A new strategy paper released Monday calls for the deployment of peacekeeping troops in eastern Chad. Violence in neighboring Darfur has spilled across the border, putting many civilians and humanitarian workers at risk.
The report comes from the Enough Project, an initiative aimed at ending genocide and crimes against humanity. Collin Thomas Jensen is a policy adviser with the Enough Project. In Washington, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the strategy paper.
“Essentially, we’re calling for a protection force for Eastern Chad that has one the one hand a robust Chapter 7 mandate to protect civilians and on the other hand a significant civilian component to deal with the other issues on the ground – the reconciliation, the human rights monitoring and eventually the political process that will try to reduce some of the root causes of violence in Eastern Chad,” he says.
Jensen, who’s visited Darfur several times this year, says, “The situation on the ground is extremely dire. You have a number of armed groups, proliferation of small weapons, an intensifying proxy war between Chad and Sudan. And in all of this civilians are caught in the middle. Really the proximate cause of violence, the cause of the real deterioration of security in Eastern Chad, is the strategy of armed groups backed by Khartoum making incursions into Eastern Chad and attacking civilians. That was really the spark that lit the fire…and now we’re having a very difficult time in the international community to contain it.”
The authors of the Enough Project strategy paper are John Prendergast, co-chair of the Enough Project; Omer Ismail, a Darfur human rights activist who founded the group Darfur Peace & Development; and actress Mia Farrow, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, who’s currently in Eastern Chad.