A particularly gruesome attack was the attack on my aunt. She was pregnant and could not run away. A few attackers grabbed her and cut open her belly. They removed the fetus, stabbed it and then stabbed my aunt, killing both of them. Their dead bodies were inhumanely tossed into a burning house.
– Darfurian Victim Applicant “Y.E.”
Unfortunately, the above narrative is typical of the stories that we heard when we interviewed hundreds of Darfurians who fled the genocide in Darfur perpetrated by the country’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir. We began conducting these interviews in 2005, and afterward, our co-founders, Wanda Akin and Raymond Brown, began acting as Legal Representatives of Victims in the Darfur Situation and in the case against President Bashir at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The interviews took place in Europe, Africa, and largely, in the United States.
While working with members of this Diaspora, we noticed a community-wide malaise, detachment, and depression that had developed as a result of the trauma experienced by them in Darfur and the difficulties faced when adapting to a new environment as a refugee, asylee, or immigrant in a foreign country.
With Bashir and others subject to arrest warrants by the ICC still at large and with permanent comprehensive peace in Sudan proving difficult to achieve, we decided to look more closely at the Darfurian Diaspora’s situation and whether it would be possible to assist them in addressing the short- and long-term impacts of their condition now. We believe the answer is yes.
And, thus, the Health and Reparations Project (HARP) was born.