FIDH mission to the refugee camps of Eastern Chad

22/06/2007
Press release
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Urgent need for the deployment of an effective international force for the protection of Sudanese and Chadian civil populations

On the occasion of the 9th Ordinary Conference of the African Union (Accra, Ghana), and the 13th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (Wiesbaden, Germany), four press conferences will be organized on 27 june 2007 in Accra (Ghana), Cairo (Egypt), Wiesbaden (Germany) and N’Djamena (Chad), in order to raise awareness of the international community on continuing serious human rights and humanitarian law violations in Darfur and Chad, and to present the concerns and recommendations of the FIDH mission.

Paris, Karthoum, N’Djamena, Ouagadougou, Cairo - FIDH with representatives of its member organisations in Chad and Sudan, (Ligue tchadienne des droits de l’Homme; Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l’Homme; Sudan Organisation Against Torture), and its partner
organisations, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the Union inter-africaine des droits de l’Homme, undertook a mission to Eastern Chad, from the 13 to 23 of June 2007, to the Sudanese refugee camps in Gaga, Farchana and Bredjine.

On the basis of the testimonies of newly arrived refugees in Gaga camp (January to May 2007), the FIDH mission confirms that until today violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur are ongoing: attacks carried out against Sudanese villages and civilians on the border with Chad by the Janjaweed militias continue with complete impunity and the complicity of the security forces in Sudan. A number of witnesses gave accounts describing raids conducted by groups of 20 to 60 heavily armed people riding horses or camels pillaging and looting the villages. Anyone trying to oppose their actions has been tortured or executed. Living under constant threat, the population has no other choice but to flee to the camps in Chad.

The mission also collected testimonies from newly-arrived Sudanese refugees in Chad who, between 2003 and 2005, settled either in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Sudan or in a refugee camps in Chad after having fled a first round of attacks by Janjaweed militias backed by Sudanese government forces. According to the accounts given, since 2006 further attacks along and across the Sudan-Chad border by Janjaweed have increased and killings, rapes and looting have continued, neither the African union forces nor Chadian army being able to provide effective protection.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates, in May 2006, the number of Sudanese refugees in Chad reached as high as 235,574.

Moreover, humanitarian organisations highlighted the implications of the Darfur conflict on the situation of the 140,000 Chadian IDPs in Eastern Chad in addition to the prevailing insecurity in the region since October 2006 resulting from Janjaweed raids, clashes between the Chadian army and Chadian rebels, and inter-ethnic conflicts fuelled by the sub-regional insecurity. The humanitarian situation of IDPs is extremely precarious due to the weak response of the Chadian authorities.

According to a chief at the Sudanese refugee camp in Bredjine, « The Government of Sudan instead of respecting its duty to protect us it has killed us . We have been forced to leave our country to come to Chad. We want to go back to our home and lands but the security situation is preventing us to do so. The African Union has proved to be unable to protect us. We want an international force. We hope that the criminals will be brought before international justice ». This testimony reflects the views and demands expressed by many [other chiefs of the refugee camp] that our mission met with.

In view of the extreme insecurity of the civilian population in Darfur and in Eastern Chad, our organisations

Condemn

- the grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed with impunity in Darfur by the Janjaweed militias, backed by the Sudanese authorities, against the civil population, namely: summary executions, sexual violence, acts of torture and pillaging ;

- the violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed against the Chadian civilian population, specifically those committed during raids by Janjaweed on the Chadian territory;

- As well as the absolute impunity of their authors;

Urge

- the Heads of States of the African Union (AU) meeting in Accra (Ghana) at the beginning of July 2007 to ensure the immediate deployment of the international hybrid UN/AU force, according to the Security Council Resolution 1706, the only force capable of providing effective protection to civilians and international aid agencies;
- the Heads of States of the UA to demand that the Chadian and Sudanese authorities to stop any support to the rebel movements;

- the Heads of States of the African Union (AU) to take all the necessary measures to enable, without any further delay, the establishment of an effective ceasefire and inclusive peace agreement in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian standards;

- the Sudanese authorities to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court, notably by handing over to the Court the two suspects whose arrest warrants have been issued, and by giving the Prosecutor’s Office unhindered and free access to Darfur to conduct their investigation;

- the AU and LSA member states to increase their efforts in this regard towards the Sudanese authorities, and to strongly support the action of the International Criminal Court (ICC);

- the representatives of the States attending the international Paris conference which will be held on the 25 June, 2007 to increase humanitarian aid assistance to the Sudanese, Chadian and Central African refugees and IDPs and to fully support the Darfur peace process;

- the Chadian authorities to facilitate the immediate deployment of an international force in Eastern Chad composed of police forces and military men to guarantee the protection of the civilian population in refugee camps, IDP sites and villages.


Press conference details :

- Cairo (Egypt), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, 27th June, 11.00

Speakers :

Osman HUMAIDA - International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Moataz ELFEGEIRI - Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

-  N’Djamena (Tchad), Ligue Tchadienne des droits de l’Homme (LTDH), 27th June, 11.00am

Speakers :

Massalabaye TENEBAYE, President of the Ligue tchadienne des droits de l’Homme (LTDH) and Vice-president of the Union Inter-africaine des droits de l’Homme (UIDH) / Mission delegate

Delphhine Kemneloum DJERAÁBE, Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l’Homme (ATPDH)

Lazare DJEKOUNOU, Vice-president of the Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l’Homme (ATPDH)

- Accra (Ghana) : Ghana International Press Center, next to the Ghanean Institute of Journalism, 27th June, 10.00am

Speakers :

Richard APRONTI - UIDH / CHPR

Arnold TSUNGA - Zimrights (Zimbabwe) / FIDH Vice-president

Brahima KONE - president of UIDH

Mabassa FALL - Senegal / FIDH representative before AU

Mohamed AHMED - Programm Officer of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) / Mission delegate

- Wiesbaden (Germany)

Speaker :

Isobel RENZULLI, Sudanese Organisation against Torture (SOAT)

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