Children of Chad
Realizing Children’s Rights in Chad
Although Chad has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, implementing them has proven to be very problematic. The majority of Chad’s population does not respect the rights of children. The growth of young children in Chad is therefore greatly affected.
Realization of Children’s Rights Index :
Population: 11,2 million
Life expectancy: 51,2 years old
Main problems faced by children in Chad:
Chad, a crossing point between sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Thus, poverty, which affects a vast majority of young Chadians, has serious repercussions on their access to a healthy diet, adequate financial resources, healthcare, etc.
Likewise, malnutrition is also worrisome. Due to a poor diet, many children suffer from significant growth retardation.
The population of Chad is so disparate that Children’s Rights to education are compromised. In addition, parents are often reluctant to send their children to school. Only a small percentage of children in Chad are schooled.
Although education in Chad is mandatory, only some children, especially boys, carry on learning after primary school. Gender equality and equality between urban and rural areas is therefore still a problem in the country.
In cases of adoption and divorce, Chadian children generally have the legal right to express their opinions. However, they are not able to do this at home. In fact, within the family, children are not yet considered as subjects of law. Parents and legal guardians therefore often make decisions on their behalf.
Some children are still subjected to violence within their family. However, this is allowed according to Chadian tradition.
In addition, children are often abused at school, during detention, in the street, etc. Unfortunately violence is very common in Chad, and children are often the victims.
The marriage of young girls is still a common practice in Chad, as the age of majority is set differently within various documents. From a legal point of view, civil majority is reached at 21 years and the legal age of marriage is set at 15 years for girls and 18 years for boys. However in customary law, the age of marriage is implicitly set at 13 years, which goes against the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Child marriages have a negative impact on their health, development and rights. Girls who are married early are limited in their social interactions, as they drop out of school. They risk early pregnancy, which can be dangerous to both themselves and their child.
The number of Chadian children that wander and live on the streets is constantly increasing and this is mainly due to the very unstable financial situation in Chad. Their rights to accommodation, health, education and nutrition are often violated.
In addition, playing in the streets poses many risks: economic and sexual exploitation, health problems, malnutrition, etc. As they are uneducated, they have virtually no chance of finding a job and of permanently leaving the streets.
In Chad, the minimum age for employment is 14 years. However, due to economic difficulties, many families are often forced to make their children work.
Armed groups and forces to the East of the country use children, especially boys. They are recruited as fighters or associated with Chadian or Sudanese opposition groups or the Chadian army. These children have been kidnapped or are used as revenge for the death of a loved one. Others even see the army as a way out of poverty.
Although recruiting child soldiers is condemned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, Chad continues to use them in armed conflicts. Demobilising them and reinserting them into civil society is often very difficult, especially because of a lack of political commitment from the government, a lack of resources and continuing unrest.
Justice of minors
In Chad, the deprivation of liberty may begin early in the investigation. However, in the majority of cases, delinquent children are often entrusted to their parents.
However, if parents are not present, young people are imprisoned with adults; there is a lack of adequate space in which to accommodate the minors.
In Chad, the phenomenon of “herdsmen” persists: children from rural areas, generally tribal, are recruited to guard the herds of wealthy Arab herders.
Child herdsmen incur many risks by working in this field: loss of identity, lack of schooling, disease, etc. Therefore, this practice is perceived by international and non-governmental organisations as a new form of slavery, which is strongly condemned.
Stories of children
“I was living with my family in Abeche; I was attending school with my brothers and sisters. I was shocked to see people killing my loved ones and stealing our belongings. When I was in the rebellion, living conditions were difficult, but we had a sufficient amount of food. The most difficult thing was having to participate in combat. Most of the other youth were my age. There was nothing enjoyable about being in the rebellion.” Hazam, 17ans
Testimony from Amnesty International
Child in the culture of the country
“Sincerity is not saying what we think but thinking everything we say”
Birth: An “ouchar” branch is placed outside the house so people know that a pregnant woman has given birth.
On the seventh day after birth, parents buy a cow, sheep or rooster from the market depending on financial means and they invite the family, neighbours and the marabouts (religious leaders) for a big meal.
The marabout holds two strings in his hand, each one corresponding to a name for the child which he has chosen himself. He then invites the mother to draw a string. He then announces the child’s name aloud in front of the gathered crowd.
Adhesion to the CRC
The international Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first legally binding international instrument of children’s rights protection.
Date of signature: September 30th, 1990
The signature shows the state’s intent to examine the treaty on a national level and its willingness to ratify it.
Date of ratification: October 2nd, 1990
The ratification signifies that a State accepts to be legally bound to the clauses of the Convention.
Declarations and Reservations :
Chad expressed no reservations to the application of CRC. Therefore, the government is bound by the rights guaranteed by the Convention.
File a complaint with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child: Mauritania ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This includes a procedure relating to individual complaints: it is therefore possible for an individual or an NGO recognized by a Member State to address a complaint to the Committee, so that it can carry out an investigation and eventually question the country concerned about the problem.
In order to denounce abuse or other violations of children’s rights, you should contact the police or a professional (lawyer or possibly an NGO – see the list below).
To discover another country, click on the continent
- Unicef, Tchad
- CRIN, Tchad
- Save the Children,Tchad
- World Vision, Tchad
- U.S Department of State, Chad
- Enfants des rues et droits des enfants au Tchad
- Amnesty International, Les enfants recrutés par l’armée et les groupes armés, Tchad
- Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook
- World Bank
- Amnesty International, Témoignage
- Amnesty International, Annual report, The state of the world’s human rights
- United Nations, Treaty collection : list of signatories and parties, with their declarations and their reservations
Written by : Stéphanie Berrut
Review by : Anne Kneblewski-Vanier
Translated by : Nishma Shah
Review by : May Buchmuller
Last update 14th december 2011