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World Refugee Day 2004: Chad

World Refugee Day 2004: Chad

20 June 2004


UNHCR organised an exhibition of photos of the operation in Chad at the Novotel in N'Djamena. It included the screening of a news report on the situation in the east and UNHCR's efforts to relocate Sudanese refugees to the camps. UNHCR invited government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and NGO partners to the event. A printed version of the High Commissioner's World Refugee Day message was distributed. The message was also broadcast by Tele Chad.

In eastern Chad, World Refugee Day was celebrated in Farchana camp. The UNHCR Representative accompanied a group of high-level guests, including seven ministers from the Chadian government, the US Ambassador and the Chargé d'Affaires of the German Embassy, to visit the camp. All visitors praised the Chadian population for their hospitality towards the refugees over the past year and a half.

Refugees organised several activities and performances, including traditional Massalit dances performed by women in colourful dresses. Refugee children also paraded, singing traditional songs, and holding school banners. A group of young refugee men demonstrated their skills with traditional spears and "safrocs", boomerang-like sticks used to kill game in the bush. In the afternoon, a soccer match pitted a refugee team against a Chadian team.

In the south, activities were held in Amboko. A large crowd made up of mostly refugees and invited guests was estimated at more than 4,000 people. The Sub-Prefect, the UNHCR Head of Office and staff took turns to present prizes to both winners and losers in sports competitions.

In addition, a two-day training programme on International Protection of Refugees and Community Services took place in Goré. The aim of the training was to build the capacity of Usher's protection staff on the ground, and to train NGOs and local authorities.

The 20 June activities took place at the new refugee camp site of Youroungou. UNHCR invited 30 guests to the function, including local civil authorities and religious leaders. The local radio, Radio Lotiko, based in Sarh, covered the event. Primary school children entertained the crowds with their songs, dances and theatre. A lunch was offered to all those attending, and a bull and sacks of rice were given to the refugees to help celebrate the day. The afternoon was devoted to sports - football, gymnastics and martial arts.