News / Africa

Chad Seeks Withdrawal of UN Peacekeepers Protecting Food Distribution

Chad is asking the United Nations to withdraw a peacekeeping force it says is failing to protect civilians.  The United Nations wants to extend the mandate of the force that is protecting the distribution of humanitarian supplies along Chad's borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Chadian President Idriss Deby wants the force known as MINURCAT to leave his country.  He says it has not fully deployed and is failing to protect civilians in the east.

After asking the Security Council not to renew MINURCAT, President Deby eventually agreed to a 2-month extension that will keep the military and police force in Chad through May 15.

U.N. officials are using that time to try to convince the president to agree to a longer extension.

Alain Leroy is the U.N. under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations.

"We consider it still very important for MINURCAT to stay after 15 of May to protect, to continue the mandate given by the council," said Leroy.  "That has to be discussed with the Chadian authorities because we cannot stay without the consent of the host country, that is very clear."

Relief officials say withdrawing MINURCAT would leave Sudanese refugees and internally-displaced Chadians vulnerable to banditry, undermining humanitarian operations.

"The security provided by MINURCAT is absolutely essential," notes Susannah Sirkin, deputy director for the group Physicians for Human Rights.  "There is almost no judicial system there, very weak police force.  There are not female officers to deal with the really rampant sexual-and-gender-based violence on the border and in the camps.  It is not at all clear that if MINURCAT's military and police component were to withdraw in May that there would be any kind of adequate replacement for this protection."

Sirkin says MINURCAT is crucial to the provision of food, water, sanitation, and health for one-quarter-million Sudanese refugees and more than 150,000 Chadian's displaced by the country's rebellion.

Phillipe Conraud, humanitarian coordinator for West Africa for the aid group Oxfam, says the absence of MINURCAT could affect the distribution of food to people in more dangerous areas along the border with Sudan.  But in some of the regions most at risk for food shortages, he says there are no MINURCAT forces to begin with.

President Deby says Chad can do without MINURCAT because Chad and Sudan are setting up their own force to secure the 500-kilometer border.  It is part of improving relations between the two countries after years of accusing each other of supporting rival rebel groups.

Sirkin says the rapprochement between Ndjamena and Khartoum may help check rebel attacks but does not address internal lawlessness.

"Even though there may be ongoing negotiations now and some abatement of the conflict between Sudan and Chad, there is banditry," added Sirkin.  "There are crimes, including violent crimes committed even by Chadian camp personnel."

U.N. peacekeeping chief Leroy says improving relations is a big step forward after Chad cut diplomatic relations with Sudan last year.

"I think nobody one year ago could imagine a visit by President Deby to Khartoum, and President Deby mentioned very clearly that the relations between the two countries and the two presidents is so much better than it was one year ago," said Leroy.  "That is an extremely important step for the stability of the region."

Even if the United Nations fails to convince President Deby to allow MINURCAT to stay longer, officials are hoping for a gradual withdrawal in order to not jeopardize relief operations in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic.  That withdrawal is expected to be slow, given the size of the force and the approaching rainy season.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid