Monday, January 31, 2011

GOTB Actions '11: Refugees and IDPs in eastern Chad

At tomorrow's February GOTB planning meeting, the Group 133 Refugee Action team will be presenting information about Darfuri refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently living in eastern Chad, as well as details about the planned GOTB 2011 action, which will call on the government of Chad to protect those refugees and IDPs living in camps in eastern Chad and, in particular, to ensure the safety of women and girls living in the camps.

In the meantime, I've collected a bit of background information on the issue.

Internally Displaced in Chad - Violence crosses the border
from UNHCR on Flickr:

The UN office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are currently 285,500 Sudanese refugees and 157,200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps along the eastern border of Chad.

With the withdrawal of all MINURCAT peacekeepers at the end of last year, Amnesty International has expressed serious concern for the safety of refugees and IDPs in camps near Chad's border with Sudan. According to AI USA's Chad country specialist, Chad military personnel have already been implicated in a growing number of sexual assaults against women and girls in the camps, and have failed to protect them from outside attacks. The threat to refugees and IDPs is expected to increase in 2011.

Violence in eastern Chad
from UNHCR on YouTube:

The planned GOTB action will call on the government of Chad to protect refugees from Darfur and IDPs in camps in eastern Chad, and in particular to ensure the safety of women and girls in the camps. Specifically, we will ask the government of Chad -
  • to permit MINURCAT peacekeepers to return to eastern Chad,
  • to provide greater protection to women and girls in refugee camps in eastern Chad, including refugees from Darfur and IDPs from Chad,
  • to ensure that Chadian soldiers and security personnel cease all violations of the human rights of refugees and other displaces persons in the camps, and
  • to ensure that all who have committed such violations are brought to justice.
Further information:
For information or to become involved with GOTB, join us at tomorrow night's planning meeting at 7 o'clock at the Amnesty International Northeast Regional Office in Davis Square at 58 Day Street, Suite 409, Somerville, MA.

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