Questions to Consider

Additional Background

Human Rights Reporting

Applicable Laws

Potential Future Human Rights Violations



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 topics.

Questions to Consider:


Are certain groups discriminated against? If so, in what ways? Is discrimination sanctioned or tolerated by government policies and officials?

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?

Public Order

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?

Additional Background

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" 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, ]

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 l'homme (LTDH).

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, Earlier reports can be found at,

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:

See Amnesty International's most recent 2001 annual report on Chad, which includes a section on the Chad Oil Pipeline:

Other International NGOs now monitoring and issuing reports on Chad include:

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,

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, 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,

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 members.

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: Chad ratified the Banjul Charter in October 1986.

Chapter VIII of the Charter to the United Nations, 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,

Commentary on the Court:

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):

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, 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), see

Potential Future 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 compensated?

(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 training?

(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 hazards?

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: (select "all reports by country" and then "c" to scroll down to Chad. Double click on the tabs to see detail)


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