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Procedure : 2006/2542(RSP)
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Document selected : B6-0148/2006

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PV 15/03/2006 - 4.4

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Wednesday, 15 March 2006 - Strasbourg
Human rights in Chad

European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Chad

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement), and in particular Article 8 thereof on political dialogue,

–   having regard to the exchange of views at the meeting of its Committee on Development of 20 February 2006,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly emergency resolution on the situation in Sudan, adopted in Bamako (Mali) on 21 April 2005(1),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 16 September 2004 on the Darfur region in the Sudan(2) and of 12 May 2005 on the situation in Sudan(3),

–   having regard to the report of the European Parliament ad hoc delegation visit to Sudan and Chad from 2 to 7 September 2004,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2001 on the Presidential Elections in Chad(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 January 2000 on human rights violations in connection with the Chad/Cameroon oil and pipeline project(5),

–   having regard to the document entitled "Cooperation Strategy and Indicative Programme 2002-2007", ratified by the Government of the Republic of Chad and the Commission on 11 February 2002,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 June 1998 on the Chad-Cameroon project and human rights violations perpetrated during the period from October 1997 to March 1998(6),

–   having regard to United Nations Security Council resolution 1590 (2005) of 24 March 2005 on the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS),

–   having regard to the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 20 October 2005 to increase the number of soldiers in the African Union Observation Mission in Sudan (AMIS) from 300 men in 2004 to 6964 men at present,

–   having regard to the report of the Commission of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on the situation in Darfur, of 12 January 2006,

–   having regard to the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 12 January 2006 to extend the mandate of AMIS until 31 March 2006,

–   having regard to the agreement between Chad and Sudan signed on 8 February 2006 in Tripoli following tensions observed between the two countries,

–   having regard to all the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, in particular resolution 1593 (2005) of 31 March 2005 on the situation in Sudan, and the report of the international commission of inquiry on Darfur to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1564 (2004),

–   having regard to the action plan for Darfur concluded between the United Nations and the Sudanese Government on 5 August 2004,

–   having regard to the United Nations report on the situation in Sudan of 26 April 2005,

–   having regard to the Agreement signed in 1999 between Chad and the World Bank on the oil revenue management programme,

–   having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples" Rights,

–   having regard to Chad Law 001/PR/99 of 11 January 1999 on the management of oil revenues,

–   having regard to the report of its Committee on Development and Cooperation of 22 February 2001 on the plan to build a Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, accompanied by a report on the visit by the delegation to Chad and Cameroon from 23 to 30 March 2000,

–   having regard to Rule 91 and Rule 90(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas presidential elections are due to be held in Chad in May or June 2006,

B.   whereas the parliamentary elections scheduled for April-May 2006 have been postponed,

C.   having regard to the approval by the Chad National Assembly of the revision of the above-mentioned Law 001/PR/99 on the management of oil revenues,

D.   having regard to the commitment by the World Bank in Chad to combat poverty, lay the foundations for sustainable growth and provide an opportunity to improve development prospects,

E.   whereas the Chad Government wishes to extend use of the 10% of funds earmarked for future generations to territorial administration and security and whereas, as a result, the World Bank has suspended disbursement of appropriations equal to US $ 124 million allocated to Chad by the International Development Association (IDA) to finance eight ongoing projects amounting to a total of US $ 297 million,

F.   whereas the Chad Government has reacted to the World Bank's decision by signing agreements with China and Taiwan for the exploitation of its other oil fields,

G.   whereas Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and whereas only 27% of the population have access to drinking water,

H.   whereas Chad has a wealth of resources in agriculture, stock-breeding, fisheries and, above all, mining and oil resources, in which several countries and multinational companies have a keen interest,

I.   stressing that living conditions are extremely difficult owing to the combined effects of war, drought and famine and that the country's institutions and infrastructure have seriously deteriorated,

J.   whereas approximately 80% of the population of Chad are illiterate, suffering from all forms of food shortages owing to the climate and water-borne and epidemic diseases,

K.   having regard to the restrictions on freedom of expression, as illustrated by the Ministry of the Interior's closure on two occasions of Radio FM Liberté,

