Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 09:38 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Chad

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 17 May 2010
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Chad, 17 May 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4bf2525a1a.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPs168,000
Percentage of total population1.5%
Start of current displacement situation2006
Peak number of IDPs (Year)185,000 (2007)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementInternationalised and internal armed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index175

At the end of 2009, almost 170,000 people were internally displaced in eastern Chad as a result of conflict and human rights abuses related to tensions between Chad and Sudan, internal armed conflict, and inter-ethnic violence. The number of IDPs fell slightly from a 2008 high of 185,000, about one fifth of the population of eastern Chad. IDPs were either gathered in 38 camps where they could access some level of international aid or being supported by host communities in remote areas with little to no humanitarian assistance. No new internal displacements were reported in 2009.

For most IDPs in eastern Chad, return was not a viable option in 2009. Some cited ongoing insecurity and others the lack of basic services in villages of origin as major obstacles to their return. Those IDPs that did return to their villages of origin went back to very unstable conditions and without the support from traditional leaders needed to resolve the inter-ethnic conflicts that may have caused their displacement in the first place. They returned because of the food insecurity, lack of access to land, and the lack of sources of income in IDP sites. Chad is an oil-producing country, but the government has used oil revenues to buy weapons with which to fight insurgent groups, rather than investing in social services, reducing poverty and improving governance, all of which are essential components for protecting and assisting IDPs and achieving durable solutions.

Meanwhile, the main protection risks facing IDPs were insecurity, circulation of small arms in IDP camps, arbitrary arrest, punitive fines, theft of property, and violence against women including domestic violence, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. Displaced children also faced a range of threats. In IDP sites they had limited access to primary education and no chance of further schooling. Government armed forces continued to recruit children, despite a 2007 agreement with UNICEF to demobilise children from the army and integrated rebel groups.

Inter-ethnic violence has decreased considerably since 2007, only to be replaced by widespread attacks against civilians by road bandits and criminal gangs who have acted with almost total impunity. These criminal attacks have multiplied despite the presence of international military forces and Chadian police units. In March 2009, European Union troops deployed to Chad and CAR with a Security Council mandate to protect IDPs, refugees and humanitarian workers were replaced by a UN peacekeeping force known as MINURCAT.

Humanitarian organisations were increasingly targeted in eastern Chad. In the first nine months of 2009, there were 192 serious attacks on humanitarian workers, including killings and abductions, and the number of security incidents doubled from 2008 to 2009. The town of Abeche, a hub for humanitarian operations in Chad, had the highest-ever rates of crime against aid agencies. As a result, the delivery of aid was repeatedly interrupted, leaving displaced communities whose lives were already precarious without assistance. High levels of insecurity also prevented the access of humanitarian agencies to IDPs living with host communities in areas closer to the border with Sudan, rendering needs assessments and the delivery of aid particularly difficult.

The government of Chad has taken steps to respond to the situation of IDPs, but their impact has been limited. In 2007, it established a national committee to assist IDPs, but it had limited resources and staff, and has delivered only sporadic assistance. In 2008, the government set up the CONAFIT committee to coordinate humanitarian activities with EUFOR, MINURCAT, and the humanitarian organisations working in Chad. The government has yet to enact national legislation to protect IDPs. In 2009, Chad was not a signatory to the Kampala Convention. Ratification of the Convention would show Chad's commitment to protecting the rights of IDPs and achieving their durable return, resettlement or reintegration.

More than 70 international humanitarian organisations provide assistance to displaced communities in eastern Chad, including IDPs and refugees from Darfur. The cluster system was introduced in Chad in 2007 to improve the protection and assistance of IDPs by humanitarian agencies. Thirteen clusters are now operational, including the protection cluster. By the end of 2009, 68 per cent of the $400 million requested in the 2009 CAP was funded. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) recognised that Chad was an underfunded emergency, and allocated $5.5 million for life-saving assistance programmes to IDPs.

With the government committed to military investment rather than social development, and national and international protection agencies hamstrung by access and capacity limitations, it remains unlikely that conditions in eastern Chad will permit durable solutions for IDPs in the foreseeable future.

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