A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Between 2005 and 2007, a combination of regional conflict and national crisis led to the internal displacement of about 180,000 people in eastern Chad. However, the situation has since changed.
By March 2012, when this report was produced, incursions by the Janjaweed militia and conflict between government forces and Chadian rebels had largely ended. The Chadian government is now seeking to put an end to the distinction between displaced persons and host communities. Internally displaced persons currently have the choice between three solutions: local integration, relocation or voluntary return to their home village. The goal of this joint report is to reflect on the decisive actions that could provide durable solutions for displacement, taking into account the rights and needs of affected communities.
Even if the causes of the initial displacement have now been contained, creating the right set of circumstances for long-term sustainable development still remains a challenge. The Chadian government has publicly recognized that it is responsible for setting up an appropriate framework for durable solutions, ensuring security, rule of law, respect for human rights and access to basic services; however, very little has yet been done by the government to make this a reality.
This report includes detailed recommendations for the Chadian government, UN agencies, donors, and the humanitarian and development community in order to tackle these challenges, including:
- Greater involvement by the Chadian government in developing the region and promoting durable solutions to displacement. The state could be a driving force for this by providing for greater presence of state representatives, increased financing for the Global Recovery Program for eastern Chad and regular reporting on its contributions, and more active guidance for the process on the basis of its priorities.
- Improving security in eastern Chad will be key to enabling humanitarian and development aid workers to meet the needs of the population. Only the state can restore authority and the rule of law by deploying security forces and strengthening the justice system, ensuring that Chad’s existing security mechanisms have the means to function effectively.
- Recurring tensions and inter-community disputes must be resolved through consultation with communities, and support to inter-communal dialogues and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as application of legislation on pastoral migration routes.
- Interventions must be better coordinated, with information available for the different areas of the region summarized and mapped (presence of State services, NGOs and movements of the populations) to enable a better common understanding of the context.