The preexisting social context in Chad has already raised a number
of serious human rights concerns which call for immediate analysis.
Using various resources, beginning with those identified in this
site; an ongoing human rights assessment might address the following
Questions to Consider:
Are certain groups discriminated against? If so, in what ways?
Is discrimination sanctioned or tolerated by government policies
Can their treatment be defined as systematic or random? Could it
be classified as persecution or even genocide?
Is there any evidence of slavery or the slave trade?
What remedies are in place, if human rights abuses do occur? What
policies are needed and how can those policies be used the most
effectively by the citizens of Chad, the Chadian government and
the international community?
Is there evidence of government actions that directly cause human
rights violations such as torture, arbitrary or prolonged detention
and imprisonment, disappearances etc.?
Can the government justify such violations on the grounds of its
obligation to maintain public order?
Are there ways to improve the current situation?
Corruption and Administrative Malfeasance
Is there evidence of corruption? If so what forms does it take?
Is corruption a violation of human rights?
Are these levels of corruption that can be tolerated?
What are the mechanisms for redress?
International Legal Obligations
Is Chad in any way legally obligated to the international legal
system with respect to any or all of the above questions of discrimination,
public order and corruption?
How are these obligations made effective within the country?
Does the government of Chad have any obligations to ensure the
physical well-being of its population?
Do these obligations include freedom from hunger?
Given its current limited resources, how could the government better
meet any such obligations?
The most notorious period of human rights abuses came during the
rule of Hissien Habre from 1982 to 1990. Habre was overthrown in
a coup by Chad's current leader Idriss Deby, and fled to neighboring
Senegal. Widespread kidnappings, torture, disappearances, and indiscriminate
killings allegedly occurred during Habre's rule. The truth commission
established in 1992 by Deby has not been considered effective. Following
the arrest of Augusto Pinochet in Britain, human rights activists
have persuaded the government of Senegal to arrest Habre for his
human rights abuses. [See a special Human Rights Watch Report, "The
Case Against Hissien Habre, former Dictator of Chad" http://www.hrw.org/justice/habre/.
Related press articles can also be viewed from this site. For a
more legalistic account see "The Indictment in Senegal of the
Former Chad Head of State" (February 2000) from the American
Journal of International Law, http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh41.htm
The effectiveness of Chad's Human Rights Commission within Chad's
current political structure has been questioned. [See the Human
Rights Watch Report on Chad's Human Rights Commission: Report
on the Effectiveness of Chad's Human Rights Commission (2001),
In order to strengthen the operational capabilities of Chad's Human
Rights Commission, the Office for the United Nations High Commission
for Human Rights and the United Nations Development Program have
entered into a technical cooperation agreement with the government
of Chad. This agreement maps out an 18-month project, ending in
July 2001. [See the terms of reference and project strategies at,
Chad has a growing local NGO community that has developed largely
as a result of the planning and internal interaction surrounding
the oil project. Many of these new local groups, both formal and
informal, are located in the south in and around the oil region.
The most progressive and active of all NGOs is the Chadian Human
Rights League, locally known as Ligue tchadienne des droits de
Human Rights Reporting
There are a handful of organizations that publish regular reports
on human rights conditions around the world. The U.S. Department
of State issues an annual report and includes the condition of human
rights. It identifies as the most common civil rights abuses in
Chad those associated with freedom of the press, freedom of expression,
freedom of assembly and free and fair political participation, and
effective and consistent law enforcement. As citizens in one of
the poorest countries in the world, the people of Chad are reported
to suffer the basic social and economic deprivations caused by poverty.
The most critical problems are related to basic access to health
care, education and an adequate standard of living
The 1999 and 2000 human rights reports for Chad prepared by the
U.S. Department of State, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and
Labor can be seen at, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/.
Earlier reports can be found at, http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/drl_reports.html
An annual report on human rights worldwide is published by Amnesty
International. It identifies as the most common abuses torture,
disappearance and, occasionally, murder of political opponents.
See news release and special reports: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/countries/chad?
