At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Chad, a delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) undertook a joint human rights promotion mission to the Republic of Chad from 11 to 19 March 2013. The mission was conducted as part of the Commission’s promotion mandate under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).
The Commission delegation was comprised of:
· Honourable Commissioner Béchir Khalfallah, Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Commissioner responsible for human rights promotion activities in Chad and Head of Delegation;
· Honourable Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;
· Honourable Commissioner Med Kaggwa, Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa; and
· Honourable Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced People and Migrants in Africa.
The Members of the Commission were accompanied by Mrs Anita Bagona and Mr Charles Beautrel Nguena, Legal Officers at the Secretariat of the Commission.
The main objectives of the mission were to:
- Assess the human rights situation in Chad and identify the progress made and the challenges;
- Strengthen relations between the Commission and the Government of Chad regarding the promotion and protection of rights guaranteed by the African Charter and other relevant regional and international legal instruments;
- Engage in dialogue with the Government of Chad and other stakeholders on legislative and other measures taken to give full effect to the provisions of the African Charter, its Protocols and other instruments ratified by the Republic of Chad;
- Promote the African Charter and other regional and international human rights legal instruments;
- Visit prisons and detention centres in order to learn about prison conditions in Chad; and
- Visit refugees and internally displaced people living in camps in order to learn about their situation.
During the mission, the delegation had fruitful discussions with the members of Government, including the Prime Minister Mr Joseph Djimrangar Dadnadji, the Speaker of the National Assembly and representatives of parliamentary groups. The delegation also met with representatives of UN agencies, such as UNDP and UNHCR. It also held meetings with the members of the National Human Rights Commission, and representatives of civil society and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The delegation visited the interior of the country, including the Kelo and Doba prisons.
The Commission will present a detailed report on the conduct of the mission and the meetings held, which will contain recommendations to all the stakeholders met.
In the meantime, the members of the delegation express their gratitude to the Chadian authorities for inviting the Commission to undertake a human rights promotion mission. The delegation also commends the country’s authorities for their political will to develop a culture of human rights promotion and protection in Chad.
As such, the delegation welcomes the establishment of the Ministry of Human Rights.
The delegation takes note of the significant measures taken in the health sector, in particular the provision of free health care to children below the age of 5 and pregnant women.
The delegation welcomes the ratification by the Republic of Chad of some regional and international human rights legal instruments.
The delegation also commends the fruitful collaboration between the Chadian authorities and UNHCR regarding the protection and assistance of refugees living in Chad.
The delegation welcomes the measures taken by the Chadian authorities to put an end to the enlistment of children into armed forces and groups.
The delegation welcomes the dynamism and motivation of Chadian civil society organisations which, despite the various challenges, would like to have constructive dialogue with the relevant authorities.
The delegation takes note of the various ongoing reforms to improve the Chadian judicial system, and hopes that the Executive will ensure that these reforms go through the Parliament without delay.
However, the delegation notes with concern the following:
- The high rate of illiteracy and under-schooling of the population, in particular among girls and women;
- The limited participation of Chadian women in the management of public affairs and the existence of traditional and religious practices that restrict the rights of women;
- The situation of prisoners from N’djamena who have been taken far away from their families to prisons in Kelo and Moussoro, thereby limiting their access to their families;
- The working conditions of the National Human Rights Commission and delays by the Government in bringing it into line with the Paris Principles; and
- The delay by the Republic of Chad in submitting its periodic reports to the Commission in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter.
As a result, the delegation encourages the Chadian authorities to take further measures to promote the education of the population and combat illiteracy.
The delegation urges the Government of Chad to implement a quota policy in order to facilitate women’s participation in the management of public affairs.
The delegation calls on the Government of Chad to implement without delay robust measures in order to address the lack of prison infrastructures in N’djamena.
The delegation encourages the Government of Chad to expedite legislative reforms and to enact pending legislation towards an effective human rights promotion and protection in Chad.
The delegation further urges the Government of Chad to reform the National Human Rights Commission and to provide it with the necessary material and financial resources in order to ensure its independence and for it to be able to carry out its mandate in accordance with the Paris Principles.
The delegation calls on the Government of Chad to comply with Article 62 of the African Charter by submitting its periodic report on the measures taken to implement the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the African Charter.
The delegation urges the Government of Chad to take the necessary measures to promote and protect human rights defenders and to enact a law to protect human rights defenders.
The delegation further calls on the international community to continue to support the Chadian Government and civil society in their efforts to promote and protect human rights.