Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Darfur

Fast Facts:
Project document and reports available upon request
Location: North, West and South Darfur
Duration: March 2006 - June 2008
Focus area: Democratic Governance/
Women's Empowerment
Donors: US Agency for International Development
Total Funds Available: US$ 2.3 million
Partners: UNICEF; UNFPA; UNOCHA; UNMIS/HR; IRC; lawyers’ associations; State Universities
Delivery for 2007: US $1,704,855.02
Contact person in UNDP: Toby Bonini, Programme Officer,
Four years after the fighting broke out, the situation in Darfur continues to be characterized by a lack of human security. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have died and at least 2 million displaced from their homes – almost one third of the population of Darfur before the conflict.

Despite the security situation, humanitarian agencies have been able to deliver humanitarian assistance. However, because of the continuing uncertainty regarding security conditions in areas of return, the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) do not plan to go back to their villages in the near future. Consequently, the level of tension in the camps, as well as amongst other at risk of conflict populations and host communities, has been increasing since the beginning of the crisis.

In war-torn Darfur, like in many crisis situations, women and young children are vulnerable to various forms of violence, including rape and sexual assault. While the humanitarian community has been responding to the psycho-social needs of victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Darfur, there is still a capacity gap in the legal response for cases that need to be addressed, to create effective and comprehensive protection for prevention and treatment.

In an attempt to address this type of violence, and with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), UNDP began the Addressing Gender Based Violence in Darfur project in the three states of Darfur: North, South and West Darfur, in March 2006.

The project’s main objective is to enhance the prevention, protection and response activities on SGBV by strengthening the legal response capacities. Through this project, UNDP is also committed to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, with special attention being given to the protection of women and girls from sexual and gender based violence in war-torn Darfur.

The project’s specific objectives include:
• To improve the institutional response of the judicial and prosecutorial services and the traditional justice systems through capacity building support.
• To ensure that the gender based violence victims are supported and properly represented in their attempts to seek legal redress.
• To build a client-centred response for GBV survivors that provides support and guidance on the legal and social services available in Darfur.
• To strengthen the Darfur Legal Aid Network’s capacity to provide representation to GBV survivors.
• To strengthen the capacity of traditional institutions to apply customary law in GBV cases without reinforcing harmful practices and discrimination.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements
• The project established a Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Working Group that serves as a forum for coordination and collaboration.
• Conducted SGBV awareness raising sessions for over 700 beneficiaries, including paralegals, judges, lawyers and the judiciary.
• In collaboration with several UN agencies, provided technical support to the SGBV committees in compiling a national plan on SGBV.
• Established women’s committees/centres that are being trained in dealing with SGBV.
• Established a partnership with the Chief Justice, the Chief Prosecutor, the Chief Attorney-General in El Fasher, in raising awareness on SGBV and on addressing it.
• Referred several SGBV cases to the UNDP-supported Legal Aid Network.
• Conducted a series of Sufi Workshops on Violence Against Women in El Geneina and El Fasher and El-Geneina.
• Conducted training on women's rights under the Sudanese law and psychosocial needs of SGBV victims for 25 paralegals and lawyers
• Conducted awareness raising trainings on SGBV among the local communities by organizing discussion forums for approximately 20 Omdas and Sheikhs.

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