The following information reports U.S. government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Chad to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Chad's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part I: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
A key U.S. priority for promoting democracy in the country is to encourage a credible electoral process and political transition in accordance with procedures set forth in the country's 1996 constitution and subsequent electoral laws, as well as with the agreement signed in August 2007 by the Government of Chad, the ruling party coalition, and most opposition parties. The European Union brokered the August 2007 agreement, with support from the United States and other international electoral financing partners; the agreement provides a roadmap for electoral reform. An elections timetable calls for legislative elections in November 2010, followed by municipal and presidential elections by April 2011.
The United States continues to place emphasis on addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad and on reinforcing efforts that contribute to its resolution. In addition, strengthening civil society, good governance, and the media, especially radio broadcasting, will remain a major focus. Protection of women and children, and professionalization of security forces, figure prominently in meeting U.S. good governance objectives.
Part II: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The United States continues to work with bilateral and multilateral partners to support the country's democratic processes and press the country's leadership, using all available diplomatic tools and assistance resources, to proceed along the path toward elections. U.S. officials meet regularly with political opposition members and with high-level officials in an effort to maintain and advance political dialogue. U.S. officials also participate in electoral coordination meetings with the international community and as an observer to the electoral reform committee created to ensure that the August 2007 Accord is implemented. Efforts to strengthen civil society and the media, as well as to promote good governance, will be funded through U.S. assistance programs. A multiyear regional project places considerable emphasis on improving community governance and widening access to information in less-governed areas of the country. Other U.S. programs are helping women and youth gain access to community radio stations and relevant radio programming. In order to facilitate the implementation of recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry to examine disappeared persons and other abuses that occurred from January 28 to February 8, 2008, the United States has urged the government to move forward with its justice commission to investigate the disappearances.
The United States is the major donor for humanitarian relief efforts in the region. This includes programs for refugee protection, psychosocial services, and other vital assistance addressing the needs of vulnerable populations in the east, while also contributing to regional security efforts. The United States has supported the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), whose mandate includes helping to protect vulnerable civilians, improving governance and capacity building for the judicial system and facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance. MINURCAT's mandate will end on May 26 but the U.S. expects portions of the mandate will be extended. U.S. diplomatic efforts in support of a reduction of tensions between Chad and Sudan and improving security in the border region include promoting the implementation of peace accords, the most recent of which was signed by Chad and Sudan in January 2010 committing both sides to cease assistance to rebel proxies.
The professionalization of security forces is a key component of the U.S. strategy for improving the country's human rights record. The country's security force personnel participate in U.S. sponsored trainings. During high-level consultations the U.S. also brings to the attention of the government the need to take concrete measures to discontinue the recruitment and use of child soldiers and combat trafficking in persons, including urging the passage of relevant legislation, identifying and prosecuting violators, and providing assistance to victims. These diplomatic efforts will be accompanied in 2010 with bilateral projects to support antitrafficking efforts and to provide women with the legal tools to protect their rights. Bilateral and multilateral efforts to address the issue of child soldiers will continue.