INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Chad Humanitarian Update

Published: Tue 3 Nov 2009 12:36 PM
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PP RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA
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DE RUEHNJ #0510/01 3071236
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031236Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7398
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000510
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STATE ALSO FOR S/USSES
STATE ALSO FOR PRM/AFR
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PARIS FOR POL - BAIN AND KANEDA
ADDIS ABABA FOR AU
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF ASEC PREL PHUM SU CD
SUBJECT: CHAD HUMANITARIAN UPDATE
1. (U) The following is an update of N'Djamena and Accra RefCoords'
activities for the period of 26 - 30 OCT, 2009.
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REFCOORD AND RSO EASTERN CHAD
SECURITY FAMILIARIZATION VISIT
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2. (SBU) N'Djamena and Accra RefCoords and N'djamena RSO visited
Abeche, eastern Chad, from 27 to 29 OCT. The goal of this visit was
to review UN DSS and MINURCAT standard operating procedures for
movement and residential security, and current best practices for
travel to the humanitarian assistance areas of operation in eastern
Chad. Additional attention was given to IOM operations in
preparation for broad collaboration among the State and Homeland
Security Departments and IOM for the resettlement of refugees from
eastern Chad to the U.S. (see items 2 and below)
3. (SBU) Official USG travelers under Chief of Mission authority
have to date utilized the support and abided by the security
practices and requirements of partner UN agencies when traveling in
eastern Chad. RSO has assessed Post's current security rules for
travelers to Abeche and eastern Chad to be largely adequate, with
the best practice being for travelers to abide by the procedures of
MINURCAT or the traveler's partner UN Agency. Air travel continues
to be reliable and safe, and serves all significant field operations
centers. Ground travel is increasingly dangerous due to entrenched,
violent, politically protected criminality that targets the
international community in general and humanitarian workers in the
field in particular with near-total impunity. The relative threats
in Abeche of residential break-in (low) vs. that of carjacking
(high) may indicate a need to adjust lodging requirements.
4. (SBU) It appears that the trustworthy security forces in the
area, whether MINURCAT troops or the DIS, are deployed in
insufficient numbers, and are unsuited by mandate and design to the
task of providing either area security through presence, or
point-to-point escort of the hundreds of humanitarian workers and
supply convoys operating in a vast territory of great distances and
difficult terrain. While there remains hope that MINURCAT will
eventually achieve its full deployment force, and that the DIS will
eventually evolve into a functioning policing capability, neither of
these two events are likely to happen during dangerous dry season
that has just begun, and will last into June of 2010. RefCoord will
ensure that our vulnerable partners in the field are fully apprised
of this probability, and given every opportunity to take such
actions as they believe appropriate to ensure their safety, within
the internationally accepted principles guiding humanitarian and
military operations in a conflict zone.
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ASSESSMENT OF MINURCAT HOUSING
FOR DHS CIRCUIT RIDES AND
OTHER USG VISITORS
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5. Refcoords and RSO stayed at the MINURCAT compound during the
three-day, two-night mission to Abeche. Since the establishment of
an agreement between PRM and the DPKO and then between the
Ambassador and SRSG Victor Angelo, some 15 USG officials under Chief
of Mission authority have stayed at the MINURCAT compound for a
total of 42 visitor-nights since May 2009, with N'Djamena Refcoords
past and present staying 15 nights between them. None have raised
the concerns voiced by one of the two DHS officers who were the
first USG officials to stay on the base. All USG visitors since May
have been assigned to VIP trailers (four of only six containers
which already have plumbing installed); found the electricity, water
and air conditioning to be working; and found suitable food at the
canteen. RSO assesses the MINURCAT housing as the "gold standard"
for residential security; however, questions of overall security are
raised by the requirement for vehicle transit in Abeche, because of
the high risk of carjacking. RefCoords anticipate that, once
reviewed and updated, Post's travel security policy will have
greater nuance and flexibility regarding housing. We will continue
negotiations on all tracks to ensure that MINURCAT base housing
continues to be an option, likely on a fee-for-use basis, as well as
to pursue renewal of our former housing relationships with UNHCR,
and to develop a strategy for a future IOM compound that may/may
allow for housing of DHS circuit riders (see item 3).
NDJAMENA 00000510 002 OF 002
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ASSESSMENT OF IOM TRANSIT
CENTER COMPOUND PLANS
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6. Refcoords and RSO visited the IOM compound in Abeche to evaluate
future possibilities for a large transit center for the coming
increase in refugee populations requiring interviews and screening
for resettlement in the U.S. The existing transit center is
favorably located near airfield and the well-secured UNHCR compound
on a very large (by urban standards) tract of land. Although it is
too small to house the expected refugee populations to come, it is
easily large enough for construction of IOM offices, interview
rooms, and, if adequately designed, housing for both the OPE and DHS
circuit riders. IOM's Security Officer and the RSO noted key
security difficulties to be overcome to make the site suitable for
both daytime use and nighttime residence including: Inadequate
perimeter walls, gates and intruder deterrence; a single egress from
the compound onto a badly eroded road; and construction in
neighboring compounds too close to the perimeter walls. IOM
Security Officer believes that the single egress and neighboring
construction may be mitigated by renting one compound next door to
the current lot, and building new office and housing construction
close to perimeter walls to block access. Otherwise, all problems
with the site may be addressed through smart construction design and
sufficient funding. IOM staff have so far been unable to find an
alternative site in the Abeche urban area that would benefit from
being closely located to the airfield and UNHCR compound. Potential
new sites for a large transit center to house the refugee
populations have been identified on the outskirts of the city; IOM
will engage the local and national governments on access to these
sites in the coming week, during the visit of IOM Director for
International Operations Michel Tonneau, during which IOM's
diplomatic status will be confirmed in an MOU with the GoC.
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CALENDAR
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02 -- 06 NOV: Accra RefCoord engagement with IOM Director Michel
Tonneau
04 NOV: IASC N'Djamena meeting on security situation in eastern
Chad
NIGRO
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