Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2017, 08:59 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2006 - Chad

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 14 June 2006
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2006 - Chad , 14 June 2006, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
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.

Refoulement/Physical Protection

In 2005, there were no reports of refoulement from Chad. Chad kept its borders with Central African Republic (CAR) open to 13,000 refugees who began fleeing in June, bringing the total number of CAR refugees living in Chad's southern camps to 43,000.

By year's end, about 220,000 Sudanese refugees were living along Chad's eastern border, primarily in camps. While the influx of refugees into the country decreased during the year, competition between refugees and nationals over water, grazing land, wood, and other scarce resources continued to generate resentment. In May, when refugees protested the registration process in the Iridimi camp, violent clashes broke out causing serious injury to several refugees. One day later, in the Goz Amer camp, three refugees and one local gendarme died when refugees burned down a local community center in response to the gendarmes' restrictions on refugees' selling goods in the markets. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local authorities collaborated to defuse tension by creating committees comprised of refugees and local residents.

While Chad did not have a national refugee or asylum law, its Constitution granted the right of asylum, and its August 2004 Memorandum of Understanding with UNHCR reiterated the Government's commitment to protect asylum seekers and refrain from refoulement. The Chadian refugee agency, CNAR, registered refugees who entered the country at official checkpoints. The Government conducted individual refugee status determinations with UNHCR observing.

Refugees in camps or settlements located close to the southern and eastern borders were vulnerable to attack from bandits from CAR and Janjaweed militia from Sudan, which attacked, robbed, and stole cattle from refugees and raped refugee women leaving camps to search for firewood. The Government increased the number of specially trained members of the gendarmerie to protect the eastern camps and ensure that armed persons did not enter them. In May, authorities closed five refugee camps to aid workers after attacks killed several refugees and gendarmes and injured refugees and aid workers.

In December, Chad declared a state of war with Sudan after Chadian rebels launched a deadly attack from Darfur. President Idriss Deby blamed Sudan for backing the rebels and threatened to expel all Sudanese refugees. In April 2006, gunmen entered the Goz Amer refugee camp and took control of it briefly, forcing UNHCR to evacuate some staff, and rebels advanced to the capital. Shortly afterward, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres announced that Deby had retracted the threat and affirmed his commitment to protect the refugees. The fighting and growing instability drove about 1,350 Sudanese refugees back into Sudan along with more than 14,000 Chadians. Rebels and government forces forcibly recruited some 5,000 refugees from camps.

Detention/Access to Courts

In May, local gendarmes arrested three refugees for selling plastic sheeting in the local market inside the camp.

The Government, working in coordination with UNHCR, provided refugee families living in camps with registration cards that enabled them to obtain rations. In urban areas, all adults granted refugee status received individual identification cards. The legal system's lack of resources and vulnerability to external influence limited access for nationals and refugees.

Freedom of Movement and Residence

The Government's official policy required refugees to obtain a "safe conduct" document before leaving the camp regions. Refugees sometimes had to wait several days to obtain these documents due to CNAR's lack of capacity. In practice, many refugees were able to travel in the camp regions or to the capital N'djamena without travel documents, though police often demanded bribes to allow passage. A few thousand lived in urban areas, but insecurity and dependency on food rations compelled the vast majority to remain in or near camps. Along the Sudanese border, about 200,000 Sudanese refugees lived in camps and 25,000 lived outside of the camps, often hosted by nationals. Almost all CAR refugees resided in three camps, Amboko, Gondje, and Yaroungou, in southern Chad. UNHCR opened the Gondje camp at the end of the year for new refugees from CAR.

Right to Earn a Livelihood

In urban areas or small towns near refugee camps, refugees were able to seek employment. To engage in formal employment, refugees needed a confirmation of entitlement to work from CNAR. After local gendarmes arrested three refugees for selling plastic sheeting in the local market in May, refugees burned a community center in a nearby village, resulting in further violence between the refugees and gendarmes and the deaths of three refugees and one gendarme.

Most refugees in the Sudanese camps remained entirely dependent on camp-based aid. Some Sudanese refugees farmed small plots of land or grazed livestock, but access to land and water was extremely limited. In most of the camps, refugees could trade in markets or work for UNHCR or its implementing partners for less than minimum wage.

Public Relief and Education

UNHCR provided refugees in 12 camps for Sudanese refugees along Chad's eastern border with food, shelter, and other basic necessities. In the camps in eastern Chad, UNHCR continued to provide education to refugee children. Chadian schools were generally too far away from camps for refugees to attend and instruction was in French rather than Arabic, in which Sudanese schools taught. UNHCR transported refugees to wood collection sites and provided kerosene to reduce the need for women to gather wood.

In N'djamena, UNHCR provided assistance only to a minority of those refugees it deemed most vulnerable, though in 2005 it expanded medical services and employment training services. Because of violence in the camps in May, UNHCR temporarily closed several of them to humanitarian aid workers. As fighting between government and rebel forces escalated in 2006, international aid groups pulled back from many areas and newly displaced Chadians strained resources at refugee camps.

Search Refworld