• Chad elections: President Déby seeks a sixth term in a region for old men

    chad elections deby

    President Idriss Déby of Chad has been in power since 1990. Credit: Paul Kagame.

    By David Kode, Advocacy & Campaigns Lead at CIVICUS

    In a familiar pattern than continues to be repeated, President Idriss Déby looks set to be elected for yet another term in Chad following this Sunday’s presidential elections. In power since 1990, this will be the 68-year-old incumbent’s sixth term.

    President Déby’s victory at the ballot box may be all but assured, but that’s not to say he doesn’t face significant opposition. When he was nominated to be the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement’s flagbearer this February, the announcement sparked widespread demonstrations. In the capital N’Djamena and other major cities, protesters took to the streets chanting “no to a sixth term!” and “Leave, Déby!”.

    Read on African Arguments


  • Chad: Respect the right to protest and release detained activists

    The use of violence to disperse recent protests in Chad and the arrests and detention of members of civil society and the political opposition highlight ongoing attempts by the military junta to stifle civic freedoms and silence criticism of their actions.


  • Chad: Stop violence against peaceful protesters and respect democratic rights of Chadians

    Chadian authorities must stop the brutal repression of peaceful protesters and ensure an immediate democratic transition in Chad, says global civil society alliance CIVICUS. Unrest is likely to continue if the military does not allow for a civilian-led government.  
    On 8 May 2021, security forces used violence against peaceful protesters who denounced a military takeover in Chad following the death of long-term President Idriss Déby Itno on 20 April 2021.  
    More than 5 people were killed and several others wounded during similar protests held on 27 April. Led by a coalition of civil society groups and members of the political opposition, the protests condemn the continuation of a Chad dynasty after President Déby’s son, General Mahamat Idriss Déby, succeeded his father and appointed a military transitional government.  
    “The Chadian military has once again chosen to ignore an opportunity to put in place democratic reforms, reset Chad’s political trajectory and respect constitutional and international human rights obligations.  The military continues a pattern of violence over dialogue and continues to trample on democratic norms,” said David Kode, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead for CIVICUS  
    Ahead of Chad’s recent elections in April 2021, the authorities imposed a ban on peaceful protests to deter members of civil society and the political opposition from protesting President Idriss Déby Itno’s decision to stand for a sixth term in office.  In February 2021, more than 100 people were arrested for protesting and several were later charged with disturbing public order.  President Idriss Déby was killed fighting rebels in April. Since then, civil society and the political opposition have been protesting the Transitional Military Council and calling for a return to civilian rule. 

    Civic space in Chadis rated asRepressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.


  • Chad’s transition to nowhere

    By Ine Van Severan, Civic Space Researcher & David Kode, Lead of Advocacy and Campaigns cluster

    Chad’s return to civilian rule is under threat. 15 months into a political transition that is supposed to last 18 months, the Transitional Military Council (CMT) has done little to prepare for elections and is repressing voices expressing concern. We are no closer to the possibility of Chad’s caretaker leader, Mahamat Déby, ceding the position his late father, Idriss Déby, held for over 30 years.

    On 20 April 2021, when the military assumed power following the killing of Idriss Déby by Chadian rebels, the country was already facing dual challenges from inside and outside the country.

    Read on African Arguments


  • CIVICUS UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space

    CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint and stand-alone UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on eight countries to the UN Human Rights Council in advance of the 31st UPR session (November 2018). The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the second UPR cycle over 4-years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations.

    Countries examined: Chad, China, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Senegal

    Chad EN or FR -CIVICUS and Réseau Des Défenseurs Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC) examine ongoing attacks on and intimidation, harassment and judicial persecution of HRDs, leaders of citizen movements and CSO representatives. We further discuss restrictions on the freedoms of assembly and association in Chad including through lengthy bans and violent repression of protests and the targeting of unions which protest against austerity measures or the reduction of salaries for workers.

    China - CIVICUS and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) outline serious concerns related to the escalation of repression against human rights defenders, particularly since 2015, which Chinese activists described as one of the worst years in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful activism. The submission also describes unlawful restrictions on the freedom of association, including through the Charity Law and the Law on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations. CIVICUS and AHRC call on the government of China to immediately release all HRDs arrested as part of the “709 crackdown” and repeal all laws restricting civic space in China.

    Jordan -CIVICUS, the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and Phenix Center highlight the lack of implementation of recommendations on the right to freedom of association. Current legislation governing the formation and operation of civil society organisations (CSOs), including trade unions, imposes severe restrictions on the establishment and operation of CSOs. We are also concerned by the restrictive legal framework that regulates the right to freedom of expression and the authorities’ routine use of these laws to silent critical voices.

    Malaysia - CIVICUS and Pusat KOMAS highlight a range of restrictive laws used to constrain freedom of association and to investigate and prosecute government critics and peaceful protesters, in their exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We also raise concerns about the harassment of and threats against HRDs as well as the increasing use of arbitrary travel bans by the government to deter their freedom of movement.

