U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2007 - Chad



Refoulement/Physical Protection

There were no reports of refoulement from Chad in 2006.

In March, the Sudanese Liberation Army, a Darfur-based rebel group, entered Chadian refugee camps and schools and recruited an estimated 4,700 refugees from Treguine and Bredjing camps. The rebels recruited both men and boys, mostly by force, and severely beat women and other onlookers who resisted. This occurred with the reported complicity of the Government and the National Refugee Reception and Reintegration Commission (CNAR). Most of the recruited refugees later returned to Chad.

In May, the Janjaweed attacked near Koukou-Angarana camp and, in December, attacked the nearby Goz Amer camp and killed four refugees. By year's end, Janjaweed attacks had penetrated 93 miles (150 km) inside Chad with increased brutality, and rape became an especially common war tactic. In January 2007, rebels shot and killed two refugees in Kounoungou camp, near Guereda, and a pregnant refugee woman suffered a bullet wound in her arm.

Representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) had to withdraw staff from N'djamena and northeastern Chad. The Government acknowledged that it could not protect the growing number of refugees in the country.

The 2004 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government and UNHCR guaranteed the presence of police in camps in southern and eastern Chad. Under the agreement, UNHCR, through CNAR, paid for about 18 gendarmes per camp. Camps in southern Chad reported that camp police detained and abused refugees, especially those of Peule ethnicity. Women were especially vulnerable when leaving the camps to collect firewood.

Many refugees protested the insecurity and demanded relocation. The Government agreed to move Oure Cassoni and Am Nabak camps to safer locations. The high cost, insecurity, and lack of water at the alternate locations it proposed, however, thwarted the plan.

Chad was party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees without reservations, as well as to the 1969 Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Its 1996 Constitution provided for asylum and forbade the extradition of "political refugees." While Chad did not have a refugee law, the MOU with UNHCR reiterated the Government's commitment to protect asylum seekers and refrain from refoulement.

Escalating violence in both the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan brought a rapid influx of refugees from both nations. By year's end, an estimated 48,400 refugees had fled to southern Chad from CAR, where rebel fighting and violent gang attacks continued.

The number of Sudanese refugees in Chad rose to 233,000, nearly all housed in twelve refugee camps along Chad's eastern border. Janjaweed attacks spread eastward into Chad and targeted both refugees and civilians.

Detention/Access to Courts

Police often entered camps to detain refugees they accused of being CAR rebels or supporters. Officials detained two refugees in N'djamena, one for fraudulent passport use and the other for political reasons. Police mistreated one prisoner and threatened refoulement but eventually resolved the case and released both prisoners. Authorities held prisoners in very poor and overcrowded conditions, and guards sometimes subjected refugees to forced labor such as cleaning or cutting wood.

UNHCR pursued cases with local police posts and could usually visit detained prisoners.

Two national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) based in southern Chad also monitored refugee detention in Gore.

Refugees had access to courts, though they rarely used them because there were no courts in the camps and those in the capital were costly and slow. Refugees usually settled minor disputes by elected refugee committees and representatives inside the camps. In southern camps, a committee of elders generally dealt with small larceny and adultery.

Asylum seekers and refugees recognized individually in the capital received Chadian refugee cards indicating their status. Those in camps received only family registration certificates and ration cards.

Freedom of Movement and Residence

Officials in N'djamena did not recognize asylum seekers from Sudan and CAR on an individual basis in order to discourage their living there. The Government required refugees to obtain a safe-conduct document before leaving the camp regions but issued them without cost or delay. In practice, many refugees traveled or even returned to their country of origin without such documents; others left the camps to trade or sell goods. This subjected them to bribery or extortion at checkpoints or harassment for suspected rebel activity.

Humanitarian aid was not available to refugees from CAR and Darfur in the capital. Refugees registered before 2005 in the capital were no longer eligible for aid except for especially needy ones. Aside from that, aid was only available to refugees in the camps, but a number of them remained in villages at the border where they had family or ethnic ties. Almost all CAR refugees, about 45,000, resided in four camps, Amboko, Gondje, Dosseye, and Yaroungou.

Recognized refugees could request international travel documents from the national refugee authority if they had status, identity documents, and valid reasons for travel outside of Chad and could make their requests in writing. In 2006, authorities issued five of them.

The Constitution reserved its protection of the right to freedom of movement to citizens.

Right to Earn a Livelihood

The Government allowed refugees to work. In eastern Chad, camp-based refugees raised livestock. In southern Chad, refugees worked informally, usually with a UNHCR partner organization, or sold food in nearby markets. The Constitution only recognized the right of citizens to work.

Refugees had the right to obtain property such as business premises, land, and bank accounts. However, some Sudanese refugees reported that landowners confiscated the property just before harvest and claimed the contract was void. Since such contracts were often oral, it was difficult for refugees to enforce them.

Chadians reportedly attacked refugees and destroyed their wells due to competition for wood, water, and grazing land, and resentment of goods and services provided to refugees.

Public Relief and Education

Refugees received food, shelter and other necessities in camps and the Government cooperated with UNHCR and other agencies aiding refugees. In Koloy in November, militias killed one Doctors without Borders worker and wounded another and looted and destroyed their health clinic. Rebels seized the town of Abéché in November and, with residents, ransacked World Food Programme and UNHCR storehouses, looting 500 tons of food. In February, gunmen briefly kidnapped two UNHCR officials in Guereda and drove them toward Darfur, releasing them only after getting a flat tire. A forced withdrawal of aid workers drained camps of trained medical staff and impeded access.

Major illnesses inside the camps were acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition as well as increased injuries due to fighting. Camp clinics referred serious cases to local hospitals, which UNHCR and partners supported. There were frequent food shortages at the end of each month, averaging 5.5 to seven days. Touloum camp issued only four liters of water per person per day, instead of the minimum standard of 15. Seven of the 12 camps did not have adequate latrines, contributing to diarrhea, which was responsible for more than a quarter of the deaths in the camps.

Nearly all refugee children had access to primary education, but only those in southern Chad had access to secondary schools. Curricula for Central African refugees were comparable to those in CAR, and both countries recognized the school certificates.

Chad did not include refugees in the 2003 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper it prepared for international donors but did pledge $2 million for aid to Sudanese refugees and requested matching funds by donor governments.


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