Human Rights Council
9–27 September 2019
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination visited Chad from 16 to 23 April 2018. The Working Group assessed the impact of mercenarism and foreign fighters on human rights, particularly in the context of the armed conflicts that have affected Chad over the past years. The report is focused largely on the conflict in the Lake Chad region, where Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) has caused grave human rights violations, resulting in a complex and protracted humanitarian crisis that has displaced more than 2 million people, half of whom are children.
The Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination visited Chad from 16 to 23 April 2018 at the invitation of the Government. The delegation comprised two members of the Working Group, Patricia Arias and Saeed Mokbil. They were accompanied by staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/2 and Human Rights Council resolution 33/4, the Working Group is mandated to study and identify sources, causes, manifestations and trends with regard to mercenaries and mercenary-related activities, and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right to self-determination.
The Working Group is also mandated to monitor the activities of private military and security companies and their effects on human rights.
Since 2014, the Working Group has explored the linkages between the phenomena of foreign fighters and of mercenaries, and their impact on human rights. It has undertaken visits to several countries to assess these phenomena and has since issued reports in which foreign fighters were identified as mercenary-related actors, where the motivation to engage in armed conflict was for financial or material gain.
The delegation held meetings in N’Djamena and was able to visit refugees and returnees in the Gaoui camp. Meetings were also held with various government authorities, including the minister responsible for justice and human rights, the minister responsible for foreign affairs, the minister responsible for defence, the minister for the interior, the minister responsible for women, the family and national solidarity and the minister in charge of reforms. The Working Group also met with members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of United Nations offices, civil society organizations, lawyers and prosecutors, and victims of human rights violations. The delegation sincerely thanks all the interlocutors it met during the visit.
The Working Group reiterates its gratitude to the Government for the invitation to visit the country. It is also grateful to colleagues at the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Chad for their valuable support during the organization and conduct of the visit.