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Amnesty International Report Calls Eastern Chad an Unfolding Human Rights Tragedy

Amnesty International says a “new human rights tragedy is unfolding in the eastern part of Chad.” The report says Sudanese government-backed janjaweed militia from Darfur are targeting many ethnic groups across the border.

Claudio Cordone is a senior director for Amnesty International. From London, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the situation in eastern Chad.

“Our concerns is that effectively the problems in Darfur, that are continuing instead of getting better, are being transferred into Chad. With primarily the janjaweed militia that has been devastating Darfur now carrying out raids across the border in eastern Chad targeting a number of groups. Looting, taking away cattle and killing. So in a sense, the same sort of violations that we’ve been witnessing in Darfur are now being carried out in eastern Chad as well.”

Asked whether the situation is developing into a battle between Sudan and Chad, Cordone says, “There’s obviously an element as well of the rivalry between Sudan and Chad with each country supporting armed groups opposed to the other government. So that element is certainly there. Our main concern is that whatever the power struggles civilians don’t get targeted, don’t get killed and pay the cost of these political issues. And that’s why we’re insisting that not only a UN mission be deployed in Darfur as it’s already been agreed by everybody except Sudan effectively, but also that if the Chadian government is not able to protect its own civilians in eastern Chad, then an international force should be deployed there as well.”

The Amnesty International official says the recent Darfur peace accord signed in Abuja, Nigeria has done little to bring peace to the region.

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