Chad’s geographic location–as Libya’s southern neighbour and located at a crossroads between east and west Africa–has resulted in a “a complex humanitarian crisis,” according to IOM, and one which is further impacted by the country’s severe economic problems. As of mid-2020, there were an estimated 133,000 internally displaced persons and 475,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Compounding pressures on the country, according to UNHCR, as of July 2020, 108,809 Chadiens had been returned to the country. Despite these challenges, Chad has had a reputation as traditionally having “a positive and welcoming attitude towards refugees.” It has also been a supporter of the Global Compact for Migration.
To date, the GDP has been unable to establish the extent to which detention measures are used in Chad as part of immigration enforcement policies. Likewise, the GDP has found no details about whether any Covid-19-related measures have been taken in the country to safeguard people who are in custody for immigraiton reasons, including as part of deportation proceedings. UNHCR reported in July 2020 that no one of concern to their mandate, including refugees and returned Chadiens, had reported an infection. However, 47 persons of concerns had been placed in quarantine.
On 24 March, visits to prisons were suspended and all public hearings of courts of justice were postponed. Between March and April, three collective escapes took place at the prisons of Amsinéné and Bongor following the suspension of visits. The Ministry of Justice announced on 9 April the release of more than 3,200 prisoners, as an “exceptional measure taken to respect the preventive measures instituted by the highest authorities of the country against the coronavirus pandemic.” This measure concerned vulnerable prisoners such as the elderly, minors, sick individuals, and pregnant women.
- UNHCR, “Global Focus: Chad,” 27 November 2019, https://reporting.unhcr.org/node/2533?y=2020#year
- UNHCR, Covid-19 Sitrep, 15 July 2020, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/details/77739
- Prison Insider, “Chad,” 24 March, https://www.prison-insider.com/en/articles/afrique-coronavirus-la-fievre-des-prisons#tchad
- D. Wiche Wahili, “Tchad : plus de 3200 détenus vont bénéficier de la libération définitive,“ alwihda info, 9 April 2020, https://www.alwihdainfo.com/Tchad-plus-de-3200-detenus-vont-beneficier-de-la-liberation-definitive_a85545.html
- B. Baloch, “Clashes in Sudan’s West Darfur force 2,500 to seek safety in Chad,” UNHCR, 11 August 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2020/8/5f3248204/clashes-sudans-west-darfur-force-2500-seek-safety-chad.html