Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - Chad
|Publication Date||24 February 2016|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - Chad, 24 February 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/56d05b6815.html [accessed 22 January 2018]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
Republic of Chad
Head of state: Idriss Déby Itno
Head of government: Kalzeubé Payimi Deubet
The armed group Boko Haram stepped up attacks in the capital, N'Djamena, and around Lake Chad, killing and abducting civilians, and looting and destroying properties. The authorities took several counter-terrorism and security measures, including passing a restrictive anti-terrorism law. The security forces carried out arbitrary arrests and detentions. The authorities continued to restrict the right to freedom of expression by dispersing demonstrations, often using excessive or unnecessary force. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Nigeria, Central African Republic, Sudan and Libya continued to live in difficult conditions in crowded refugee camps. Former Chadian President Hissène Habré faced trial on charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes at the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal.
ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS
Boko Haram killed more than 200 civilians during the year, and looted and destroyed private properties and public facilities. Violence led to the displacement of approximately 70,000 people.
In February, Boko Haram killed more than 24 people, including civilians, on the islands of Lake Chad, including in the localities of Kaiga-Kingiria, Kangalom, and Ngouboua. On 3 April Boko Haram ambushed civilians going to market and killed seven with knives and guns in the village of Telia. On 15 June, 38 civilians were killed and more than 100 injured in a twin suicide attack by suspected Boko Haram members in N'Djamena. On 11 July, a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber wearing a woman's burqa killed at least 15 civilians in a market in N'Djamena and injured more than 80. On 10 October at least 43 civilians were killed in separate suicide attacks in the market of Bagassola and in an informal settlement of internally displaced people in Kousseri. On 5 December, at least 27 civilians were killed and more than 80 injured in three suicide attacks in different locations in the market of Loulou Fou, in the Lake Chad region.
COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY
On 30 July, the National Assembly adopted an anti-terrorism law that provided for the death penalty and increased the punishments for lesser terrorism offences from the previous maximum of 20 years' imprisonment to life. The maximum period before suspects must be brought before a court was increased from 48 hours to 30 days, renewable twice by the Public Prosecutor. The definition of "terrorism" in the bill is extremely broad, including disruption of public services, and opposition parties and civil society organizations expressed concern that the bill could be used to curtail freedoms of expression and association.
Also in July, the authorities imposed a series of counter-terrorism measures affecting the Chadian population and foreign nationals. In addition to an increase in search operations in homes, checkpoints and public places, veils fully covering the face and public begging were banned.
On 9 November, a state of emergency was declared in the Lake Chad region and provided the governor of the region with the authority to ban the movement of people and vehicles, search homes and recover arms.
The security forces were accused of carrying out arbitrary arrests and detentions by both local civil society organizations and international bodies. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that more than 400 foreign nationals of 14 nationalities were arrested following spot checks in a two-week period after the 15 June bomb attack in N'Djamena.
EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE
The rights to freedom of expression and association were violated as security forces used excessive or unnecessary force to disperse demonstrations in N'Djamena and other towns such as Kyabé in the south of the country, where at least three people were reportedly killed during a demonstration on 25 April.
On 9 March, in N'Djamena, security forces dispersed a students' demonstration using tear gas, batons and live ammunition. Four students were allegedly killed and many other protesters injured. No one was investigated or charged in relation to these deaths during 2015. Videos also showed that students arrested during the demonstration were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment by members of the Mobile Police Intervention Group. Security forces beat the students and forced them to roll on the ground, to wipe their faces with sand and to pull their own ears.
On 20 May, after a video revealing the identity of the security forces who tortured and otherwise ill-treated the students was broadcast on the internet, the Supreme Court of N'Djamena sentenced eight policemen to six months' imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 CFA francs (US$80) for "unlawful violence, wilfully beating and wounding and complicity". Six other officers were acquitted.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
On 15 June, Djeralar Miankeo, land rights activist and Director of Association Ngaoubourandi (ASNGA), was arrested and charged with "insulting the judiciary" by the Public Prosecutor of Moundou after questioning the competence of Chadian judicial officials in a radio interview. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and a fine by the High Court of Justice of Moundou. On 28 July the Appeal Court of Moundou overturned the verdict, dropped all charges against him and released him.
On 22 June, Mahamat Ramadane, editor of the newspaper Alwihda, was arrested and held until the following day for photographing a security operation in N'Djamena where the police were reported to have used excessive force.
On 23 June, Laurent Correau, a journalist with Radio France Internationale, was assaulted alongside an international human rights defender in N'Djamena by state agents. Laurent Correau was forcibly expelled from Chad the same day.
REFUGEES' AND MIGRANTS' RIGHTS
In addition to approximately 70,000 people internally displaced by Boko Haram attacks, Chad hosted almost 500,000 refugees – the second highest total in Africa – from neighbouring countries including Sudan, Central African Republic, Nigeria and Libya. Many lived in poor conditions in overcrowded refugee camps. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that during 2015 Chad forced Nigerian refugees back to their country, contrary to the principle of non-refoulement, accusing them of being Boko Haram members.
On 20 July, the trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré opened at the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal on charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes, allegedly committed between 1982 and 1990 when he ruled Chad. This was the first time that an African court had prosecuted a former African president under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
On 25 March, 20 former state security agents connected to President Habré's regime were convicted of torture by the Chadian Criminal Court. The Criminal Court acquitted four of the accused and found the Chadian state liable for the defendants' actions. The defendants and the state were ordered to pay compensation of 75 billion CFA francs (US$125 million) to the 7,000 civil parties. In 2014 the Chadian authorities had declined to transfer these suspects to the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal, or to allow representatives of the Chambers to interview them in Chad.
On 29 August, 10 suspected Boko Haram members were executed by firing squad after being sentenced to death in a trial held behind closed doors the previous day. They were convicted of carrying out the twin attacks that killed 38 people in N'Djamena in June. It was the first execution since 2003. In 2014 Chad had announced that it would abolish the death penalty, but in July 2015 included it in a new anti-terrorism law.
 Chad: Time for justice for victims of Hissène Habré's regime (News story, 20 July)