(Washington, D.C.) November 7, 2007: For any security and humanitarian response to the crisis in eastern Chad to succeed, it must be embedded in an overarching political strategy that addresses the region’s multiple layers of violence, according to an ENOUGH strategy briefing released today.
Authored by respective ENOUGH co-chair and policy advisor John Prendergast and Omer Ismail, the paper details three main layers of violence that afflict civilians in eastern Chad: the proxy war between Chad and Sudan; the seething civil conflict between the Chadian government and its rebel opponents; and cooperation between Sudanese Janjaweed forces and some Chadian Arab militias, which stokes destructive inter-communal violence.
The Chadian government signed a peace accord with four rebel groups in late October, but heavy fighting has broken out between the Chadian army and other rebel forces in the southeast. The European Union (EU) force is not slated to start deployment until December and January.
“The deployment of the EU protection force is only part of a solution,” says Prendergast. “It must be perceived, deployed and operated as a tool in a larger political strategy that focuses on each of the three layers of violence fueling conflict in Chad.”
A comprehensive strategy, the report explains, could have a meaningful impact if it includes four key elements:
- an intensified diplomatic effort launched by the French, working closely with the U.S., China and Libya, to moderate the proxy conflict between the governments of Chad and Sudan;
- increased engagement by the UN’s Department for Political Affairs – particularly by Libya – to facilitate a lasting solution to Chad’s multi-layered political crisis;
- an effective political and human rights strategy that includes the sustained high-level presence of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the east; and
- a comprehensive political strategy that is part and parcel of the EU’s mission and supports local reconciliation efforts.
ENOUGH states that efforts must also be made to bring both criminals and those who have perpetrated human rights abuses to justice in order for people to return home with some measure of security.
“The next two months are critical,” says Ismail. “If the international community misses this small window of opportunity for action focused on protecting civilians, this could be the bloodiest season Chad has seen in years.”
To read “A Race Against Time in Eastern Chad,” go to www.enoughproject.org.
The ENOUGH Project is an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity.