The Republic of Korea and the United Nations Population Fund launched a new partnership in July to tackle gender-based violence in West Darfur, a region with one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in Sudan. The programme will focus on preventing and responding to gender-based violence in conflict-affected communities.
“Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive violations of women and girls’ human rights, and is only exacerbated by conflict. The Republic of Korea is committed to defending these rights and ensuring the safety of women and girls in Sudan. The international community must band together to send the clear message of zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls and eradicate these practices once and for all,” said CHO Yeong-moo, Director-General for Development Cooperation of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With the support from the Government of the Republic of Korea, UNFPA will be able to quickly and efficiently address instances of gender-based violence in West Darfur with medical and psychosocial support. The programme will also support gender-based violence awareness efforts and improve the coordination of humanitarian efforts on the ground.
In West Darfur, the combination of conflict, gender discrimination and lack of accessible health-care services for women has created a dangerous and unsustainable situation for women and girls. In recent months, West Darfur has also seen significant levels of conflict, resulting in the displacement of over 40,000 people and even more perilous conditions for women and girls.
“Conflict brings violence against women, and this partnership with the Republic of Korea means we can create a rapid response network for West Darfur,” said Massimo Diana, UNFPA’s representative in Sudan. “How the international community responds to gender-based violence is a barometer for our commitment to the people of Sudan. The Republic of Korea’s programme for gender equality in conflict is an example for how to build a new Sudan.”
There are not enough accessible health services for gender-based violence survivors in West Darfur. A recent UN assessment demonstrated a lack of functional referral systems for women to access gender-based violence services, including psychosocial support.
Women in West Darfur also reported fears relating to travel, domestic violence and sexual abuse, placing them at a disproportionate risk of suffering economically. Local economies are also negatively affected, as they are dependent on the collection of firewood and crops, jobs traditionally carried out by women.
A staunch advocate in the global struggle against gender-based violence, the Republic of Korea previously contributed $2 million towards addressing violence against women and girls in Bangladesh and in the Central African Republic.
The Republic of Korea was also one of UNFPA's top 20 donors in 2019.