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|2021 planning figures|
|924,000||people of concern will be assisted with a combination of personal protective equipment, mental health support, and targeted interventions in education, protection, livelihoods and community mobilization focused on risk communication|
|12,000||people of concern will receive antiretroviral therapy treatment for HIV and AIDS|
|8,000||UNHCR and partner personnel, as well as people of concern including refugee leaders, will receive training on preventing fraud and corruption|
|3,000||refugee children will be enrolled into primary school, with UNHCR monitoring to ensure retention|
|2,000||people of concern will receive durable shelters in refugee and IDP camps or sites|
|2019 year-end results|
|41,200||birth certificates were provided to refugee and host community children, exceeding the projection of 40,000|
|1,600||people were submitted to resettlement countries for consideration|
|1,600||incidents of sexual and gender-based violence were recorded, with all victims able to access available services in camps or refugee settlements|
|2020 planning figures|
|100%||of people of concern will be individually registered|
|92,580||registered refugee children will be enrolled in primary education|
|40,000||refugee children will be issued with birth certificates|
|683||reported SGBV incidents for which survivors received medical assistance|
|14||health facilities will be equipped, constructed or rehabilitated|
People of Concern
Operational contextIn 2020, there was a major breakthrough in terms of the legal international protection environment in Chad. On 31 December 2020, the national asylum law (N◦ 028/PR/2020) was adopted, restating the solid engagement the country and its authorities in regard to ensuring refugees and asylum-seekers can fully enjoy their rights. It is worth noting that while Chad has acceded to the main refugee and asylum conventions and greatly assumed responsibilities to domesticate most of these principles, there are still considerable measures to be put in place to ensure the complete realization of those rights by refugees and asylum-seekers.
The protection context remained complex and worsened with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. There was limited self-reliance and community resilience in refugee hosting areas, as well as a recurrence of emergencies in the southern and eastern regions affected by inter-communal conflicts in Sudan and political tensions in the Central African Republic. Thus there was an increase of protection risks compared to 2019, with a raise of exploitation and abuse cases, including domestic and gender-based violence, a lack of economic and financial opportunities for refugee households, a significant reduction in resettlement quotas and the suspension of the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese and Central African refugees, despite the signing of Tripartite Agreements.
The introduction of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 significantly limited access to channels of communication and consultation with affected people, especially people in areas that are difficult to access. To facilitate communication, focal points in the field were given mobile phones to provide up to date reports on raised vulnerability related to women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. However, the reorientation of health resources for COVID-19 prevention and response measures also led to a decrease in the availability of medical services for people with needs unrelated to the pandemic.
Furthermore, the scarce number of local development initiatives, the gradual reduction in resources for humanitarian aid, low income and poor living conditions all fuelled vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence. In terms of the legal environment, de facto traditional and customary laws prevail over formal legal systems, with alarming repercussions when cultural norms undermine women and children's rights and result in the abuse of children and women, child labour, forced and early marriage and attempts to recruit children into rebel groups. Further, refugees continue facing multiple challenges in terms of poor agricultural practices, limited access to land, weak technical support, climate change and poor water management.
To respond to the needs observed in the country, UNHCR Chad has developed its multi-year multi-partner strategy in close collaboration with the Government. This strategy aims to ensure that protection and the search for durable solutions are adapted to the situation of the population covered by UNHCR’s mandate and the wider host population. As a result, UNHCR will maintain its partnerships with the Government, the World Bank, the European Union, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the FAO, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, NGOs, civil society, businesses and research institutions.
The limited resources in community resilience and levels of self-reliance in refugee-hosting communities and villages exacerbates the vulnerabilities of refugees, especially increasing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The interests of refugees in Chad have also been taken into account in projects to strengthen peaceful coexistence within the country.
Despite deep economic crises in Chad since 2015, the Government remained committed to improving and easing the protection environment and to including refugees in local, national and provincial development plans.
Population trendsAs of December 2020, the total population of concern to UNHCR in Chad stood at 919,121, of whom 52% were refugees, 1% asylum-seekers, 36% IDPs and 11% other persons of concern to UNHCR.
The refugee population reached 478,664, comprising 364,535 Sudanese (76%), 96,883 Central Africans (20%), 16,126 Nigerians (3%) and 1,120 (0.2%) other nationalities. Most refugees in Chad lived in camps (93%), with some 6% living in villages and reception sites and 1% in the urban area of Ndjamena.
While the refugee population increased by 8% between 2019 and 2020, there was a 99% increase in IDPs, from 169,003 to 336,124 people. This massive increase is due to displacements triggered in the Lac province, which was severely affected by insecurity, attacks, incursions and infiltrations by non-state armed groups (NSAG) against the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) and the local population.
