Aicha el Basri worked at the United Nations (UN) from August 2000 – April 2014 in various press and communications posts.
In 2012 she joined African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as a spokesperson and was excited at the prospect of being a part of a mission that she believed was succeeding at promoting peace in the region. However what Aicha witnessed, she believes, was a deliberate cover-up of mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.
In April 2014 Aicha chose to blow the whistle by exposing these cover-ups, leading to the International Criminal Court asking the UN to carry out an independent investigation into the accusations.
In this film she describes what motivated her to speak out and not stand by.
One year after the mass rape of 221 women and girls in the North Darfur village of Tabit, the NGO Waging Peace have released a report on the continued use of rape and mass rape in Darfur, to which Aicha has lent her voice. As Aicha highlights, systemic rape and mass rape are commonplace in Darfur; they are used as a tool to terrorise and destory communities and are most often followed by an entire absense of justice for the vicitms. You can read the full report here.
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 is Don't stand by. This year we are exploring the concept of bystanders, and how they have enabled genocide to take place unchecked. Stories from those who have chosen to speak out, like Aicha, can help to inspire and encourage us to reflect on the impact of the actions that we choose to take when we witness instances of hatred.
The HMDT blog highlights topics relevant to our work in Holocaust and genocide education and commemoration. We hear from a variety of guest contributors who provide a range of personal perspectives on issues relevant to them, including those who have experienced state-sponsored persecution and genocide. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HMDT.