See Amnesty International's most recent 2001 annual report on Chad,
which includes a section on the Chad Oil Pipeline: http://www.web.amnesty.org/web/ar2001.nsf/
Other International NGOs now monitoring and issuing reports on
Applicable International and Domestic (Human
Rights) Laws and Obligations and Enforcement Institutions
The appropriate enforcement mechanism will depend on whether the
human rights claim is against the state or a non-state actor (e.g.
corporation, individual or group of individuals). For claims against
the state, or where the state is complicit (participates in wrongdoing)
in human rights abuses, it may be necessary to appeal to existing
international or regional mechanisms.
A. International - The United Nations:
As a member of the United Nations since 1960, Chad is an independent
state and thus holds voting rights and de jure political
sovereignty equivalent to that of any other nation state. Chad enjoys
the legal right to negotiate and enter into any political and economic
treaties and regional organizations that it chooses. Yet while Chad
possesses the legal power to enter into such arrangements, the ability
of Chad to implement and effectively enforce the object and purpose
of such arrangements is limited by the country's minimal financial
and technical resources, its weak political and judicial structures
and a rudimentary physical infrastructure. This is especially true
of Chad's ability to ensure the civil and political freedoms and
economic needs of its citizens. For further information on human
rights and international law see the American Society on International
Law (ASIL), Electronic Resource Guide to Human Rights, http://www.asil.org/resource/humrts1.htm
Chad has ratified the following treaties:
Each of these treaties, except for the Optional Protocol, has a
specific treaty monitoring mechanism which requires states-parties
to submit regular reports as to their progress in implementing and
enforcing the provisions of the treaty.
Chad, like any other member of the UN, is also subject to the United
Nations 1503 communications procedure which enables individuals
or groups to bring allegations of human rights violations. The process
and any government responses are confidential.
The Commission on Human Rights has created other extra-conventional
mechanisms to address human rights violations by the States. They
include special rapporteurs, individual experts and working groups
to investigate, discuss and report on specific human rights issues.
Their focus can be either a thematic (e.g., Torture) or territorial
(e.g., Afghanistan). Each year, the Human Rights Commission under
the United Nations Economic and Social Council, http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/2/chr.htm
hears and comments on briefings made by various NGO's who have
consultancy status with the U.N. Learn more about the Commission,
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has established various
labor conventions to protect the rights of workers, such as the
elimination of slave and child labor, equality in the work force
and freedom of association, to which many countries have agreed
to adhere. These fundamental labor standards aim to secure fundamental
human and workers" rights, http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/norm/index.htm
B. Regional - The Organization for African Unity
Established in 1963, the Organization for African Unity (OAU) is
the major regional body for Africa and Chad was one of its founding
Banjul Charter: In June 1981, the OAU adopted The African
Charter on Human and "Peoples" Rights (also known as the Banjul
Charter), which is the primary regional document on human rights
in Africa. The Banjul Charter is unique in its definition of human
rights as being of a civil, political, economic, social and cultural
nature, and in its affirmation of human duties that every individual
has to others. Each state party is required to submit to the Charter's
Human Rights Commission, a report every two years on the legislative
measures taken to give effect to the rights and freedoms set forth
in the Charter (Article 62). See the Charter at: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm.
Chad ratified the Banjul Charter in October 1986.
Chapter VIII of the Charter to the United Nations, http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/chapter8.html
establishes the relationship of regional bodies in the context of
the work of the United Nations and related to the maintenance of
international peace and security.
OAU Human Rights Commission: The Banjul Charter calls for
the establishment of an African Commission on Human and Peoples"
Rights (Commission). The Commission's role is to promote human and
peoples" rights and ensure their protection in Africa (Article 30
of the Charter). The Commission's mandate is set out in Part II
of the Banjul Charter (Articles 30 to 63)
African Court of Human and Peoples" Rights: Currently in
its formative stages, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights
is provided for in the Draft Additional Protocol to the Banjul Charter.
