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DARFUR REFUGEE WOMEN SPEAK OUT: Risking Life For Human Rights

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Uploaded on May 26, 2009

In June 2008, after a night of terror in a refugee camp for Darfur refugees in Chad (terror perpetrated by refugees living there), a group of courageous women living there decided to speak out. They created a document that has come to be called the Farchana Manifesto.

This short piece tells their story and discusses some of the problems with long-term refugee camps, a lack of refugee rights, a lack of citizenship, IDPs (internally displaced people), the treatment of women and the pressures and demands on the UNHCR.

One of the women, knowing the risk, wanted the story to reach the West, and was willing to speak on camera. She was interviewed by my friend Ivan, who was doing humanitarian aid work there. Back home, I (Pete) then interviewed Ivan, and with additional footage from a few generous others, put together this piece (2 parts).

See also Darfur Refugee Women Speak Out: The Farchana Manifest & Darfur In Ten Minutes: An Overview of the Conflict

Footnotes:

As to the point that "The UNHCR has not insisted upon criminal charges", the UNHCR stated at the time that, despite knowing the identity of the perpetrators and having access to hundreds of witnesses to the torture of the women, they felt it was in the best interest of the refugee community to NOT pressure the local government to initiate judicial proceedings against these individuals (direct communication with Ivan Gayton, June 2008).

Note: Ivan Gayton—interviewed here and in Darfur In Ten Minutes—is available to speak at your school or anywhere else. ivangayton@hotmail.com

Over 14 million refugees (UNHCR—Reuters, June 19, 2008, 11.4 million, [excludes Palestinian refugees]—UNHCR figures do not include some 4.3 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, who fall under the mandate of a separate agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). If added, the total number of refugees under both agencies' mandates is more than 14 million.

3 million Afghan refugees (3.1 million from UNHCR—Washington Post, June 18, 2008) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

Iraq 4.7 forced from homes—(29 April, 2008—UN News Centre) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp...
A total of 4.7 million Iraqis have been uprooted as a result of the crisis in their country. Of these over 2 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries mostly Syria and Jordan while 2.7 million are internally displaced inside Iraq.

Sudan 1,250,000 IDPs (UNHCR—2007)

Colombia 3 million IDPs (UNHCR—2007)

Registered Palestinian Refugees in 58 camps 1,363,469

Burma 503,000 IDPs CIA Yearbook 2007

Over 1 million Pakistani IDPs (May 2009, UNHCR)

Uganda 1,235,992 (UNHCR—2007)

200,000 Sri Lankan refugees (May, 2009—personal communications Amnesty Canada)

Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Jordan shoulder the heaviest burden, together playing host to nearly 5 million refugees, mostly Afghans and Iraqis. Washington Post June 18, 2008

Congo 1,317,879 IDPs (UNHCR—2007)

Cote d'Ivoire 709,048 (UNHCR—2007)

Somalia 1 million (UNHCR—2007)


Ton Koene (www.tonkoene.nl) for his photos, Karin Muller (www.take2videos.org) and Ivan for additional background footage, Stephen Cohen for the additional interview, thanks to Sarah Estacaille for the B-cam help, Dr. Amin Jalloh (www.arabicgloballanguage.com) for translation, and big, big thanks to Craig Berggold and Jesse Miller for the studio.

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