L.   concerned at the threats against human rights organisations in Chad,

M.   having regard to the expropriation of land from farmers without compensation in oil regions,

N.   alarmed at the various armed incursions at Chad's eastern border, where Sudan is accused of arming and financing rebels, and at the frequent violent clashes between Chad and Sudan,

O.   whereas the Sudanese Government, the Janjaweed militia and the rebel movements form the subject of an investigation opened on 6 June 2005 by the International Criminal Court for crimes committed in violation of international law in Darfur,

P.   alarmed at the conclusions of 11 December 2005 of Juan Mendez, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, according to whom the missions of the United Nations (UNMIS) and the African Union (AMIS) to Sudan have totally failed, given that human rights violations have not diminished but actually increased,

Q.   whereas the Darfur crisis constitutes a crucial test for the African Union's Peace and Security Council,

R.   whereas the members of the African Union have neither sufficient human, material and financial resources nor the necessary mandate to deal with this situation over such a vast area,

S.   whereas the financial needs of AMIS, which has been expanded for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, amount to US $ 252.4 million, i.e. 54% of the total budget, and whereas the amount received up to 31 October 2005 was only US $ 65.4 million, i.e. a quarter of the total requirement,

T.   whereas the funds received to date for the expanded AMIS have almost run out and financial constraints are such that the African Union has had to reduce the allowances paid to military observers,

U.   whereas an additional sum of US $ 4.6 million is required to cover other budget lines and support the AMIS mission until 31 March 2006,

V.   whereas on 3 February 2006 the United Nations Security Council called for plans to be drawn up for a United Nations force to replace that of the African Union in Darfur,

W.   whereas the move from an African Union force to a United Nations operation in Darfur is now inevitable, as is the deployment of a much larger force capable of preventing attacks against civilians and disarming the Janjaweed militia,

X.   concerned at the growing number of attacks against villages in Chad and camps and humanitarian workers in Western Darfur, which are making the region extremely dangerous for international humanitarian organisations, of which only a few are currently operating in the border area,

Y.   whereas the Darfur conflict, which is not over, has caused several thousands of deaths, around 1.65 million displaced persons and 200 000 refugees in Chad and whereas the total number of people affected by the conflict is around 2.5 million,

Z.   whereas most displaced persons in Chad have lost a large proportion of their crops following attacks and are living in makeshift shelters, and whereas serious food shortages are likely once food reserves run out,

AA.   having regard to the worsening human rights situation in the country, as illustrated by continuing acts of violence, restrictions and freedom of expression, extra-judicial killings by the security forces and the poverty and ill-treatment afflicting, in particular, women and children,

AB.   whereas, on 24 January 2005, the African Union decided to set up a group of legal experts to consider 'available options' for bringing to trial Mr Hissène Habré, the former Chad dictator who has been a refugee in Senegal since 1990,

1.  Expresses its deepest concern at the general situation in Chad, in particular as regards human rights;

2.  Recalls with concern that the civilian population, already suffering from drought and famine, derive no benefits from the above-mentioned Law 001/PR/99 and the billions of dollars arising from the sale of oil, and stresses that Chad's oil resources should primarily benefit the people of Chad;

3.  Condemns the fact that 10% of oil revenues have been withdrawn from the fund for future generations and subsequently allocated to the list of 'priority areas', which now include military spending;

4.  Calls on the Government of Chad to give a clear and transparent account of how oil revenues are being used;

5.  Calls on the Government of Chad to allocate the money from oil revenues to development, in particular to the supply of drinking water, health, education and the organisation of elections;

6.  Calls on the Government of Chad to establish the country's annual development plan and to make it public;

7.  Notes that the Government of Chad is prepared in principle to take account of the opinions of the international community, but stresses the need for a deeper dialogue and a more open approach;

8.  Welcomes the establishment of a Ministry for Human Rights in Chad, calls on those in charge of this ministry to cooperate with civil society and to implement the national action programme on human rights policy, and calls on the Commission closely to monitor this process;

9.  Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to bring pressure to bear on the Government of Chad with a view to it consolidating the rule of law and putting a stop to the climate of impunity and human rights violations, in particular against opponents of the bill for the revision of Law 001/PR/99;

10.  Calls on the Government of Chad to put a stop to the forced recruitment of young soldiers to the government army;

11.  Is concerned at the reprisals by the security forces and armed bands against the population and opposition activists; urges the security forces and the army to refrain from any ill-treatment of the civilian population and to put an end to the activities of armed bands;

