A crucial time for human rights in Chad – UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
GENEVA, Switzerland, April 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- At the end of the first high-level mission to Chad by a UN human rights official, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang said that while the Government had a difficult task ahead in improving the human rights situation in the country, it was clear that the political will to do so exists.
In N'Djamena from 1-3 April, Ms. Kang met President Idriss Deby Itno and Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar, a number of other ministers, the President of the National Assembly, the Bureau of the National Human Rights Institution of Chad, civil society organizations and heads of UN agencies.
Ms. Kang highlighted the food crisis, violence against women, impunity, judicial capacity and judicial independence as well as the issue of forced evictions as some of the key human rights problems confronting the country.*
“This is a crucial time for human rights in the country,” Ms. Kang said at her end-of-mission press conference in N'Djamena on Tuesday. “I am very concerned by the food crisis and I encourage the Government to continue integrating a human rights-based approach into its humanitarian response and long-term development plans.”
She added that it was vital for the international community to continue funding essential aid programmes in Chad to provide immediate relief for millions suffering from chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition.
While commending Government efforts to implement the main recommendations of the National Commission of Inquiry which investigated human rights violations that occurred in N'Djamena in February 2008, Ms. Kang noted that the majority of alleged perpetrators had not been brought to justice.
“The lack of capacity, under-resourcing and the issue of the independence of the judiciary remain of concern,” she said. “I encourage the Government to increase its efforts towards reforming the judiciary with a view to ending impunity.”
She also called on the Government to ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence are brought to justice.
On the issue of forced evictions, Ms. Kang stressed to the authorities the importance of integrating human rights principles into all development projects. She encouraged the Government to invite the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing to visit Chad, since this would produce useful recommendations on the international human rights standards that should apply to land clearing and relocation projects. She welcomed the on-going dialogue between Chadian authorities and civil society organizations, and hoped such dialogue would be strengthened and sustained.
Ms. Kang cited important steps taken by the Government to harmonize its national legislation with international human rights law, and to establish a national human rights action plan in line with the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council. She called on Chad to consider also ratifying a number of other human rights treaties as well as issuing a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures mandate-holders.
“The difficulties Chad has faced for many years are severe but they are not insurmountable,” Ms. Kang said. “The Government has a difficult task in improving the human rights situation in the country and my discussions during my visit have convinced me of their political will to do so. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stands ready to help in any way we can.”
* For the full end-of-mission statement in English, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12037&LangID=E