The Court is designed to complement and reinforce the Commission's
mission to promote and protect those rights and freedoms set forth
in the Banjul Charter. Its jurisdiction covers matters pertaining
to interpretation and application of the Charter, the Protocol and
any other African human rights instrument. On exceptional grounds,
individuals, non-governmental organizations and groups of individuals
may bring cases before the Court, without first proceeding under
Article 55 of the Banjul Charter (article 6 of the Draft Protocol).
Referred to as Exceptional Jurisdiction, this provision is favorable
to victims continuing to suffer human rights abuses.
Draft Optional Protocol to the Banjul Charter, http://afronet.org.za/links/AfricaCharter_add.htm
Commentary on the Court: http://afronet.org.za/a_file/issue_6/i6_pg8.htm
Occasional Paper prepared by the Association for the Prevention
of Torture (Switzerland) on the establishment of the African Court.
This paper offers a critique, comparative analysis to other regional
court systems (European and Interamerican) and conclusion. (PDF
file reader required): http://www.apt.ch/africa/African%20Court.pdf
Background Paper to the UNDP 2000 Human Development Report,
Makau Matua, "The African Human Rights System: A Critical Evaluation",
C. Domestic Legal Systems
(i) Chad Legal System (to be developed)
(ii)Other African Systems
A group of NGOs recently persuaded Senegalese courts to arrest
the former president of Chad on grounds that he had caused the violations
of the human rights of citizens of Chad in Chad.
(iii) Other Systems: The United States Alien Tort Claims Act:
The Alien Tort Claims Act gives U.S. Federal Courts jurisdiction
over a suit brought by an alien alleging an international legal
violation of an egregious nature (e. g. torture, genocide, slavery),
which are also violation of the law of nations and a law or treaty
of the United States, http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/torts3y/readings/update-a-02.html.
The use of modern day international law was successful in a seminal
case, heard under the jurisdiction of a U.S. court, on the basis
of the Alien Tort Claims Act was Filartiga v. Pena-Irala (1980),
Major Human Rights Violations
1. The Right to Self-determination
(a) Will or have populations been forcibly removed?
(b) Have or are these movements been fairly negotiated and
(c) Is force to be used? It is necessary? Is is justifiable?
2. Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech
(a) Are visits to certain regions or populations forbidden by the
government or corporate authorities?
(b) Does the national press cover the region?
(c) Is the implementation of the RMP open to public and press scrutiny?
3. Personal Security
(a) What (if any) security problems have arisen as a result of
the oil project?
(b) Who controls security systems outside the actual production
sites? Have personal received special police as opposed to military
(d) Are there any paramilitary groups active in the region?
4. Freedom of Movement
(a) Have any restrictions been placed on movement in and out of
the oil region?
(b) Are these open to scrutiny and redress?
5. Environmental Impact
(a) Are standards in place and in public?
(b) Are institutions in place to deal quickly with potential environmental
6. Freedom of Association
(a) What restrictions are placed on employees or citizens in the
region with regard to assembly or associations (e.g., unionizing,
political participation, etc.)
7. Due Process (Criminal and Civil)
(a) Are there adequate provisions for timely criminal process,
complaint procedures, etc.?
8. The Human Rights of Women
(a) Are there any ways in which the project causes violations of
women's human rights (e.g., enforced prostitution, communicable
diseases, lack of healthcare, etc.)
Some of the articles from treaties that Chad has ratified include:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - Articles
40 (reporting) and 41 (state communications) http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_ccpr.htm
Note, the first Optional Protocol addresses communications made
by individuals to the treaty's Committee body.
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Articles 16 and 17 (both address reporting) http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_cescr.htm
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination - Articles 9 (reporting), and 11 (state
communications), 14 (individual communications), http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/d_icerd.htm
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, Degrading
Treatment or Punishment - Articles 19 (reporting), 20 (investigations),
21 (state communications), 22 (individual communications).
- Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women - Articles 19 (reporting) http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/e1cedaw.htm
- Convention on the Rights of the Child - Articles 44 (reporting),
45 (UNICEF and UN Specialized Agencies) http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm
(select "all reports by country" and then "c"
to scroll down to Chad. Double click on the tabs to see detail)