12.  Calls on AMIS to introduce immediate changes to improve the protection of civilians and show that it is capable of protecting the civilians in Darfur;

13.  Calls on the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the United Nations and the African Union to bring all the necessary pressure to bear on the Government of Sudan to ensure that it ceases to jeopardise the effectiveness of AMIS operations;

14.  Urges the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the United Nations and the African Union to provide the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS), weakened by serious financial, logistical and other constraints, with far more substantial financial, material and military resources;

15.  Condemns the attacks carried out by the Janjaweed militia since mid-December 2005, which may in some cases operate with the support of the Sudanese Government, in particular with assistance from fighter helicopters, against forty of the eighty-five villages in the Chad region of Borota, south of Adré, all of which were subsequently abandoned by their inhabitants, who are now homeless;

16.  Welcomes the agreement signed by Chad and Sudan in Tripoli on 8 February 2006 and calls on both countries to honour all the undertakings they have made;

17.  Calls on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to keep stricter control over the trade in small arms and light weapons in the region;

18.  Stresses the seriousness of the problem of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in southern Sudan, and calls on the Council, the Commission, the Governments of Chad and Sudan, the United Nations and the other parties concerned to clear mined areas without delay, assist victims and raise people's awareness of the risks in order to clear roads and enable displaced persons and refugees to return to their homes;

19.  Urges the Government of Chad to respect democratic debate on the situation in the country and on the oil extraction project in the Doba region;

20.  Calls on the Government of Chad to set the official timetable for the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible, in accordance with its constitutional obligations, and to guarantee the impartiality of the independent national electoral commission;

21.  Is convinced that an electoral process cannot be conducted effectively and transparently in a situation where the most basic rights of expression are under threat;

22.  Calls for the European Union, provided the necessary conditions are met, to send an electoral observation mission to Chad, in order to monitor and promote the smooth conduct of the electoral process;

23.  Urges the Government of Chad, in the light of Transparency International's report of 18 October 2005, according to which Chad is one of the financially least transparent countries, to combat and put a stop to the phenomenon of corruption as soon as possible and to act transparently with regard to government expenditure;

24.  Encourages the government to hold information campaigns on the conduct of elections and promote the smooth conduct of the election campaign in a peaceful and democratic manner;

25.  Urges major and urgent economic and social progress to be encouraged, in particular in education and training, health and social security;

26.  Expresses the wish that this progress will be accompanied by progress in the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, in particular freedom of expression, freedom of association and media independence;

27.  Calls on the Government of Chad to create favourable conditions for achieving the Millennium Development Goals set and adopted by the United Nations;

28.  Calls on the Government of Chad to put an end to acts of submission and segregation of women and the exploitation of child labour, in particular the forced recruitment of young soldiers;

29.  Considers that respect for human rights and political pluralism are essential conditions for the population to be able to defend their legitimate interests and to take part in the decision-making process, and in the final analysis for combating poverty;

30.  Calls on the Council, the Commission and the international community to continue their humanitarian and development aid for the Sudanese refugee population and the Chad host population, and to continue associating civil society in Sudan and Chad as peace partners;

31.  Asks all oil companies to comply fully with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and international voluntary security principles; calls on the Commission to monitor this in relation to its policies on corporate social responsibility;

32.  Calls for Mr Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad, who has been a refugee in Senegal since 1990, to be finally brought to trial in Africa, or otherwise extradited and tried in Belgium with a view to a fair and equitable trial, in accordance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

33.  Calls on the African Union to honour its obligations in relation to the trial of Mr Hissène Habré, in order to avoid criticisms from the international community;

34.  Calls on the Commission to hold a structured dialogue within the meaning of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement and to inform the Committee on Development of the progress and outcome of this dialogue;

35.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the Presidents, Governments and Parliaments of Chad and Sudan, the World Bank and the non-governmental organisation 'Chad Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights' (ATPDH).

(1) OJ C 272, 3.11.2005, p. 43.
(2) OJ C 140 E, 9.6.2005, p. 153.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0178.
(4) OJ C 53 E, 28.2.2002, p. 404.
(5) OJ C 304, 24.10.2000, p. 211.
(6) OJ C 210, 6.7.1998, p.210.

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