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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid