UN ‘deeply disturbed’ over recent violence in Chad

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YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The UN on Friday said it was deeply disturbed by the apparently disproportionate use of force by the defense and security forces during protests in Chad this week.

Speaking at a press briefing, Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said more than 700 people were arrested during the demonstrations. “At this point, it is unclear how many remain in detention.”

A coalition of civil society organizations and opposition parties had called for protests on Tuesday against the new Transitional Military Council (CMT). Protesters are calling for a return to civilian rule in the Central African country.

At least six people were killed and many others injured during protests in the capital N’Djamena and in the second-largest Chadian city of Moundou.

“As further protests and general strikes have been called to take place in the coming days, we stress that Chad remains bound by its obligations under international human rights law to protect and respect human rights, including the right to life, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” Hurtado said.

“Defense and security forces must receive clear instructions to refrain from the use of force against peaceful protesters and to ensure that any violent incidents are handled in line with the rule of law and relevant international human rights laws and standards.”

She called on all the relevant state institutions to conduct impartial, prompt, effective, and transparent investigations into any human rights violations.

On Tuesday, the head of Chad’s CMT called for an inclusive dialogue after violent protests left several dead.

In his first speech to the nation on Tuesday, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby promised an “inclusive national dialogue” during the 18-month transition to elections.

He came to power last week after his late father President Idriss Deby Itno, 68, died battling rebels on the frontline, just a day after his re-election for a sixth term.

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