On October 20, hundreds of people gathered in the capital N’Djamena and several other cities across the country to express their support for a transition to democracy. Security forces reportedly violently dispersed the protesters using tear gas and live ammunition. About 50 people were killed and nearly 300 injured.
“We strongly condemn the use of lethal force by law enforcement agencies and deplore further reports of violence by protesters following this deadly crackdown,” the experts said, adding that they were deeply concerned that hundreds of protesters were allegedly arbitrarily arrested to exercise their right to peaceful assembly.
“We call on the authorities to quickly release these people whose only crime was exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. We call on all parties to exercise restraint,” they said.
“We remind the Chadian authorities that under international human rights law they have an obligation to guarantee and protect the exercise of the rights of peaceful assembly and association, as well as freedom of opinion and expression.”
Security forces must refrain from using excessive force against peaceful protesters and ensure that force is used only when strictly necessary and, where appropriate, in full compliance with the principles of legality and proportionality. “Any use of excessive force will be prosecuted against its author in accordance with international standards,” they added.
“The Chadian authorities have an obligation to carry out impartial, prompt and effective investigations into any human rights violations that may have been committed during the dispersal of the demonstrations and to offer an effective remedy to the victims.”
Experts have previously raised concerns with the government about the illegal and excessive use of force by law enforcement against protesters. They continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to assist the authorities in reversing or rectifying the situation.