Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Chad

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Chad, 2004, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
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

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 8.3 million (4.4 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 30,350 (estimate)
Compulsory recruitment age: 20
Voluntary recruitment age: 18 (younger with parental consent)
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 28 August 2002
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 182; ACRWC

Up to 600 child soldiers were reportedly serving in government and opposition forces but no further recruitment of children was reported.


A January 2002 peace agreement with the government split the Mouvement pour la démocratie et justice au Tchad (MDJT), Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad, the remaining active armed political group. One faction continued sporadic armed conflict with government forces in northern Chad. Oil production began in southern Chad in October 2003. In the past there had been conflict and human rights abuses in areas of prospective oil exploitation, and the government admitted to having used funding for the oil project to purchase military equipment.1

In 2003 tens of thousands of refugees fled to Chad from neighbouring Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) to escape conflict and human rights abuses. Sudanese refugees were in a dire humanitarian situation, with limited distribution of food and non-food items to only a minority, and several reportedly killed in attacks by Sudanese militia on refugee camps. The Chadian government facilitated negotiations between the Sudanese authorities and the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M), which resulted in a ceasefire in September.2 However fighting and human rights abuses intensified in early 2004.

A UN Panel of Experts, investigating links between diamond mining, arms trafficking and the Liberian conflict, raised questions about a number of flights to and from the Chadian capital, N'Djaména, in 2002.3 Belgian and Chadian courts continued judicial investigations into torture, murder, "disappearances" and other human rights violations allegedly committed by former Chadian President Hissein Habré and others.4 Some of the victims included children suspected of links with armed political groups or political opponents.5


National recruitment legislation and practice

The 1996 constitution states that the defence of the country and of national territorial integrity is the duty of every citizen, and that military service is compulsory (Article 51).6 A 1991 ordinance on the reorganization of the armed forces establishes 18 as the minimum age for voluntary recruitment and 20 for conscription (Article 14, Ordinance No. 01/PCE/CEDNACVG/91 of 16 January 1991).7 However, the 1992 General Statute of the Army provides that a person under the age of 18 can be enrolled with the consent of a parent or guardian (Article 52, Ordinance No. 006/PR/92).8 The labour code prohibits children under the age of 18 from undertaking any work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.9

Child recruitment and deployment

In 2001 and 2002 an unknown number of under-18s and other members of the Zaghawa ethnic group were reported to have been forcibly conscripted into the armed forces in northern Chad and deployed on the front line.10

In March 2002, children were among more than 100 people arbitrarily and illegally arrested in N'Djaména, beaten and transferred to gendarmerie stations up to 150 km north of N'Djaména. Amid fears the detainees might be conscripted, or "disappear" in detention, Chadian human rights groups protested at the arrests and within three weeks all had been released or escaped.11

Chadian combatants, believed to include government soldiers, helped an armed group led by General Francois Bozizé to overthrow the CAR government of President Ange-Félix Patassé in March 2003. General Bozizé's forces included child soldiers. Several hundred Chadian government soldiers were subsequently deployed in CAR as part of a peacekeeping force, and were reportedly involved in summary executions of alleged looters and of looting private and public property.12

Armed political groups

The MDJT was believed to include a number of child soldiers within its ranks.

1 Amnesty International Report 2004,

2 Amnesty International Report 2004.

3 Report of UN Panel of Experts on Liberia, UN Doc. S/2002/470, 19 April 2002,

4 Amnesty International Report 2004.

5 Amnesty International, Tchad: L'héritage Habré, 16 October 2001.

6 Constitution,

7 Initial report of Chad to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.50, 24 July 1997,

8 Correspondence from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Swedish embassy, N'Djaména, 26 January 2001.

9 US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003, February 2004,

10 US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2002, March 2003.

11 Collectif des associations des droits de l'homme (APLFT – ATNV – ATPDH – LTDH – TNV), Rapport de mission d'information et d'observation relative aux personnes raflées à N'Djaména et deportées à Massakory et à Tourba, 19-20 April 2002.

12 Amnesty International Report 2004, Central African Republic.

Search Refworld