Journey for Justice: Chad
In March 2005, the Center for Human Rights sent a staff delegation to Chad to visit the 2004 Human Rights Award winner, Delphine Djiraibe, to gain a better understanding of the political and civil society climate now that the revenues from the Chad/Cameroon Oil and Pipeline Project are flowing. The trip also defined our strategy for helping Delphine ensure that the people of Chad benefit from the oil revenues.
Delphine, Center Director Todd Howland and Program Officer Sarah Pray met with representatives of Chadian civil society and international organizations, the Minister of Justice, members of the National Assembly, and representatives from the parties responsible for the oil pipeline: Exxon Mobil (the leader of the oil consortium that also comprises Chevron and Petronas) and the World Bank.
After spending time on the ground, the potential contribution of the RFK Center for Human Rights became apparent, particularly in assisting the capacity building of civil society, which is strong but under-funded and overextended. A robust civil society in Chad is crucial because of rampant government corruption and the inadequacy of the current oil revenue management infrastructure.
Despite the expectations of the projects' stakeholders, the situation in Chad post-pipeline is arguably worse than it was before the pipeline: higher rates of HIV/AIDS, internal displacement, and rampant corruption have all contributed to the worsening human rights situation.
Delphine and the CHR believe that together we can strengthen the ability of civil society to act as a viable monitoring mechanism to hold the Chadian government, the World Bank and the oil consortium accountable for the project.