Thursday, April 3, 2008

"...Let's conspire to re-ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive..."

I read this article on the Human Rights Watch website this morning and it's stuck with me all day. I think it's been on my mind because I've been trying to figure out what sort of IHL or Geneva Convention, if any, is being violated by the Chadian government. Forced migration and ad hoc, governmental seizure of property is illegal in Chad according to a 1967 Land Law that prohibits deprivation of ownership without due process and also stipulates that the government can only take possession of private property after it has compensated the citizens who are being forced to move. But are there international laws being violated here?

Our Crimes of War book mentions seizure of property in the context of armed conflict so I'm pretty sure that the Geneva Conventions and particularly Additional Protocol I don't apply to this situation.

I guess the point of my post is to point out a gap in protection for people who are forced from their property by their home governments when there is technically no war within the borders.

What can be done for the thousands of Chadian citizens who find themselves forced from their land by their government? Is this something that should even be on the radar screen of the international community? Certainly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that people are entitled to shelter. If that right is violated, who becomes accountable? How can Universal Human Rights be enforced?

No comments: