Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Chad
|Publication Date||13 May 2011|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Chad, 13 May 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dce15779.html [accessed 1 July 2015]|
Head of state: Idriss Déby Itno
Head of government: Emmanuel Djelassem Nadingar (replaced Youssouf Saleh Abbas in March)
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 11.5 million
Life expectancy: 49.2 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 220/201 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 32.7 per cent
The political situation remained tense, especially in eastern Chad, despite normalization of relations with Sudan and peace agreements with leaders of some armed groups. Inter-ethnic clashes erupted and human rights violations were committed with almost total impunity. Civilians and humanitarian workers were killed and abducted; women and girls were victims of rape and other violence; and children were recruited as soldiers or abducted for ransom. Journalists and human rights defenders faced harassment and intimidation. Forcible evictions continued. The UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) was withdrawn on 31 December.
In January, the government asked the UN Security Council to withdraw MINURCAT. At the time, agreed benchmarks to measure MINURCAT's success had not yet been achieved. On 25 May, under pressure from Chad, the UN Security Council resolved to end MINURCAT by 31 December 2010. The Chadian government indicated it would assume full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory. In October, Chad presented a protection plan – centred around the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS) security force – and requested financial assistance.
On 15 January Chad and Sudan signed an agreement to deny armed groups the use of their respective territories and to normalize relations. The Chad-Sudan border that had been closed since 2003 reopened in April. In March, Chad and Sudan deployed a joint border monitoring force to counter criminal activity and armed groups. In May, Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Sudanese armed group, the Justice and Equality Movement, was denied access to Chad, although his forces had been based in Chad for years. In July, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir visited Chad for a meeting, despite facing an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. President Al-Bashir also asked Chadian armed group leaders Timane Erdimi, Mahamat Nouri and Adouma Hassaballah to leave Sudan.
The electoral census started in May. In October, President Déby announced that legislative and local elections planned for November were postponed and would take place in 2011 together with the presidential elections.
Most of the recommendations of a commission of inquiry into events in the capital, N'Djamena in February 2008 had not been implemented by the end of 2010. During the fighting, serious human rights violations had been committed including the disappearance of opposition leader Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh.
At least 150,000 people in many parts of the country were forced to leave their homes because of heavy rains and floods. Around 68,000 refugees from the Central African Republic continued to live in camps in southern Chad.
Chadian authorities organized a national human rights conference in March with support from MINURCAT, but most local human rights organizations refused to participate. In June, the government organized a regional conference on ending the use and the recruitment of child soldiers.
The security situation remained volatile in the east. More than 262,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur were living in 12 refugee camps and around 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 38 IDP sites. In May, at least 5,000 new refugees arrived following fighting in Darfur. According to the UN, 48,000 IDPs returned to their home villages, mainly in the Ouaddai and the Dar Sila region. Most were reluctant to return because of the insecurity in their villages, the proliferation of small arms and the lack of basic services such as water, health and education.
Human rights abuses continued, including rape of girls and women, recruitment of children, kidnapping of humanitarian personnel and killings of civilians. Fighting between the national army, the Armée Nationale Tchadienne (ANT), and armed groups also continued. In April, fighting erupted between the ANT and the opposition Front populaire pour la renaissance nationale (FPRN) around Tissi and For Djahaname on the Darfur border.
Tensions between Chadian ethnic groups were high.
In March, a man was killed following fighting between members of the Arab and Dadjo communities in Goz Beida. One person was arrested in connection with this incident.
Increasing ethnic violence between President Déby's ethnic group, the Zaghawa, and the Tama was a major concern. On 21 October, Colonel Dongui, a member of the Zaghawa ethnic group and head of military intelligence in the Dar Tama region, shot dead Colonel Ismael Mahamat Sossal, a Tama and Commandant of the military region. In response, Colonel Sossal's bodyguards killed Colonel Dongui. Other people were injured in this incident. Several people were subsequently arrested, including two Tama army officers.
There were fears that the full withdrawal of MINURCAT would lead to a further deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation. Chadian authorities delayed the implementation of plans presented to the UN Security Council in October.
Abuses by armed groups and bandits
Serious incidents of banditry and armed attacks against humanitarian workers occurred in eastern Chad, especially between May and July. Numerous abductions of humanitarian personnel, carjackings and robberies were reported.
An ICRC staff member, agronomist Laurent Maurice, was released in February after being abducted and held for 89 days by armed men.
On 6 June, three Oxfam personnel were abducted in Abeché. Two were released later that day, but the third was held until 15 June. According to the authorities, he was freed by the joint Chadian/Sudanese military force at Sarne, in eastern Chad. The authorities stated that those responsible had been arrested but no trial had started by the end of 2010.
On 10 July, a vehicle belonging to the French Red Cross was stolen by six armed men near the village of Boulala. The driver and his colleague were held and later released near Moussoro.
Violence against women and girls
Rape and other forms of violence against women and girls continued to be perpetrated by members of their communities, armed groups and the security forces. In most of the cases documented, the victims were children and the suspects enjoyed impunity.
Two refugee girls aged 13 were raped on 16 July by a group of men near Farchana refugee camp. The girls had gone to search for firewood. The Chadian gendarmerie and the DIS reportedly opened an investigation into the case.
On 6 September a 14-year-old refugee girl from Am Nabak camp was raped at the village of Shandi by a local cattle herder, who paid the village chief compensation in Sudanese money before leaving the area. Clashes erupted over the camels he left behind, in which one person was killed.
The UN reported that army soldiers allegedly committed at least 11 cases of violence against women between February and April. Although senior officers reportedly said that they would take appropriate action, it was unclear at the end of the year whether any action had been taken against the suspects.
The recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups continued and recruiters enjoyed total impunity. The UN stated in 2007 that between 7,000 and 10,000 children might have been used as fighters or associated with Chadian and Sudanese armed groups and the Chadian army. Less than 10 per cent had officially been released from these armed forces and groups by the end of 2010.
Children from villages in eastern Chad, refugee camps and IDP sites continued to be used by the Chadian security forces, and some senior ANT officers were involved in recruiting children during the year.
Following a peace agreement signed in April with the Chadian government, the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (Mouvement pour la Démocratie et la Justice au Tchad, MDJT) released 58 children, including 10 girls, in August.
In September, after a Sudanese armed group organized meetings to recruit children in the Goz Amir refugee camp, members of the DIS arrested 11 individuals. It was later established that these individuals regularly organized such meetings.
Members of the Chadian security forces, Sudanese and Chadian armed groups were responsible for unlawful killings committed with impunity in the context of ongoing insecurity.
On 19 October Defa Adoum, a Tama farmer suspected of possessing firearms, was arrested by Colonel Dongui, head of military intelligence in the Dar Tama region, who was based in Guéréda and a member of the Zaghawa ethnic community. The farmer reportedly died as a result of torture.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
The authorities continued to arrest and arbitrarily detain people without charge. People were detained in secret detention facilities where visits were not allowed, such as the Korotoro detention centre.
Freedom of expression – journalists
Journalists continued to face intimidation and harassment by government officials.
Decree No. 5, which restricted freedom of expression and had been issued during the state of emergency in February-March 2008, was lifted. The government passed a new media law in August. The new law introduces prison sentences of one to two years, fines and a ban on publication for up to three months for "inciting racial, ethnic or religious hatred and condoning violence".
On 18 October, Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar threatened to close Ndjamena Bi-Hebdo after the newspaper published an article comparing Chad with Sudan. Journalists from the newspaper feared for their safety following the Prime Minister's press conference on the matter.
Hundreds of people were forcibly evicted and their houses destroyed in various areas of N'Djamena. Evictions were conducted without due process, adequate notice or consultation. Most of the families who had lost their homes since the beginning of this eviction campaign in February 2008 had not received alternative housing or any other form of compensation. Some won court cases against the government, but in most cases the court decisions were not respected.
In May, the authorities told people living in Ambatta, N'Djamena, to leave their homes by the end of the rainy season, around mid-October, to enable the construction of modern houses. Around 10,000 people were at risk of forced eviction; they were not consulted or offered any alternative housing. The evictions had not happened by the end of 2010.
At least three people were killed on 19 July during an operation conducted by the police to forcibly evict security officers from government houses in the centre of N'Djamena.
Children's rights – abductions
Dozens of children, some as young as 10, were abducted for ransom. Some were released when their families paid large sums. The fate of others remained unknown at the end of the year.
On 23 September, at least five young boys were abducted from their homes in the Léré Lake region by armed men who demanded money for their release.
At the end of October, three young boys were taken from their home at Bodoro, 3km from the Cameroonian border, by 11 armed men. The elder brother of one of the children was killed when he alerted other villagers during the attack. They were released after three days in captivity.
On 27 July, an N'Djamena criminal court sentenced Guidaoussou Tordinan to death for shooting dead his wife and injuring his mother-in-law in November 2009. No further information was available on the application of the death penalty or the number of people on death row.