Chad: It is essential to act for a democratic transformation that meets the aspirations of the people

Press release
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Marco Longari / AFP

(N’Djamena, Paris) 23 April 2021 – As the funeral of President Idriss Déby Itno takes place today in N’Djamena, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Chadian League for Human Rights (LTDH - Ligue tchadienne des droits de l’Homme), and the French Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), call for a return to constitutional order and the establishment of civilian and democratic power as soon as possible. Our organisations urge Chad’s privileged partners, particularly the African Union, CEMAC, the European Union and France, to play their full part in making this change of power a turning point for the restoration and effective protection of the rights and freedoms of the Chadian people.

On 20 April 2021, an emergency Transitional Military Council (TMC) took power after the sudden death of President Idriss Déby Itno. The day before, the Independent National Electoral Commission had announced the re-election of Idriss Déby Itno for a sixth term as President of Chad, with almost 80 per cent of the vote. Shortly after its creation, the TMC, chaired by Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, son of Idriss Déby Itno, declared that it would suspend the constitution, dissolve the government and the national assembly, and proceed to temporarily close the borders and impose a curfew for the entire country.

On 21 April 2021, a transitional charter was adopted by the TMC, unilaterally and without consultation with political and civil society actors. This charter ratifies the creation of three transitional bodies for the next 18 months, abrogates the current fundamental law, indicates the adoption of a new constitution by referendum and promises the organisation of free and transparent elections at the end of a transitional period of 18 months, renewable once. In particular, this charter gives considerable powers to Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who is entrusted with the duties of ’President of the Republic, Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces’.

In the face of these upheavals, our organisations are deeply concerned about what seems to be more akin to the organisation of a succession for the continuation of the seizure of power.

"For the past three days, a coup d’état has been dismantling the Chadian institutional and legislative system. The establishment of a transitional committee composed exclusively of military personnel and the first decisions imposed without inclusive political dialogue are not reassuring signals. Throughout the 30 years of Idriss Déby Itno’s regime, thousands of Chadians have constantly mobilised to demand democracy, justice and respect for their rights and freedoms, despite the terrible repression. Today, these legitimate demands must be respected and the violations and obstructions that characterised the previous regime must cease."

Drissa Traoré, FIDH Secretary General

Our organisations are also concerned about the serious consequences that political instability could have on the population, as the socio-cultural fabric and the human rights situation are already extremely fragile throughout Chad, the sub-region and the Sahel.

Our organisations call on the international community, particularly Chad’s key partners, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and France to support the restoration of constitutional order and the establishment of an inclusive political dialogue as soon as possible, in order to promote an effective and peaceful democratic transition.

As the Peace and Security Council of the African Union met on 22 April to consider the situation in Chad, and as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is currently holding its 68th ordinary session, the AU must take a firm stance condemning this coup d’état and demanding respect for democratic principles and human rights during the transition period. In particular, the AU must do everything possible to ensure a rapid and peaceful resolution of the ongoing political and security crisis and ensure the safety of the civilian population. If necessary, the AU must trigger the suspension and sanction mechanisms, as provided for in its texts and in particular in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

France, for its part, has had a special relationship with Chad for many years and the two countries have developed strong multi-dimensional cooperation. The French government must take full stock of the recent events that have shaken the country and that could lead to lasting instability in central Africa and the Sahel. Any action by the French authorities must be guided by the imperative need to preserve the social and national cohesion of the Chadian people and to support the country’s political actors and dynamic forces so that they engage in an effective, credible and sustainable democratisation process.

"We call on the African Union and the French authorities to do everything possible to allow a return to constitutional order, to act in favour of a transition led by a civilian government as soon as possible and to support the establishment of an inclusive national consultation involving the authorities, political actors and Chadian civil society. We reiterate our call for the absolute necessity of putting respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the well-being of the population at the heart of their concerns."

Maxvelt Loalngar, President of LTDH
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