- On 31 December 2020, Chadian authorities approved the new asylum law that provides the required legal framework to reinforce the international protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers in the country.
- The 2030 Education Strategy was validated, encompassing the full inclusion of refugees in the national education system, after two years of persistent advocacy efforts with the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion.
- In 2020, there was a new influx of over 16,000 Sudanese refugees following an incident in Sudan at the end of December 2019. The establishment of mobile clinics at the border and the creation of a health centre at the new Kouchaguine-Moura camp made it possible to carry out 18,046 consultations (84% to refugees and 16% to nationals). All refugees received free and quality primary health care, despite the pressures exerted by COVID-19 on Chad's health system.
- Support to the IDP response in the Lac region through the construction of 68 new water points, 275 community latrines and hygiene promotion. Construction of 76 new water points to improve the amount of water available to people of concern, which stood at 24 litres/person/day.
- Issuance of 43,625 birth certificates in 2020, 125% of the initial target of 35,000 certificates. 29,077 were delivered to refugees and 14,548 to host community members.
- Women remain underrepresented in various community management structures, likely leading to very limited participation in the community strategic decision-making process due to some practices that are gender-biased and discriminatory.
- Shelter needs for persons with special needs were largely not met, with a small number of beneficiaries receiving adequate assistance.
- Support provided to fight chronic and common diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and non-communicable diseases (diabetes or hypertension) were limited, following prioritization of measures to fight COVID-19. Also, a considerable reduction of consultations was observed as people feared contamination when visiting health services.
- Overstretched capacity to replenish contingency stocks due to recurrent emergencies in the South, in the East and in the Lake regions since 2017.
- Limited access of refugees to agricultural fields (Villages d’opportunité) and a general decrease in incomes due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Only 61% of the pre-pandemic March 2020 enrolments, out of a total 60,838 refugees, completed the 2019/2020 school programme. The whole educational system was disrupted by the COVID-related closure of schools and vocational training centres.
Working environmentConflict and insecurity in the region affect Chad’s operational environment, including the continuing insurgency in the Lake Chad area and instability in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR), Libya and Sudan. This unstable regional context is exacerbated by internal development challenges, chronic poverty, the impact of climate change and a tense socio-economic situation. In September 2019, Chad declared a state of emergency for three months in three provinces to the north and east of the country following inter-community clashes. The two eastern provinces are home to some 200,000 Sudanese refugees. Legislative elections, initially due in 2015, are due to take place in 2019.
Despite this challenging context and limited resources, the Government of Chad continues to have a positive and welcoming attitude towards refugees. For more than a decade, it has hosted around 340,000 Sudanese refugees in the east, 100,000 Central African refugees in the south and opened doors to more than 15,000 Nigerian refugees from Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Chad is characterized by a complex operational environment with protracted internal displacement due to the instability around the Lake Chad region since 2014, aggravated by regular refugee influx due to emergencies in neighboring countries. Over 22,000 refugees arrived from CAR in 2018 and over 4,500 from Nigeria in 2019 as of October 2019. To better address the refugees’ needs, Chad is one of the pilot countries for the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In line with this approach, Chad integrated all refugee schools into the national education system, and the same process is now underway for the health sector. Building on this, the country is in the process of drafting and adopting a new national asylum law which will increase refugees’ freedom of movement and access to employment and land, which are key elements for refugees’ socio-economic inclusion.
UNHCR supports authorities as they coordinate the refugee response in Chad, with all actors involved. In accordance with the CRRF launched by Chad in 2018, UNHCR has developed strong links with development actors, such as the World Bank and the European Union, to support inclusive development in refugee hosting areas.
As for the IDP response, as part of the cluster system in place in the Lake Chad province, UNHCR is leading the Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Shelter and Non-food items clusters.
Key prioritiesIn 2020, UNHCR will focus on:
- Upholding the rights of people of concern by advocating the adoption of a national asylum law as well as a text adapting the Kampala Convention on internal displacement into the Chadian legal environment.
- Supporting Chad’s efforts for a CRRF by creating synergies between development-oriented programmes, for instance by the World Bank, and humanitarian-development programmes, such as by the European Union, as well as through support for the integration of health refugee facilities into the Chadian system.
- Offering durable solutions to refugees. This may be through voluntary return, when conditions allow for safe and dignified return and resettlement, or by ensuring the gradual social and economic inclusion of refugees within the local community.
- Responding to and preventing statelessness, notably by helping 40,000 children receive a birth certificate.
- Stepping up our response for IDPs in the Lake Chad province, with a focus on the clusters led by UNHCR.