Thousands forced into slavery in Darfur: charities

December 17th, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Dec 17 (DPA) Sudanese forces and government-aligned militia have forced adults and children into slave labour and sexual service in Sudan’s restive Darfur province, a new report by a coalition of African charities has found.The Darfur Consortium said it had eyewitness accounts from over 100 people that showed men had been forced to work as farm labourers for the Janjaweed militia, while women and children had been used as sex slaves and domestic help for Sudanese troops in Khartoum.

“The abductions for forced labour and sexual slavery are being used by the Janjaweed, Sudanese Armed Forces and other allied militias… as part of a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing,” the report said.

Victims were seized from villages by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese Armed Forces and had their homes razed to make way for Arab-speaking people, the report said.

The Sudanese government did not immediately comment on the report.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when mainly black tribesmen took up arms against what they call decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum.

Since then, Khartoum has been accused of using the Janjaweed militia to commit atrocities against Darfur’s black population and suppress the rebels.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has levelled war crimes charges against Sudan’s President Omar Beshir for the actions of Sudanese forces in Darfur.

The UN says up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced by five years of conflict. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

The report called on Sudan to disband all militia groups and stop all abductions and human rights’ violations.

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