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Credible medical evidence emerges of widespread torture of non-Arabic civilians in Darfur

April 4, 2012 - Washington

Medical forensic experts, have in a study, alleged widespread, sustained torture and other human rights violations by the Government of Sudan and Janjaweed forces against non-Arabic-speaking civilians.

The study published in this week's PLoS Medicine by authors, co-led by Alexander Tsai based at Harvard University and Mohammed Eisa based at Physicians for Human Rights, both in Cambridge, USA, conclude: "The widespread, organized, and sustained pattern of attacks documented in our study indicates that the actions of Janjaweed and [Government of Sudan] forces may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and/or possibly acts of genocide."

The researchers analyzed the medical records of 325 patients attending the Amel Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in Nyala, South Darfur, between 2004 and 2006.

According to their medical records, 292 patients from 12 different non-Arabic-speaking tribes alleged that Government or Janjaweed forces in rural areas had attacked them across Darfur.

Half of them claimed that they had been beaten, two-fifths reported gunshot wounds, and 36 out of the 73 women seen at the center disclosed that they had been sexually assaulted.

The researchers were able to determine whether the documented medical evidence was consistent with the alleged abuses in 198 medical records, and importantly, in all of these cases judged that the medical evidence was consistent with, highly consistent with or virtually diagnostic of the alleged abuses.

Physicians for Human Rights funded the study with support from the Open Society Institute/Eastern Africa and the Sudan Aid Fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.


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