Women demand end to Darfur rapes International stateswomen have made a joint call for an end to rape and sexual violence in Sudan's conflict-torn region of Darfur.
Peacekeepers must be sent to protect women there, the group said in a letter published by newspapers worldwide.
It says rape is being used "on a daily basis" as a weapon of war in Darfur.
Signatories include former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Irish former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.
They were joined by other prominent women including:
- veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi
- Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela
- Edith Cresson, former French prime minister
- Glenys Kinnock, a UK member of the European Parliament
- Carol Bellamy, former head of the UN children's fund.
Published on the eve of the Global Day for Darfur, the letter says that "women and young girls live in constant fear of attack".
Sudan's government is accused of being "unwilling or unable to protect its own civilians".
The international community is called upon to "deliver on its responsibility to protect these civilians".
Events to mark Darfur Day are due to take place in more than 40 countries and will include women-led protests outside Sudanese embassies.
At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur's three-year conflict and an estimated two million people, mostly black Africans whose villages have been attacked by the Arab Janjaweed militia, have fled their homes.
Khartoum denies accusations it is backing the militias to put down an uprising by Darfur's rebel groups in 2003.
A force of 7,000 African Union peacekeepers has struggled to protect civilians in the absence of a strong, UN contingent.
BBC Dec 20006
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.