The rise of banditry, against a background of total impunity, is cited by humanitarian actors as the current main direct threat to humanitarian action. The key impacts are a reduction in access to affected populations by humanitarian agencies, and the disruption of service provision where access is still possible. Since the beginning of the year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there have been 120 incidents against humanitarian agencies.
The World Food Programme (WFP) ration to 240,000 refugees was cut by 20 per cent. earlier in the year, partly as a result of increasing insecurity. After a serious security incident in May, Save the Children (UK) was compelled to pull out from the central axes (Abeche-Adre). While this resulted in the disruption of health service provision to 30,000 refugees in Breidjing camp, other agencies have since stepped in to fill the gap.
Service provision to internally displaced people (IDPs) has also been affected by insecurity. Most recently, attacks on relief workers in the Abeche area have resulted in three NGOs reducing staff presence or temporarily suspending programmes. This has compromised health, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions targeting 40,000 IDPs.
According to the UN, the last year has seen an increase in the level of criminality in eastern Chad compared to 2007. There has also been a shift in the target of the criminality. Increasingly, it is the humanitarian workers that are the focus of violent crime and banditry, including attacks on compounds and carjackings.
The UK Government have not made any direct representations to the Government of Chad over this issue. However, the UK Government supported UNSCR 1778 which established MINURCAT, the UN police training and advisory mission, and authorised the deployment of an EU force (EUFOR), the humanitarian protection force in Chad and Central African Republic (CAR). The objective of this interlinked UN and EU mission is to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. MINURCAT is specifically mandated to maintain law and order in refugee camps and internally displaced persons sites through the training of Chadian gendarmes, and to contribute to tackling the prevailing impunity by promotion of human rights and rule of law.