US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA281

ICRC OPERATIONS IN CHAD

Identifier: 05NDJAMENA281
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA281 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-02-23 10:05:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREL PREF PHUM KAWC CD SU Humanitarian Operations
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


ACTION PRM-00   

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      L-00     VCE-00   M-00     AC-00    NEA-00   NSAE-00  NSCE-00  
      OIC-00   OMB-00   NIMA-00  EPAU-00  PA-00    PM-00    GIWI-00  
      PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     CFPP-00  SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    
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      DSCC-00  DRL-00   G-00     SAS-00     /001W
                  ------------------BD19CB  231008Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1020
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
DARFUR COLLECTIVE
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USLO TRIPOLI 
UNCLAS  NDJAMENA 000281 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS, GENEVA FOR RMA, 
ADDIS/KAMPALA/NAIROBI FOR REFCOORDS, DEPT FOR PRM AND 
USAID/DCHA/FFP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PREF, PHUM, KAWC, CD, SU, Humanitarian Operations 
SUBJECT: ICRC OPERATIONS IN CHAD 
 
 1.  Summary.  In addition to ICRC's traditional activities 
in Chad (e.g. detention visits and international humanitarian 
law dissemination), ICRC is playing a key role in eastern 
Chad in assisting refugee populations and local communities. 
ICRC's work with refugees specifically focuses on family 
message exchanges and tracing services for unaccompanied 
minors.  ICRC is working closely with IFRC and the Chadian 
Red Cross, as well as with UNHCR.  ICRC noted the importance 
of its presence in eastern Chad to monitor both local 
tensions and potential spillover from the Darfur conflict. 
End Summary. 
 
2.  PRM/AFR Mary Lange and USAID/DCHA/FFP Suzanne Poland met 
with Thierry Ribaux, Head of Delegation for the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Chad, on February 16 to 
discuss ICRC operations in Chad and, more specifically, 
ICRC's activities for Sudanese refugees and affected 
communities in eastern Chad.  ICRC has been operating in Chad 
since 1977 and currently has an international staff of 
eleven, with three based in N'Djamena and nine in Abeche. 
ICRC has four main activities including (1) periodic visits 
to detention facilities in Chad, (2) dissemination of 
international humanitarian law in collaboration with the 
Chadian Red Cross and Chadian military, (3) support for an 
ICRC-established orthopaedic center now operated by Secadev, 
and (4) family tracing and messaging services. 
 
3.  In eastern Chad, ICRC's primary focus is on family 
tracing and message exchange between Sudanese refugee camps 
and villages and IDP centers in Darfur.  ICRC has established 
tracing centers in ten camps (all but AmNabak) and has two to 
three refugee staff in each center to process tracing 
requests and messages.  PRM/AFR Lange observed first hand the 
work of ICRC refugee staff in three camps.  Since the program 
became operational, ICRC has collected some 2,600 messages 
and has identified some 200 unaccompanied minors who may 
require tracing.  Ribaux noted some problems with message 
exchanges including lack of capacity in Darfur among the 
Sudanese Red Crescent to find message recipients and deliver 
messages as well as some reluctance on the part of refugees 
to initiate messages that may reveal there whereabouts to the 
Sudanese government or hostile forces. 
 
4.  Protection and tracing of unaccompanied minors (UAMs) is 
also difficult in this setting.  For the 200 identified UAMs, 
ICRC can initiate tracing of families in Darfur but is not 
supporting family reunification at this time given continued 
insecurity in Darfur.  Most UAMs remain with extended family 
members in the camps and appear to be receiving adequate 
care.  Ribaux admitted that ICRC did not currently have 
comprehensive information on the specific protection and 
assistance needs of this population.  UNHCR's Deputy Director 
for Protection, Marie-Christine Bocoum, noted on February 21 
that UNHCR and ICRC would be formalizing a memorandum of 
understanding on the protection of UAMs and necessary 
follow-up. 
 
5.  ICRC and UNHCR also want to look more closely at the 
situation of young boys who were given by their families into 
the care of religious leaders (marabouts).  This traditional 
separation of boys from their families exists in nearly all 
the camps and ICRC noted the need for additional information 
on the numbers of boys involved and the degree to which these 
boys have access to basic camp services, including primary 
education. 
 
6.  In addition to the above activities, ICRC is also 
involved in small projects around the Adre area to 
rehabilitate water systems for some 25,000 to 30,000 local 
Chadians.  Ribaux noted that ICRC's presence in eastern Chad 
and its small-scale assistance to Chadian populations was an 
important component of its efforts to monitor the border 
region and keep abreast of both local tensions and potential 
spill-over from the Darfur conflict,  ICRC maintains a 
stockpile of some 2,000 non-food items that it can use to 
respond in the event of more localized conflict.  UNHCR would 
clearly be the primary responder in the event of a larger 
refugee influx. 
 
7.  Ribaux also noted ICRC's close collaboration with the 
International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent societies 
(IFRC) as well as the Chadian Red Cross.  (The PRM/USAID 
meeting was, in fact, held at the IFRC compound in Treguine 
Camp where ICRC maintains a small satellite office.).  ICRC 
and IFRC noted that they held weekly coordination meetings in 
N'Djamena with the Chadian Red Cross and representative from 
donor Red Cross societies.  Both ICRC and IFRC are also 
 
closely coordinating their activities fo refugees with UNHCR 
(see septel on IFRC and Chaian Red Cross assistance programs 
in Treguine cam). 
 
8.  Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered 
WALL 
 
 
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