9 June 06 – The Alliance for Direct Action against Rape in Conflict and Crises (Alliance DARC) is being launched in Geneva today.
Inspired by Mukesh Kapila, the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, its mission is to bring practical help to women suffering from or threatened by sexual violence in conflict situations, and thereby prevent further such violence.
In recent wars, such as those in Liberia and the DRC, and genocidal crises such as those in Rwanda and Darfur, rape has become the norm.
The Aegis Trust is one of the founding institutional partner of the Alliance. Aegis’ Chief Executive, Dr James Smith, states:
“This is a highly significant and unique initiative for two reasons. Firstly, behaviour of totalitarian regimes and their agents towards and propaganda about women of a specific ethnic group can be an early sign that an entire group of civilians are being targeted for destruction. Therefore it may be that rape and derogatory attitudes towards women can alert us that an impending crisis may be genocidal in nature.
“Secondly, mass rape during genocidal crises can have consequences long after the killing has stopped. When systematic rape begins, there must be a mechanism to respond swiftly, to ensure that the perpetrators understand they will be brought to account and that they are individually responsible, no matter what instructions they have had from the organisers of these crimes.”
Founding institutional partners in the Alliance DARC include the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces; the Geneva Centre for Security Policy; the International Centre for Migration and Health, and Africa Humanitarian Action. Major supporters include the Government of Sweden, Pfizer, and the Pears Foundation.
The Alliance, which has its headquarters in Geneva, is being registered as a charity in Switzerland, the UK and the USA. It is a member of the interagency Joint Partnership against Sexual Violence.
For more information on Alliance DARC, see www.alliancedarc.org