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“Torture is increasing in Chad every day, but it is a country forgotten by the international community,” says Nodjigoto Charbonnel, winner of Norway’s prestigious Rafto Prize 2022 for human rights, and founder of IRCT member Association Jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non-Violence (AJPNV).
Poor and arid, but rich in oil and gold, the vast central African nation of Chad has been plagued by civil wars and military coups since independence from France in 1960. In late October 2022, human rights groups reported security forces loyal to military coup leader General Mahamat Deby killed and tortured protesters demanding a return to civilian rule.
Amid a violent crackdown on dissent, AJPNV is one of a handful of civil society organisations working to promote human rights in Chad. Charbonnel, whose own father was tortured by former military dictator Hissene Habre and who has been to prison himself three times for his human rights work, believes youth hold the key to a brighter future for Chad.
“The mission of our organisation is to use youth for building peace, because the politicians in charge are using youth to fight, they are using youth to destroy, they are using youth to kill, as child soldiers. And we at the AJPNV, we think that we can use youth to promote peace, to promote democracy, to promote human rights and to promote nonviolence.”
Follow Charbonnel on Twitter @NodjigotoC and read about the Rafto Prize at www.rafto.no/en