Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 - Chad
|Publication Date||24 May 2012|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 - Chad, 24 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fbe3948c.html [accessed 18 December 2013]|
Head of state: Idriss Déby Itno
Head of government: Emmanuel Djelassem Nadingar
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 11.5 million
Life expectancy: 49.6 years
Under-5 mortality: 209 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 33.6 per cent
Arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, as well as torture, attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists increased. Rape and other violence against women and girls were widespread. Forced evictions continued in the capital N'Djamena. Members of the Chadian security forces and armed groups responsible for human rights abuses were not held to account, while victims were left without assistance.
Legislative and presidential elections were organized in February and April respectively. The presidential elections were boycotted by the opposition. President Déby was re-elected and appointed a new government in August.
Thousands of Chadians returned from Libya following the escalation of violence there. More than 280,000 refugees from Darfur, Sudan, and around 130,000 internally displaced Chadians were still living in camps in eastern Chad. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, discussed with Chad and Sudan the possibility of a voluntary return of refugees to Sudan. At least 68,000 refugees, mostly from the Central African Republic, continued to live in refugee camps in southern Chad.
Thousands of Chadian soldiers remained deployed near the town of Goré on the border with the Central African Republic, where they had been since December 2010.
Violence against women and girls
Rape and other violence against women and girls continued to be widespread in various parts of Chad. Internally displaced Chadians, as well as refugees and local women and some children, were among the victims. Not all cases were reported, for reasons including fear of reprisals from perpetrators who were often members of their communities, armed groups or security forces. Those responsible mostly acted with impunity.
A 15-year-old girl was abducted from the house of a humanitarian worker and raped several times by at least three men in military uniform on the night of 4/5 March during a search for arms in the town of Goz Beida, eastern Chad. Although the family lodged a complaint, the authorities had not responded by the end of the year.
In July, a woman and her daughter aged 13 were raped by men in military uniform in the town of Goré, southern Chad. The girl died from her injuries in September. At the end of the year, no investigation was known to have begun.
On 25 December, three girls and a woman from Darfur, all refugees, were raped near Gaga refugee camp in eastern Chad by four armed men as they were collecting firewood. Humanitarian workers were informed that three suspects had been detained by the police.
On 15 June, Chad and the UN signed an Action Plan on children associated with armed forces and groups in Chad, to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers. At the end of the year, it was not clear whether implementation of the Action Plan had started.
Prison conditions were harsh and amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. Detention facilities were overcrowded and prisoners often had no access to adequate health services and other basic facilities. Many of the prisoners were sick and malnourished.
Deaths in custody
On 17 September, nine men died of asphyxiation four hours after being detained at the National Gendarmerie in the town of Léré in the Mayo-Kebbi West region of southern Chad. Some were subjected to ill-treatment during their arrest. After the deaths, the remaining detainees at the Gendarmerie were transferred to N'Djamena central prison where another man, Bouba Hamane, later died. No investigation into the 10 deaths was known to have been initiated by the end of the year.
Torture and other ill-treatment
The police, the gendarmerie and members of the National Security Agency (Agence Nationale de Sécurité, ANS) regularly tortured suspects, sometimes with the involvement of local administrative authorities.
On 20 September Guintar Abel, a civil servant at the Ngondong sub-division in the Lac Wey department in southern Chad, died in hospital three weeks after being beaten by a local district chief and his bodyguards. At the end of the year, no action was known to have been taken.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
People continued to be arrested and detained without charge by ANS members, and in some cases were prevented from receiving visits from family members, doctors or lawyers. Others were detained by the police and gendarmerie for civil matters, contrary to provisions of the Chadian Constitution and laws.
Two students, Bebkika Passoua Alexis and Nedoumbayel Nekaou, were arrested on 7 May at a bus station in N'Djamena for allegedly carrying documents calling for Chadians to organize demonstrations. The two men were first detained incommunicado by the ANS before being transferred to N'Djamena central prison. They received a suspended sentence of eight months' imprisonment and were released on 22 September.
Human rights defenders
Human rights defenders continued to face intimidation and harassment by government officials, particularly those in remote areas in eastern and southern Chad.
Kedigui Taroun Grace, a local president of the national women's organization Cellule de Liaison et d'Information des Associations Féminines, was arrested by police with five other women on 19 September in the town of Sarh, southern Chad, following a demonstration in protest against the sacking of a local district chief. The six women were released the same day but Kedigui Taroun Grace was re-arrested on 29 September. She was again released later that day. She was not charged with any criminal offence but the local authorities warned her that she was "politicized".
On 19 December, Daniel Deuzoumbe Passalet, President of the Chadian organization Human Rights without Borders, was arrested in N'Djamena. While being interviewed by Radio France Internationale the previous day, he had expressed concern about impunity for the deaths of 10 men who had been in the custody of the Chadian National Gendarmerie in Léré in September. Daniel Deuzoumbe Passalet was released on 30 December after the N'Djamena High Court sitting in Moussoro ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge him.
Freedom of association and assembly
Thousands of demonstrators, including magistrates, teachers and health workers, protested peacefully in N'Djamena in October and November against low salaries and increasing prices of food and fuel. People were arrested and beaten and others detained following the demonstrations.
Freedom of expression – trade unionists
Trade unionists were subjected to harassment and arbitrary arrest.
Boukar Barka, aged 61, secretary general of the Chadian Trade Union Confederation (Confédération Syndicale du Tchad, CST), was arrested on 4 November at his home in N'Djamena by members of the security services. The authorities stated that the arrest was in relation to Boukar Barka's previous conviction for embezzlement. He was released on 11 November but re-arrested on 13 November and held at the police station in Moursal before being transferred to N'Djamena central prison on 14 November. He was later charged with "provocation directly linked to an unarmed demonstration." Boukar Barka's arrest and detention followed the support which he and his trade union had given to the former workers of the Tchad Cameroon Contractor, a sub-contractor of Esso involved in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project.
Forced evictions which had begun in 2008 continued in N'Djamena, affecting hundreds of people whose homes were destroyed. Evictions were conducted without due process, adequate notice or consultation. Those who lost their homes did not receive alternative housing or other form of compensation despite some court orders. Most of the sites from which residents were forcibly evicted remained unoccupied at the end of the year. The N'Djamena municipal authorities announced further eviction plans, particularly affecting those living in the Sabangali and Gassi 3 and 4 areas of the capital.
International justice – Hissène Habré
Although the AU had stated since 2006 that former Chadian President Hissène Habré should be tried in Senegal "on behalf of Africa", this failed to take place. In July the Commission of the AU identified Rwanda as "the country most suitable to be entrusted with the Hissène Habré trial". This followed the meeting of the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the AU that urged Senegal to expedite the trial of Hissène Habré or extradite him to another country willing to do so. Human rights organizations, Chadian victims and their lawyers stated their preference for the trial to take place in Belgium, which had investigated the case and charged Hissène Habré with serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and made an extradition request to Senegal in 2005, reiterated in November. The Chadian government publicly supported this option. In November, the UN Committee against Torture called on Senegal to comply with its obligation to prosecute or extradite Hissène Habré.
Chadian officials and members of armed groups responsible for serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, rape and other torture, continued to act with impunity.
On 10 January, the President passed an ordinance granting amnesty for crimes committed by members of armed groups. Some of those who benefited were suspected of committing crimes under international law.
Important recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the events in Chad between 28 January and 8 February 2008 had not been implemented by the end of the year, despite a presidential decree of 23 May installing a follow-up committee. The recommendations included investigations into the fate of opposition leader Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, who was subjected to enforced disappearance following his arrest at his home in N'Djamena by members of the security services on 3 February 2008.