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Chad: Experts Alarmed By Lethal Use Of Force Against Protesters And Call For De-escalation

GENEVA (26 October 2022) - UN and African Union independent experts* today condemned the lethal repression of peaceful protests over Chad’s extended political transition period and called for de-escalation of tensions.

On 20 October, hundreds of people gathered in the capital N'Djamena and in several other cities across the country to express their support for a transition to democracy. Security forces reportedly violently dispersed the protesters, using tear gas and firing live ammunition. Some 50 people were killed and nearly 300 injured.

"We strongly condemn the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials, and further deplore reports of violence by protesters following this lethal crackdown," the experts said, adding they were deeply concerned that hundreds of protesters have reportedly been arbitrarily arrested for exercising their right to peaceful assembly.

"We urge authorities to promptly release these individuals whose only crime was to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. We call on all parties to exercise restraint,” they said.

"We remind the Chadian authorities that under international human rights law they have an obligation to guarantee and protect the exercise of the rights to peaceful assembly and association, as well as to freedom of opinion and expression."

Security forces must refrain from using excessive force against peaceful protesters and ensure that force is used only when strictly necessary and, where appropriate, in full compliance with the principles of legality and proportionality. “Any use of excessive force will subject the perpetrator to prosecution in accordance with international standards,” they said

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"The Chadian authorities have an obligation to conduct impartial, prompt, and effective investigations into any human rights violations that may have occurred during the dispersal of the demonstrations, and to provide an effective remedy to the victims."

The experts have previously raised their concerns with the government over the unlawful and excessive use of force by law enforcement against protesters. They continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to support the authorities in reversing or rectifying the situation.

The experts: Clément Nyaletossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Hon. Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals.

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