The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement on Friday, said it is deeply disturbed by the apparently disproportionate use of force, including the use of live ammunition, by defence and security forces on protesters in Chad this week.
On Tuesday (Apr 27), six people were reportedly killed and several wounded in the capital N’Djamena and in the second largest Chadian city of Moundou during protests after the death of former President Idriss Déby on April 19.
Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for OHCHR, told the regular press briefing in Geneva that more than 700 people have also been arrested in relation to the demonstrations and it is unclear how many remain in detention.
With further protests and general strikes due to take place in the coming days, Ms. Hurtado said that Chad remains “bound by its obligations” under international human rights law to “protect and respect human rights”, including the right to life, and to “facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly”.
She told journalists that a blanket ban on demonstrations may “undermine the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly”.
Reminding that the Transitional Military Council itself declared on 20 April that it would abide by Chad’s international treaty obligations, she urged the authorities to do so.
Defence and security forces must receive clear instructions to refrain from the use of force against peaceful protesters, said the UN official, adding that the handling of violent incidents must be aligned with the rule of law and relevant international human rights laws and standards.
Firearms should only be used against individuals representing “an imminent threat to life or of serious injury, and only as a matter of last resort”, Ms. Hurtado said, adding that all those detained for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly must also be “promptly released”.
“We also call on all relevant State institutions to conduct impartial, prompt, effective and transparent investigations into any human rights violations that may have occurred – including the apparent use of unnecessary or disproportionate force to disperse protests,” she said.
As this is a delicate period for the country, the OHCHR official stressed the crucial importance of putting human rights at the centre of all efforts.
“Ensure an inclusive, participatory process in charting the way forward towards a return to civilian rule and constitutional order,” Ms. Hurtado said. (Source: UN News)