kumar claimed that another man had helped him tie the girl down.
The suspect appeared in police custody, his head covered. Outraged citizens said his face ought to be shown, and that the suspect, who is reported to have been married last year, deserves neither anonymity nor mercy.
"Nothing has changed, and has probably become worse and more brutal," Nandini Rao of Citizen's Collective Against Sexual Violence told the Hindustan Times.
As the Delhi case draws headlines, a 4-year-old rape victim is reported to be in critical condition four days after being attacked in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Her alleged assailant, a man known to the girl's family, is said to have lured her with chocolate, sexually assaulted her, and dumped her at a farm.
The cases highlight a disturbing trend that increasingly places children — especially poor children — at the center of sexual violence in India, and at the mercy of predators.
The Asian Centre for Human Rights documents an increase of 336 percent of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases). Their report says, "These are just the tip of the iceberg as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported to the police.”

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