Human Rights Watch said today that Chadian security forces have used excessive force in recent days against opposition members and supporters opposing the government’s “national dialogue” for new national elections. The security force’s response undermines any hope that national talks will progress toward the election.
national dialogue Revealed It was to be held on August 20, 2022 in the capital N’Jamena, and open to all sections of society. Its purpose is to establish a timeline and rules for the presidential election, promised for October by Mahamat Idris Debbie, who took power in April 2021 Death His father, Idris Debbie Itano. The main opposition party, The Transformers (Les Transformers), have opposed Dialog considers it “not inclusive” and is mobilize Its members and supporters opposed it.
“Chad’s transitional government is once again Failing to take any responsibility for the outrageous actions of its security forces against peaceful protesters and political opponents, completely disregarding fundamental rights and freedoms,” it said. Lewis Mudge, Director of Central Africa at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities must immediately end the attack on the opposition, rein in the security forces and ensure that those involved in the violation of rights are held accountable.”
Government forces wounded several demonstrators in N’Jamena during the first 10 days of September, including inappropriate use of tear gas. According to leaders from The Transformers who spoke to Human Rights Watch, security forces have arrested more than 220 people, many of whom have subsequently reported inhumane detention conditions.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 people between September 1 and 16, including 12 protesters and members of The Transformers, 3 human rights activists, 2 lawyers and 3 journalists. Human Rights Watch also analyzed 2 videos and 45 photographs of the protests shared with its researchers and reviewed reporting by the media and national and international rights groups. Human Rights Watch shared its findings on 22 September in a telephone call with Chad’s Minister of Communications Abderman Koulmallah.
The security forces were arrested on 1 September more than 80 members and supporters of The Transformers, including 7 women, as members wanted to inform the public about the September 3 party meeting. “They called me a ‘slave’ and pushed me along with at least 60 other party workers into a small cell of less than 6 square meters,” said a party member. “The closet was dark and stuffy, the ventilation was poor, we were denied any contact with the outside world.”
Security forces on 2 September siege The Transformers’ headquarters in N’Jamea’s Abena neighborhood, barred anyone from entering or leaving, and used tear gas to disperse party members and supporters, who protested the previous day’s arrest. had gathered there. “We were trapped inside” [the party headquarters] And saw the police brutalize our members and disperse them with violence,” said a party leader. “They fired tear gas shells against our windows, broke some. The siege was lifted three days later. ,
According to party members who spoke to Human Rights Watch and MediaSecurity forces also arrested at least 140 people.
Communications Minister Kaulmallah claimed that the violent protesters outnumbered the security forces, and attacked them and threw stones. “First, the security forces asked the protesters to evacuate; The protesters refused; And some members of the security forces were almost lynched to death.” “The police gave an ultimatum to the protesters, but it did not work. The Transformers aroused the anger of the people and continued to throw heavy stones at the police, who eventually decided to disperse them with tear gas.
All those arrested on 1 and 2 September were released without charge on 5 September, as confirmed. Media By Idris Dokoni Edikar, Minister of Public Security.
On 3 September, security forces continued their operations in and around the Abena neighborhood, using tear gas against those who met at the party headquarters to listen to their leader’s speech. Security forces also ransacked several homes of members and supporters of The Transformers.
Security forces also beat up four Chadian journalists, including aristide gimaldeA 25 year old reporter working for farewell information, and arrested three of them for covering up the action. “The police fired tear gas shells and I sought refuge in a private house with about 10 protesters,” Zimalde said. “Police ransacked the house, confiscated my badge and telephone, removed all videos and photos of the protests I had held, and brutally beat me in the back and arms before kicking and slapping other protesters. “
On September 9, security forces fired tear gas shells to disperse Hundreds of people, along with party leader Succeed Masra, reached the courthouse to answer a summons From the Prosecutor of the Court of First Instance of N’Djamena.
“It was like a war,” said a 33-year-old protester. “The police fired a lot of tear gas, and we all struggled to breathe and see. They opened fire from less than 100 meters from us and I was hit in the chest with a canister of tear gas. It was painful, it burned me. ,
Kaulmallah said the prosecutor had decided to unilaterally summon Masra, but that “Masra, along with hundreds of his supporters, decided to go to court, which is an unacceptable action in a democracy. […] Justice is like a neutral place […] You cannot press justice, you cannot make laws yourself.” International law on the Rights to Freedom of Association and Assembly protects peaceful assembly, including any peaceful march or gathering near a courthouse.
On 11 September, diplomatic representatives of the African Union, the European Union, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom issued a statement in Chad. Statement Expressing concern about the action on transformers and called for respect for the rule of law. Chadian Human Rights Commission and local and international Human rights groups also condemned the excessive use of force by the security forces.
International law, African human rights law, including the African Charter on the Rights of Humans and Peoples, and Chad’s Transitional Charter ensure the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and prohibit excessive use of force by law enforcement officers. below United Nations Fundamentals on the Use of Force and FirearmsSecurity forces may use force only commensurate with the severity of the threat, and the intentional use of lethal force is permitted only if strictly unavoidable for the protection of life.
“At a time when the country is trying to heal its wounds, the abuse of security forces will only preclude Chadian reconciliation, and instead the transitional authorities should ensure respect for the rights of freedom of assembly and expression,” mudge Told. “For this, they must also ensure that the security forces exercise restraint during all protests and gatherings, promptly investigate attacks on the opposition, and allow all Chadians to fully participate in political life without hindrance. “