    Mexico (ES) - CIVICUS and the Front for the Freedom of Expression and Social Protest (Frente por la Libertad de Expresión y la Protesta Social - FLEPS) address concerns regarding the threats, attacks and extrajudicial killings of HRDs and journalists for undertaking their legitimate work. The submission further examines the multiple ways in which dissent is stifled through stigmatisation, criminalisation and violent suppression of social protests and restrictions on freedom of expression and independent media.

    Nigeria - CIVICUS and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNGO) examine the difficult operating environment for journalists who are routinely harassed, beaten and sometime killed for carrying out their journalistic work. CIVICUS and the NNGO are concerned by the actions of some officers of the Department of State Services who are at the forefront of persecuting human rights defenders.

    Saudi Arabia - CIVICUS, the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) address Saudi Arabia’s continued targeting and criminalization of civil society and human rights activists, particularly under the auspices of its counter-terror laws, which severely undermine the freedoms of association, expression and assembly.

    Senegal - CIVICUS and the Coalition Sénégalaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (COSEDDH) document a number of violations of the freedom of expression and restrictions on media outlets. In particular we discuss the continued criminalisation of press offences in the new Press Code, including criminal defamation, among other restrictive provisions. Since its last UPR examination, implementation gaps were found with regard to the rights to the freedom of expression and issues relating to the freedom of peaceful assembly.


  • Tchad: Arrêtez les violences contre les manifestants pacifiques et respectez les droits démocratiques des Tchadiens

    Les autorités tchadiennes doivent cesser la répression brutale des manifestants pacifiques et assurer une transition démocratique immédiate au Tchad, déclare l'alliance mondiale de la société civile CIVICUS. Les désordres risquent de se poursuivre si les militaires ne permettent pas la mise en place d'un gouvernement dirigé par des civils.  
    Le 8 mai 2021, les forces de sécurité ont fait usage de la violence à l'encontre de manifestants pacifiques qui dénonçaient une prise de pouvoir militaire au Tchad à la suite du décès du président Idriss Déby Itno le 20 avril 2021.  
    Plus de 5 personnes ont été tuées et plusieurs autres blessées lors de manifestations similaires organisées le 27 avril. Menées par une coalition de groupes de la société civile et de membres de l'opposition politique, les manifestations condamnent la poursuite d'une dynastie tchadienne après que le fils du président Déby, le général Mahamat Idriss Déby, a succédé à son père et nommé un gouvernement militaire de transition.  
    "L'armée tchadienne a une fois de plus choisi d'ignorer une opportunité de mettre en place des réformes démocratiques, de réinitialiser la trajectoire politique du Tchad et de respecter les obligations constitutionnelles et internationales en matière de droits humains.  L'armée continue à privilégier la violence au dialogue et à fouler aux pieds les normes démocratiques", a déclaré David Kode Responsable du plaidoyer et des campagnes pour CIVICUS
    Avant les récentes élections tchadiennes d'avril 2021, les autorités ont imposé une interdiction des manifestations pacifiques afin de dissuader les membres de la société civile et de l'opposition politique de protester contre la décision du président Idriss Déby Itno de se présenter pour un sixième mandat.  En février 2021, plus de 100 personnes ont été arrêtées pour avoir manifesté et plusieurs ont ensuite été inculpées de trouble à l'ordre public. Le président Idriss Déby a été tué en combattant les rebelles en avril. Depuis lors, la société civile et l'opposition politique protestent contre le Conseil militaire de transition et appellent à un retour à un régime civil.  
    Pour plus d'informations sur les violations de l'espace civique, visitez la page du Tchad sur leCIVICUS Monitor.


  • Tchad: respectez le droit de manifester et libérez les militants en détention

    Le recours à la violence pour disperser les récentes manifestations au Tchad ainsi que les arrestations et détentions de membres de la société civile et de l’opposition politique montrent que la junte militaire cherche continuellement à entraver les libertés civiles et à faire taire toute critique à l’encontre de ses agissements.


  • United Nations adopts resolution on human rights on the internet

    CIVCUS welcomes the adoption by the Human Rights Council of a new resolution on human rights on the internet, particularly the resolution’s focus on internet shutdowns.

    The shutdown of internet access or access to social media has become a widespread tactic used by the authorities to quell protests or forms of online dissent. In the last year, the CIVICUS Monitor documented such tactics used in BangladeshChad, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar and Palestine, among other countries. The shutdowns significantly disrupt people’s ability to seek, receive or impart information online; in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has prevented people from obtaining essential information and services during the crisis. Such restrictions on access to the internet cannot be justified on public order or national security grounds.

    The adopted resolution strongly condemns the use of internet shutdowns to intentionally and arbitrarily prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online. It further mandates the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to study the trend in internet shutdowns and present findings to the Council next year.

    Over the last year, as participation has moved online, new tactics of online restriction have subsequently developed. We welcome that the resolution calls upon all States to refrain from and to cease online censorship. Given the increasing use by repressive governments of online attacks against human rights defenders and activists, and online surveillance, we call on States to ensure that measures offline or online for the protection of national security, public order and public health are in full compliance with international law obligations and respect the principles of lawfulness, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality.

    Given that the digital divide has proven one of the biggest challenges facing civil society participation over the past year, it is particularly relevant that the resolution calls upon all States to accelerate efforts to bridge digital divides while applying a human rights-based approach.