Human Rights context
Following years of proxy war which largely contributed to the instability in eastern Chad, relations between the Governments of Sudan and Chad have recently improved. Despite signs of improvement, the security, humanitarian and political environment continues to require sustained attention. About 262,000 Sudanese and 68,000 CAR refugees as well as 170,000 IDPs are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Legislative elections took place in February 2011 and the president’s party won by a large majority. The main opposition parties criticized the process and decided not to participate in the presidential elections that took place on 25 April 2011, as a result of which Mr. Idriss Deby got reelected with 88% of the votes.
Major violations of human rights continued to be reported. Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), recruitment of children by armed groups, arbitrary and illegal arrest and detention, torture, poor conditions of detention and high levels of impunity were the major human rights challenges, especially in the eastern Chad. Moreover, deeply rooted traditional and cultural practices inconsistent with international and national human rights norms and standards raised major concerns. Human rights defenders advocating for the end of such abuses continued to be at risk of harassment and other more serious human rights violations. With regard to economic and social rights, access to health care, education, water and other basic services was not guaranteed for the majority of the population.
The Government of Chad demonstrated a clear commitment to eradicate child recruitment within the Armée Nationale Tchadienne (ANT), and to reform the justice sector. Although a Ministry of Human Rights and the Promotion of Liberties (MHRPL) has been established, limited resources imposed serious constraints on the implementation of its mandate. The National Human Rights Commission of Chad, attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, was still ineffective and not fully in compliance with the Paris Principles governing National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI).
Chad has ratified most international human rights conventions, with the exception of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers (MWC) and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ESCR). However, national laws were still not harmonized with all of Chad’s international obligations, and the implementation of most treaties still lacked in reality.
Chad was reviewed in May 2009 by the Human Rights Council under its Universal Periodic Review Mechanism. The Council issued 111 recommendations, of which the Government accepted 86.
Following the closure of the MINURCAT in December 2010, and given the wish of the Government to host a continued human rights presence with a mandate covering the whole country, the High Commissioner for Human Rights decided to appoint a Human Rights Adviser to Chad whose mission is to strategically advise the UN Country team in its human rights support to the Government, the national institutions and the civil society.
Achievements in 2011
A Human Rights Adviser was temporarily deployed from January to April 2011 within the Resident Coordinator / UN country team. The temporary Human Rights Adviser was able to lay the ground for his successor who took up his functions in November 2011.
Both Human Rights Advisors focused their activities in mainstreaming human rights into the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2012-2015. They also addressed the protection gaps in the protection cluster and ensured human rights mainstreaming within the work of UN Agencies and Government institutions. The Human Rights Advisers played a technical and advisory role to encourage compliance of the national human rights institution with the Paris Principles. They were also instrumental in reviewing the national human rights plan of action to include UPR, treaty bodies and special procedures recommendations.
Under the leadership of the Ministry of human rights, a national human rights action plan which includes UPR recommendations was developed. The plan still needs to be reviewed to ensure that recommendations of other UN human rights mechanisms such as treaty bodies, special procedures are sufficiently reflected.
On 12 December 2011, the Prime Minister published a decree establishing a Governmental Committee on the implementation of International Human Rights Instruments. Its mandate is to follow-up on the implementation of human rights instruments and to draft all national reports in compliance with Chad’s reporting obligations to UN treaty bodies and the African Union. The Committee is also responsible for disseminating such reports and to formulate recommendations to harmonize national legislations with international human rights instruments.
Since the deployment of the HRA in Chad, the Government is making substantial efforts to ensure compliance of national legislations with international human rights standards. A “code de la personne et de l’enfant” has been drafted under the leadership of the Ministry of social affairs. This new code is developed in harmony with the Convention on the rights of the child, ECOWAS and ECCAS regional human rights standards relating to the protection of children, women and vulnerable groups, and against trafficking in persons.
Skills of national partners have been strengthened during a workshop on human rights based approach and human trafficking organized by OHCHR sub-regional office in Yaounde in December 2011.
Priorities in 2012
OHCHR’s main priorities for 2012 are:
Strengthening national human rights mechanisms, including national non-governmental organizations
Advocacy for the incorporation of Chad’s international human rights obligations and standards into national laws and facilitation of follow-up to existing recommendations issued by UN mechanisms. Support to national human rights organizations to increase use of international human rights standards to which Chad is a party.
Support to the Ministry of Human Rights in terms of capacity-building and training, with a special focus on supporting the Ministry’s regional delegations in 22 regions.
Support to the Chad National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) aimed at ensuring its compliance with the Paris Principles.
Impunity and rule of law
Organization of workshops on the incorporation into national legislations of international human rights obligations. Provision of legal support to help establishing justice and accountability mechanisms functioning in compliance with international human rights standards to monitor, investigate and redress civil and political rights.
Promoting the integration of a human rights based approach in UN development programming and implementation
Advise and support to UNCT’s members to increased their capacities to apply a human rights based approach to their programmes and activities.