Background Briefing

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Escalating Violence in Darfur and Consequences for Chad

It is no coincidence that the number of cross-border attacks into Chad have increased parallel to growing instability in the Darfur region, and specifically in the bordering state of West Darfur. These trends are closely linked to the proliferation of armed groups in the area and to the impunity with which these groups operate. Despite the presence of African Union forces in the region, civilians living in the displaced persons camps in Darfur continue to suffer regular attacks, including willful killings, rape and torture, at the hands of government-backed militias in Darfur and other armed groups, including criminals.  In December 2005, the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General described the situation in West Darfur as “the most complex security environment of the three States [of Darfur].”52

New refugee flows into Chad

Sudanese internally displaced persons have begun seeking refuge inside Chad in the wake of attacks by Janjaweed in and around the huge Sudanese internally displaced persons camps of Misterei and Mornei, West Darfur, and fighting between the SLA and government of Sudan forces nearby.  Refugee camps at Farchana, Bredjing, and Treguine, all east of Abéché, Chad, have already reached capacity, and new arrivals are being directed to Gaga.53 According to records maintained by Commission Nationale d'Accueil et de Réinsertion des Réfugiés (National Commission for the Reception and of Reintegration of Refugees, CNAR), the Chadian refugee agency, an average of 200 refugees are registered on a daily basis at Gaga.

A fifty-year-old Masalit man who lived three years in the Misterei internally displaced persons camp in West Darfur arrived in Gaga with his family in January 2006, where Human Rights Watch interviewed him two days after his arrival. He left Misterei because of deteriorating security and consequent lack of food; the World Food Program suspended food distribution there for eight months in 2005. He reported that women were being harassed, beaten up or raped when they left the Misterei camp to collect firewood.  “If they like your wife, they take her,” he said of the Janjaweed in the area. The man said that internally displaced men were strictly forbidden from leaving Misterei camp, and Janjaweed have attacked and injured or killed such men outside the camp. He complained that the Janjaweed entered the displaced persons camp whenever they wanted, looting, shooting and abducting women. “Even the soldiers enter the camp and behave like the Janjaweed,” he added.54

[52] Monthly Report of the Secretary-General on Darfur, United Nations, December 23, 2005, S/2005/825, [online]

[53] According to CNAR, 217 refugees registered at Gaga on January 22 alone.  Gaga’s January 2006 population was 6,400, with a capacity of 20,000. Human Rights Watch interview, Chad, January 23, 2006.

[54] Human Rights Watch interview, Chad, January 23, 2006.

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