Abuses by armed groups and bandits
Chadian and Sudanese armed groups as well as bandits operating in eastern Chad killed and raped civilians and kidnapped people for ransom, including humanitarian workers. According to the UN, there were 192 attacks on humanitarian workers in eastern Chad between January and mid-October. On 13 November, six non-governmental aid agencies suspended operations in eastern Chad after a surge in attacks on humanitarian workers and relief agencies.
- On 26 October, Michel Mitna, head of the Guereda office of the Commission nationale d'accueil et de réinsertion des réfugiés (CNAR), Chad's national refugee body, was shot dead by bandits. He was travelling in a vehicle clearly marked as belonging to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, between Guereda and Abeché, eastern Chad. His driver was injured. The attackers escaped.
- On 9 November, Laurent Maurice, a French agronomist employed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was abducted by armed men in the village of Kawa, around 20km from the Darfur border. The ICRC then suspended its operations.
Violence against women and girls
Women and girls continued to be subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in eastern Chad. The perpetrators of such crimes enjoyed virtual impunity.
The army and armed opposition groups, as well as Sudanese armed groups, continued to recruit and use child soldiers in eastern Chad.
- During the May fighting with the UFR, the army identified 84 child soldiers among the UFR fighters and handed them over to UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund. The children were later transferred to a transit centre.
Refugees and internally displaced people
Eastern Chad continued to host more than 260,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 refugee camps and at least 180,000 IDPs in 38 sites. Both refugees and IDPs lived in precarious conditions and lacked protection, especially when they ventured outside refugee camps or IDP sites. They were frequently attacked by Chadian and Sudanese armed groups, members of Chad's security forces, and bandits.
The whereabouts of dozens of men who disappeared between 2006 and 2008 after arrest by government forces remained unknown. Among them was opposition leader Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, arrested on 3 February 2008 and feared dead.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
The authorities frequently arrested and arbitrarily detained people without charge. Some were held in security services' facilities where visits are not allowed.
- On 20 July, Haroun Mahamat Abdoulaye, Sultan of the Department of Dar Tama, eastern Chad, was arrested at his home by police and then held without charge at the security services' facility in N'Djamena. He had previously been arrested in November 2007 on suspicion of involvement with the United Front for Democratic Change, a former armed opposition group.
Violence against women and girls
Various forms of violence against women and girls continued, including female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Forced marriages were imposed on girls as young as 13, including in refugee camps and IDP sites.
- In August, the UN Human Rights Committee called on Chad to protect a girl from sexual abuse in prison. Forced to marry when only 13 and imprisoned since 2004 on suspicion of poisoning her 70-year-old husband, she has been repeatedly raped in prison and gave birth as a result.
Freedom of expression – journalists
Journalists continued to be intimidated and harassed. Decree No.5, which was issued by the President during the state of emergency in February-March 2008, remained in force. The Decree restricted press freedom and increased penalties that could be imposed on journalists. It provided for up to five years in prison for publication of "false news" and for a new offence of “insulting the president, the head of government, ministers or foreign diplomats''.