Chad aid workers fear children's case will hurt image


JF-Expert Member
Jan 11, 2007
Hii kama ni kweli basi ni mbaya sana, kusudio lao lilikuwa nini 'kuwatorosha' watoto hawa?

Chad aid workers fear children's case will hurt image
Mon 29 Oct 2007, 16:33 GMT

By Stephanie Hancock

ABECHE, Chad, Oct 29 (Reuters) -
The scandal over a French group suspected of trying to smuggle African children to Europe from Chad may harm the image of foreign aid workers seeking to help refugees fleeing violence, U.N. officials said on Monday.

Chadian police last week arrested 17 Europeans, including nine French and seven Spaniards, whom President Idriss Deby has accused of trying to illegally fly 103 children aged 3 to 10 and believed to be from Sudan and Chad, out of the country.

Those arrested included members of French charity "Zoe's Ark", which promoted their operation as offering a better life to orphans from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, many of whose people have fled over the border to camps in Chad.

The group's lawyer said on Monday they were trying to help the children, not abduct them, and that they acted legally.

But Chad's president called the operation "pure and simple abduction" and demanded tough penalties for those responsible. He suggested the children could have ended up being sold to a paedophile ring or used to supply human organs.

These people ... treat us like animals. So this is the image of the saviour Europe, which gives lessons to our countries. This is the image of Europe which helps Africans, Chad's official presidency Web site quoted Deby as saying.

U.N. aid officials fear this negative perception will dent the reputation of other foreign humanitarian organisations in Chad trying to help more than 400,000 Sudanese refugees and displaced Chadian civilians who have fled from violence.

"Chadian people may feel anger -- it's difficult for them to distinguish between one organisation or another -- and this anger may be directed towards the humanitarian community," Serge Male, head of the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) in Chad, said.

"We will have to rebuild the confidence with the local population," he told Reuters by telephone.

U.N. officials say that while the Zoe's Ark group may have had good intentions -- a Chad government inquiry is under way -- they did not appear to have any government authorisation to take the children out of the country.

They committed a massive error. It was very unprofessional," said Jean-Francois Basse, senior protection officer in Chad for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF.

Relief workers fear the row will damage the Chadian government's attitude towards foreign humanitarian operations on its soil, at a time when the European Union is also preparing to deploy a military peacekeeping force in eastern Chad.

Uchunguzi bado unaendelea....!
Nine French nationals are among a group of 16 still being held by authorities in neighboring Chad, after they were arrested trying to put the children on a plane to France last Thursday.

Seven crew members of a Spanish charter company and a Belgian pilot were also detained, according to French television reports.

A spokesman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the actions of the charity workers, which Chadian President Idriss Deby characterized as a case of "straightforward kidnapping."

The spokesman told CNN the attempt to remove the children was both "illegal and unacceptable." He said Sarkozy had spoken on the phone with Deby and it is now a matter for the Chad authorities.

Of the French nationals, six of those detained are thought to work for the charity and three are journalists.

The nationalities of the 103 young children involved in the case are unclear, although they are thought to range in age from 1 to 12, according the French government spokesman.

...mnh, 'ukiona wenzio wananyolewa, nawe tia maji', ...wajameni, hayapo haya Tz? 'madege' hayatui JKIA na KIA pekee, kuna viwanja vingi tu huko mikoani, wasije wakawa wanaiba 'vitoto vya kitanzania huko vijijini', ohooo..!
Officials in Chad are trying to determine the identity of the children, none of whom have any identification papers.

Many of the children appear to be Chadian, rather than Sudanese orphans,
the BBC reported citing the president of the French national committee for UN children's agency UNICEF.

The children additionally appeared to be in good health, despite the official designation of the aid operation as being on medical grounds. UNICEF officials said bandages had been put on the children to make them appear as war victims.

The children are currently in an orphanage in Abeche where they are being cared for by local aid workers and UNICEF staff.

'Many of the children cry at night and call for their parents,' one UNICEF aid worker told the BBC on Monday.

'Our impression is that the majority aren't orphans, but at this stage it's just an impression,' said Jacques Hintzy, head of UNICEF France.

...and it's really 'shocking!' bearing in mind yanatokea chini ya kivuli cha 'humanitarian grounds'!
Haya mambo yapo sana tu, hasa kambi za wakimbizi, sema yanafanyika katika usiri mkubwa sana.

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