In a Joint Local Declaration issued on April 25th, the European Union, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of France, the Embassy of the United States of America and the Representative Office of Switzerland expressed concern over the recent arrests of civil society activists in Chad.
“We are concerned by the detention of several civil society activists, by the lack of information concerning the charges against them, as well as the conditions of their detention, and wish to reiterate our support for the respect for fundamental liberties, among them the freedom of expression and right to demonstrate, essential elements of democracy,” the signatories declared. “Members of civil society should play a central role in reinforcing democracy and the rule of law.”
The declaration also responded to reports that, on the night of April 11, a convoy of two vehicles containing between 86 and 100 prisoners was attacked by heavily armed gunmen, resulting in the death of nine prisoners; among the dead were eight individuals implicated in the death of President Idriss Deby’s nephew in January.
The signatories noted that the “attack against the prisoner convoy and the assassination of prisoners during their transfer are also a source for concern. Believing in the right to a fair trial, which permits the prevention of impunity and protection against abuses, we hope that these acts are clarified so that those responsible can be brought to justice.” The Prosecutor-General and members of civil society have also condemned the attack.
The United States and the other signatories to the Local Declaration “encourage Chad to ensure respect of the rights enshrined in its Constitution and by the international agreements to which it is signatory, which contribute to peace and stability.”