Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Chad

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Chad, 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49880608b.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

REPUBLIC OF CHAD

Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 7,458,000
    – under-18s: 3,906,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 30,350
    – paramilitary: 4,500
  • Compulsory recruitment age: < 20 with consent
  • Voluntary recruitment age: <18 with consent
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: indicated in government armed forces; unknown in opposition forces
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 182
  • There are indications of under-18s in government armed forces as Chad has no effective restriction on the military recruitment of volunteers who obtain the consent of a guardian. Both government and various opposition forces have recruited children for use in ongoing internal armed conflict. Demobilisation and reintegration procedures initiated in 1992 and 1996 were reportedly effective in reducing the scale of the problem. However, the government has not improved its legislative requirements regarding minimum age for recruitment, and in November 2000 was accused of forcibly recruiting children of the Zagava ethnic group, usually under 13 years old, for detecting landmines. The government has denied the charges.

CONTEXT

Chad has faced internal armed conflict since 1965. In May 1998 the government and the Armed Forces for the Federal Republic (FARF), a main armed opposition group in Southern Chad, signed a peace accord and the FARF eventually merged into the party in power under President Déby – the Mouvement Patriotique du Salut (MPS). Other armed groups continued lower intensity rebellions in the Northeast.370 In October 1998 a new rebellion erupted in Northern Chad by a group known as the Mouvement pour la Démocratie et la Justice au Tschad (MDJT), which currently presents the main challenge to government. In July 1999 the government and another main armed opposition group, the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD) signed a reconciliation accord in Khartoum, Sudan. But in December 1999 thirteen armed political movements (excluding the MDJT) announced the formation of a new alliance against the government, the Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l'Opposition (CMAP).371 Fighting between government forces and opposition groups intensified at the end of 2000. Chad also sent troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo in late 1998 to aid President Kabila.

Chad also reportedly sent troops to Sudan in 1998 to bolster the Sudan governmental campaign against the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), but Chadian authorities denied such actions.372 There is no evidence that these contingents contained under-18s.

GOVERNMENT

National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Military service is compulsory according to Article 51 (2) of the 1996 Constitution, which states that "[T]he defence of the Fatherland and the integrity of the national territory is a duty for every Chadian", and that "[T]he conditions for accomplishing this duty are determined by law." Article 14 of the armed forces reorganisation ordinance (Ordinance No. 01/PCE/CEDNACVG/91) of 16 January 1991 establishes a minimum recruitment age of 18 for volunteers and 20 for conscripts. However, Article 52 of the General Statute of the Army (Ordinance No. 006/PR/92) adopted in 1992 states that a non-emancipated minor can be enrolled with the consent of his tutor.373

Conscription is applied selectively to some groups. Conscripts are divided into two groups. One group, the size of which is fixed annually by decree, is effectively enrolled into the armed forces. The second group remains at the disposal of the military authorities for two years.374 According to the Government, military service is performed only by graduates of the National College of Administration and the National College of Physical Education and Sports.375

Child Recruitment and Deployment

The government claims it does not currently recruit under-18s into the military. However the legality of enlisting minors who have attained the consent of a guardian undermines this claim. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation acknowledged in 1999 that there is effectively no minimum age for participation in armed conflict.376

The Chadian armed forces have in fact been known to recruit children between 12 and 15 years old. The government has in the past acknowledged the recruitment of minors, and twice – in 1992 and 1997 – undertook measures to demobilise child soldiers and prevent their recruitment both by government and opposition armed forces.377 These mechanisms are generally considered to have been effective in reducing the extent of the problem. The Chadian Minister of Justice in May 1999 reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that minors were not recruited into government forces because of a programme for the reorganisation of the army that provided for the demobilisation of all young people who were members of the political-military movements, and for their reintegration into civilian life. Chad's report emphasised the psychological reintegration of children into society, but noted that due to lack of funds child soldiers maimed during the war had not yet been compensated.378

There are credible reports that minors continue to serve in military installations in the north, and reports of the forced recruitment of children – in particular teenage Zaghawa – by government forces in 2000.379 In November 2000 the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) reported that many of these children were under 13 years old and were sent to the frontline to detect landmines. Recruitment is thought to be carried out by the Fast Intervention Forces and the Presidential Guard, who arrest the children and place them in the armed forces operating in the north. Some parents of those recruited have been assaulted and killed. The government denied the charges of forced recruitment.380 But in 2001 there have been reports that Chadian families are forced to choose between letting one of their children be recruited into Idriss Déby's armed forces, or participating in the war effort by giving a certain amount of money or part of their crop. In contrast, child abduction was reported to have almost disappeared in the country.381

OPPOSITION

In the 1990s there were at least five armed opposition groups operating at any one time in the West, East and South of Chad, mostly originating from the Chadian National Liberation Front (FROLINAT) created in 1966.382 In 1999 an alliance of thirteen armed political movements, the Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l'Opposition (CMAP) was formed.383 The most serious challenges to the government have been presented by the Armed Forces for the Federal Republic (FARF) operating in the South, the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD), and the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT). However the FARF and the MDD were integrated into the Chadian National Army in 1998 and 1999. A number of other sporadically operational armed opposition groups split into factions in 1999, including some that allied themselves to the government. Many opposition factions later joined into the CMAP (Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l'Opposition) alliance.384

Child Recruitment and Deployment

The Minister of Justice reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that opposition forces were known to have forcibly recruited children.385 Other sources have also reported the use of child soldiers by opposition groups, particularly around the time of previous demobilisation attempts. In 1997 a mediation body was created within the office of the Prime Minister, which approached opposition groups to advocate against the use of child soldiers. There is no data available on numbers of underage soldiers demobilised during the 1997 initiative, or whether soldiers integrated into the Chadian National Army included any minors. There have been no recent reports of underage recruitment by currently operating opposition groups.

DEVELOPMENTS

Demobilisation

The Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its report of July 1999, found that the government of Chad had demonstrated awareness and political will regarding the problems of children in armed conflict. However, the committee reported that the government lacks resources to support the rehabilitation and social reintegration of demobilised child soldiers.386


370 AI Report 1998.

371 IRIN, "CHAD: Rebel movements form alliance", 23/12/99.

372 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)-Central and Eastern Africa, Update No. 523, 14/10/98.

373 Letter of the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation sent to the Swedish Embassy in N'Djamena, 26/1/99.

374 Ibid.

375 Horeman and Stolwijk op. cit.

376 Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation op. cit.

377 In 1992 Article 2 of a Decree concerning the discharge of army personnel (No. 398/PR/MDNACVG/92) stipulated applicability to minors and resulted in the discharge of 467 registered minors. After confirmed reports of the recruitment of 12-year-olds in 1996 the Sovereign National Conference forbade the recruitment of children in the regular armed forces and called for their rehabilitation. See the Initial Report of Chad to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.50 of 24/7/97, para. 189.

378 CRC/C/SR.548, Summary record of the 548th meeting: Chad, 13/01/2000.

379 US Department of State, Chad Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2000.

380 OMCT Appeal, "Chad: forced recruitment of children", 20/11/00.

381 World Organisation Against Torture in communication to CSC, citing confidential sources, 19/4/01.

382 On these armed opposition groups, see Balencie and de la Grange.

383 IRIN, "CHAD: Rebel movements form alliance", 23/12/99.

384 Ibid.

385 OMCT Appeal op. cit.

386 Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Chad. CRC/C/87 (30/07/99), para. 35.

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