Sudanese forces silence female activists with violence

DAKAR - Sudanese security forces have used threats, assault and rape to silence female human rights activists, forcing many to abandon their work or flee the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday.

Government officials have targeted women involved in protests and rights campaigns, including students, teachers, lawyers and journalists, threatening to tar their reputations and warning of retaliation if they speak out, HRW said.

Violence and abuse of women have increased in recent years along with the rise of protests and demonstrations following the Arab Spring, South Sudan's secession from Sudan in 2011 and Sudan's economic downturn, according to the rights group.

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