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Amnesty Wants Chad to Fight Impunity and Investigate Human Rights Abuses

Amnesty International says one year after fighting stopped between government and opposition forces in N'Djamena, Chadian security forces continue to commit human rights violations with impunity.

Amnesty International says security forces who carried out murder, torture and enforced disappearance during the conflict have not been brought to justice. The rights group is calling on the Chadian government to investigate allegations of human rights abuses that it says are continuing to occur in an environment of impunity.

"Serious human rights violations perpetrated by Chadian security forces are continuing now and those people responsible for these human rights violations are not being held accountable. This means impunity is there and members of Chadian security forces are enjoying impunity," says Christian Mukosa, a human rights researcher with Amnesty International based in N'Djamena.

Mukosa says the human rights situation has grown worse since the February 2008 attack on N'Djamena when rebels entered the city and clashed with government forces.

"People there were killed, tortured, houses were demolished and till now those people don't have any access to justice and the government of Chad is doing nothing to assist the population who are a victim of human rights violations committed by Chadian security forces," says Mukosa.

Mukosa is also concerned what he says are scores of people arrested by the security forces who have simply disappeared.

"We are concerned that enforced disappearance is a method used by security forces not only to spread fear among the population but also to intimidate political opponents. This is really dangerous for democracy, for the population of Chad and for journalists and human rights defenders," says Mukosa.

Mukosa adds that a Chadian National Commission of Inquiry set up by the government to investigate human rights abuses during last February's conflict has not done anything. And the government has not responded to recommendations from Amnesty International to investigate the disappearance of opposition leaders.

"The whereabouts of those people remain unknown and we have asked the Chadian government to do all they can to bring to justice those among Chadian security forces who could been responsible for those abductions," said Mukosa.

In March of this year, a United Nations mission with a new mandate to monitor and protect human rights in Chad, will take over from a European-led military force. Mukosa thinks the U.N. force could make a difference in helping the government fight impunity if they are deployed in time.