In November 2008, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) sent a team of four experts to the Farchana Refugee Camp in eastern Chad to meet with and report on the lives and needs of the women living there. In the course of their time in Chad, the team of three doctors and a human rights researcher interviewed 88 women. They found that out of the 88 women interviewed, 32 had experienced either confirmed or highly probable rapes, many of which occurred in Chad when they left the camp to collect firewood. Many who shared their stories had never previously spoken about the attacks for fear of isolation, stigmatization, or retaliatory violence. These women, like so many other women living in IDP or refugee camps, have suffered tremendous violations – some of which have left grave bodily injury, and many of which have left them with heavy psychological burdens to bear. They live each day in a climate of extreme uncertainty and perpetual insecurity. Yet these women continue to bravely live their lives and support their families, and have not given up hope that they will return home.
Below is one story from a women living in Farchana camp:
For the strength these women exhibit every day, for their courage in sharing their experiences and lifting up their voices to the world, we recognize the incredible women of the Farchana camp, along with all of the displaced women of Darfur, as our leaders, and as our heroes.
When the Physicians for Human Rights team traveled to Farchana camp in eastern Chad, they discovered that, following the brutal beating of several women in the camp by community leaders, a group of eight Darfuri women had gathered together and written a one-page document in Arabic, “in hopes of shedding light on the plight of women refugees and opening a dialogue with the world.” In this document, termed “The Farchana Manifesto,” the women described their lack of opportunity for freedom of speech, lack of equality, isolation, lack of access to education, and their lack of agency in their own lives. The incredible document concludes with the statement: “We hope to achieve freedom for women in the whole world.” Receiving the document, the PHR team promised to publish and share the women’s words. Today, join them by reading The Farchana Manifesto and sharing their story with your family and friends.
Photo Credit: Physicians for Human Rights