Oxfam warns Europe not to repeat mistakes of Darfur in Chad

“Europe needs to call for a ceasefire in Chad to protect beleaguered civilians and increase diplomatic efforts to secure peace”
Nick Roseveare
Published: 18 February 2008

Urgent action required in Chad as increased insecurity threatens thousands of lives.

Oxfam today called on EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels not to repeat the mistakes of Darfur in Chad, and to vigorously pursue all diplomatic channels to help secure a lasting ceasefire and a durable peace. Europe must go beyond responding to the urgent protection needs of civilians and start working for a negotiated settlement of the crisis in Chad.

Oxfam's Regional Director Nick Roseveare, said: "We have all the elements for a huge humanitarian crisis rapidly developing in Chad, with the lives of half a million people hanging in the balance. Europe must act rapidly before things get worse. Politicians around the world have wrung their hands as the population in Darfur continues to suffer. They have promised, but not delivered. They should not make the same mistake on Chad. Europe needs to call for a ceasefire in Chad to protect beleaguered civilians and increase diplomatic efforts to secure peace – not forgetting the need to push for a negotiated end to the violence in Darfur."

As a result of the fighting, most aid agencies are operating with minimum essential staff and supply routes have been closed with fuel running low. Oxfam has just two weeks of fuel left to run its water pumps. With supply lines down, aid agencies will not be able to help the new influx of refugees, and are already struggling to assist the long-term displaced.

"It is obvious that there are huge, immediate protection needs in eastern Chad, but we must not forget that a lasting ceasefire and a negotiated comprehensive and inclusive peace process including all stakeholders is needed to resolve the crisis in Chad. Although the EU is providing generous support to the electoral process in Chad, this alone will not resolve the conflict. Europe must commit to increasing its diplomatic efforts on Chad at today's Brussels meeting," said Roseveare.

"They should also remember that greater efforts on Chad do not make the need for an end to the violence in Darfur, where people also continue to live in fear, any less urgent," added Roseveare.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

UK: Rebecca Wynn, tel: + 44 (0) 1865 472530/ + 44 (0) 7769 887139, rwynn@oxfam.org.uk

Ismaila Dieng, tel: 221 33 639 41 78, idieng@oxfam.org.uk

Brussels: Alexander Woollcombe, tel: +32 (0) 486 842 407,alexander.woollcombe@oxfaminternational.org

Spain: Irina Fuhrmann, tel: + 34 91204 67 20 or + 34 615 359 401, ifuhrmann@intermonoxfam.org

France: Aldine Furio, tél: +33 1 56 98 24 45, afurio@oxfamfrance.org,