International Human Rights Day Widely Celebrated in Eastern Chad
The world observes Human Rights Day every year on 10 December. The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) marked the day this year by organizing a series of activities in eastern Chad, particularly in the towns of Abeche, Iriba, Farchana, Goz-Beida and Guereda, with the participation of local authorities, civil society organizations, humanitarian agencies, staff from the UN system and a cross section of the population.
In Abeche, the activities consisted of a formal ceremony during which the messages of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary General of the United Nations were read respectively by the DSRSG and the Acting Head of the Human Rights Section. A statement was also made by UNHCR Representative stressing the need for refugees and IDPs, who may easily be target of discrimination, to be protected. Speaking on the occasion, the Governor of the Ouaddai recalled that equality and non-discrimination are the foundation of the Chadian constitution, and his office stands ready to work closely with all partners to defeat discrimination in all its forms. He further asked all the organizations operating in the region and all residents, to re-assess their programs and personal attitudes, with a view to ascertain the extent to which they are discrimination free.
In Farchana, the celebrations were organized at the Sous-Prefecture, and presented an opportunity for MINURCAT and its partners, including local authorities, to stress their commitment to fight all forms of discrimination. The local authorities commended the initiative taken to organize the celebrations and pledged his support to any efforts aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in his area.
In Iriba, the ceremony started with a parade by students of the Iriba Secondary School, followed by a formal ceremony during which the messages were read including those of the UN HCHR and the Secretary-General. The ceremony was marked by the formal presentation of the Human Rights Club of the Iriba Secondary School and sketches by its members. The Prefet of Kobe, who presided over the event, highlighted the government's commitment in ensuring that human rights within his area of responsibility are respected by all.
In Guereda, the regional Human Rights Section celebrated the event by distributing relevant promotional materials to partners, and in Goz-Beida a quiz on the theme of this year ("Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination") was organized followed by prize distribution; human rights materials were also given out in schools, camps and IDP sites.