News Releases

Chad: Four United Nations special rapporteurs seized following massacres of civilians

The Chadian people demonstrate on 20 October 2022, asking for a return to democracy

News release

N’Djamena-Geneva, 24 October, 2022

Following the serious human rights violations that have just bloodied Chad, three human rights organisations have seized the United Nations special rapporteurs, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) said today.

On Thursday, 20 October 2022, thousands of demonstrators gathered in several cities in Chad at the opposition's call to demand a rapid return to democracy. Following the death of President Idriss Déby in April 2021, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno succeeded him without an electoral process, opening an 18-month "transition period". But on October 1, Mr Déby announced that the elections would be postponed for another two years.

On Wednesday, 19 October, the Minister of Public Security banned all gatherings, and dozens of national police vehicles started crisscrossing the capital, N'Djamena. The repression began Thursday at 5 a.m., with the firing of tear gas canisters but also live ammunition against peaceful demonstrators. These attacks then spread across the country and lasted all day, involving police, gendarmerie and military forces.

The OMCT and its member organisations in Chad – the Chadian League for Human Rights (LTDH) and the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (ATPDH) – have identified, alongside the security forces, people not wearing uniforms but carrying weapons, and who were transported in vehicles without registration.

LTDH and ATPDH activists visited morgues, hospitals and health centres and spoke to relatives of the victims. They identified 80 dead in the repression - this toll is provisional -, including a journalist, and hundreds of seriously injured in N'Djamena, Moundou, Doba, Koumra and Bebedjia. According to their information, hundreds of demonstrators were also arrested and sometimes tortured by the security forces in other towns, including Abéché, Bongor, Mongo, Kyabé and Moissala.

According to the Chadian government, a dozen police officers were killed.

The OMCT, the LTDH and the ATPDH have just seized four United Nations special rapporteurs: on the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association; on human rights defenders; on summary executions; and torture and other forms of ill-treatment. This referral invites the experts to urgently demand an end to human rights violations and independent and impartial investigations so that the perpetrators are identified, tried and punished and the victims obtain reparations.

The government imposed a curfew and suspended the activities of several political parties for three months. In N'Djamena, threats and intimidation continued from 21 to 23 October against civilians and political parties. Military vehicles were stationed or driving in almost every neighbourhood, and gunfire was heard in neighbourhoods like Atrone, Gasi, Walia and Moursal. Searches are taking place in the homes or on the persons of residents of certain neighbourhoods, notably in Atrone, around the headquarters of the Les Transformateurs party.

Reports of more summary executions today

Bodies of slain protesters were recovered from the Chari River in N'Djamena over the weekend. Classrooms, such as those of the Abena Communal High School located in the commune of the 7th arrondissement of the city of N'Djamena, have been transformed into prisons. Young people were reportedly summarily executed there this morning. In addition, concurring sources confirm the deportation of people to the high security prison of Koro Toro, located in the middle of the desert in the north of the country.

The authorities have cut the internet connection in the cities and neighbourhoods that have seen the strongest protest, which makes the collection of information in real time very difficult.

These severe violations occur as Chad prepares to present its second alternative report to the United Nations Committee against Torture on the 1st and 2nd of November. Over the past decade, the country has systematically violated human rights and used torture and ill-treatment, especially during peaceful demonstrations.

The OMCT, LTDH and ATPDH call on the Chadian authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, particularly respect for the right to life and human dignity. The three organisations also call on Chad's international partners, including the African Union and France, to intervene with the transitional authorities so that they begin an immediate return to constitutional order.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the largest global NGO group actively standing up to torture and protecting human rights defenders worldwide. It has more than 200 members in 90 countries. Its international Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

For more information, please contact :
Iolanda Jaquemet, Director of Communications

+41 79 539 41 06