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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid