Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1993 - Chad

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 January 1994
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1993 - Chad, 30 January 1994, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa4914.html [accessed 20 December 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.
 

Chad continued to be governed by a transitional Government headed by President Idriss Deby, who in a 1990 coup overthrew dictator Hussein Habre. President Deby and his Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) are supported by a large military establishment. A sovereign National Conference was convened between January and April, bringing together a diverse group of government, political, economic, military, and special interest representatives from Chadian society. The National Conference confirmed Deby as Chief of State, established a new transitional Government under Prime Minister Fidel Moungar (later Kassire Coumakoye) with a Cabinet of 16 Ministers, elected 57 counselors to a quasi-legislative body, the Transitional Council (CST), and adopted the Transitional Charter as an interim constitutional document. The Conference gave the transitional Government a 1-year mandate, i.e., until April 6, 1994, but the CST may extend this mandate once, for a period left unspecified, before elections for a new Government take place.

The 31,800 person army, gendarmerie, and police are responsible for internal security. The National Conference recognized the need to reduce and reorganize the army, and it dissolved the Center for Research and Intelligence Coordination (CRCR), the intelligence organization, which had continued to employ persons known to have committed serious abuses under the Habre regime. The Government announced its replacement by a National Security Agency (ANS), the staffing and oversight of which fall under the purview of the Presidency. With financial and military assistance from France, the Government demobilized thousands of soldiers. Nevertheless, military forces, principally Republican Guard units, were responsible for serious human rights abuses, including massacres of civilians in southern Chad and in N'Djamena, the capital.

Chad, with a population of 6.3 million, has an estimated per capita income of only $190 per annum. Over 78 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, fishing, and stock raising. Cotton is the most important export. The Government relies heavily on external financial support, especially from France, to meet recurring budgetary costs and almost all government investment. Pervasive corruption at all levels and a heavy black-market trade in fuel, sugar, oil, cloth, and soap served to limit severely government customs receipts, discourage local production and marketing, and restrict the cash economy.

While the National Conference held out the hope of a real transition to a democratic system, the transitional Government stalled and implemented few Conference decisions. As of year's end, it had set no dates for promised 1994 elections. However, a technical commission of jurists constituted at the end of the year began work on drafts of a constitution, electoral code, and charter of political parties. The Deby Government continued to be responsible for serious human rights abuses, particularly those committed by Republican Guard units in the south and in N'Djamena and other cities. At times, the security forces operated independently of the Government, and certain units, particularly those from President Deby's ethnic group, seemed immune from prosecution. Combined with military threats against the judiciary and a magistrates' strike, there was a breakdown in the criminal justice system. The Government by year's end had prosecuted none of those responsible for such abuses. A number of killings remained unexplained and were not investigated, including those of several labor leaders. Domestic violence and discrimination against women remained widespread.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

The President's Republican Guard and other units of the National Army (ANT) carried out a series of massacres of civilians and other killings. Despite assurances by the President, there was no real progress in investigating and punishing those responsible (see Section 1.g.).

On October 22, security forces shot and killed dissident leader Abbas Koty, who fled Chad in 1992 after attempting a coup. Koty had returned under a trilateral agreement between Chad, Libya, and Sudan guaranteeing his safety. He was murdered in October by security forces in broad daylight in front of witnesses. There is strong evidence that this was a political killing and not incident to resisting arrest for coup plotting as reported by the Government. The Government arrested at least eight persons in connection with the alleged coup attempt.

There were several unexplained and uninvestigated murders of labor leaders, including Mbailao Mianbe, head of a civil service union (see Section 6.a.).

b. Disappearance

The status of approximately 100 followers of former rebel leader Abbas Koty, who were allegedly captured following a June 1992 coup attempt, was not known by year's end. A number of close associates of Abbas Koty were arrested following his assassination on October 22, 1993. Three persons believed to have been arrested at that time have not been accounted for: Adoum Acyl, Yacoub Isak Koty, and Isak Kochi.

According to reliable observers, there were credible reports of a small number of politically motivated, incommunicado detentions in unidentified places of detention.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The Transition Charter specifically prohibits the practice of torture and degrading or humiliating treatment, but the Government did not or could not intervene effectively to stop torture practices by security forces. Reliable reports indicated that military personnel engaged in torture and other cruel mistreatment of prisoners, civilian and military, in government custody, most commonly by severe beatings, but also by immersion in water to the point of near drowning. Interrogators also reportedly used mock executions to intimidate detainees. There was no indication that investigations were conducted or arrests made as a result of the many reports, including in the media, of torture.

Prison conditions continued to be abysmal and life threatening, characterized by overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of medical facilities, inadequate food, and mixing of male and female prisoners. Prisoners were almost totally dependent on their families for food. The authorities allowed nonpolitical prisoners to have visitors. In a departure from previous practice, the authorities allowed prisoners arrested for apparent political reasons subsequent to the August killings to have visitors. The Government authorized independent human rights groups access to selected prisons and prisoners and allowed private physicians to examine and treat prisoners. It granted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) permission to visit detainees, but for administrative reasons this had not taken place by year's end.

On October 23, the Foreign Minister convoked the diplomatic corps and promised that the eight persons arrested in connection with the alleged Koty coup plot would not be mistreated and would be given a fair trial. The Government denied the eight persons visits by their families and lawyers but permitted human rights groups and doctors access on two occasions. There was no evidence of their physical mistreatment.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Penal Code and the Transitional Charter provide formal safeguards against arbitrary arrest, but in practice these provisions were not uniformly respected, notably after the August demonstrations and killings (see Section 1.a.). Most military or security organizations had the de facto authority to arrest or detain citizens without warrant and without remanding the detainee for an early trial. As a result, large-scale arbitrary arrests took place on orders of senior members of the Government subsequent to the August violence. The authorities released all detainees after protests by legal groups. No charges were made nor trials conducted.

There were credible reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions of political activists in rural areas. These arrests were in some cases attributed to local leaders of the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) and were directed against opposition party leaders. No investigations or judicial action was taken.

At year's end, best estimates indicated that the Government held approximately eight political or security detainees. Arrested the day of his assassination, the eight members of Abbas Koty's group (see Section 1.a.), remained in prison at year's end, without formal charge and without any indication when they would be brought to trial.

The Government did not use exile as a political weapon in 1993.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system was unable to contend with more than civil actions due to a breakdown of law and judicial process. Significant interference by the Government and the military in the judicial system contributed to the breakdown. Even major incidents of mass murder, as in the case of atrocities in the south during April, did not go to trial. As in 1991 and 1992, there were strong indications that members of the security forces, particularly those belonging to northern ethnic groups and those in the Republican Guard, had de facto immunity from prosecution.

In June armed troops physically threatened the principal judicial offices in the capital when there were rumors that soldiers involved in killings at the Customs Administration headquarters might be charged. Subsequently, magistrates went on strike in July to protest threats from the military after the judicial system adjudicated in favor of a southern official who killed several northern soldiers during violence in June at the Customs Administration. None of those responsible for the violence was tried. Legal professionals complained that threats of violence and interference prevented adequate and fair administration of justice.

Other factors also affected the judiciary. In November and December, magistrates again went on strike along with most members of the Ministry of Justice to protest nonpayment of salaries. Magistrates, as well as other legal professionals, were not paid for at least half of the year, and there was a shortage of trained personnel, the most basic supplies, equipment, and courtroom space.

In civil cases, in which the judiciary still operated to a limited extent, there were a number of suits for libel and slander. The Government, most notably the Republican Guard, along with individual members of the Government took advantage of the court system to defend their records.

Despite substantial emphasis placed on the justice system by the National Conference, there was no overhaul of the justice system in 1993, although legal professionals created three private, independent associations to study reform. Chad's highest court is the Appellate Court of N'Djamena which, under the Transitional Charter, assumes in theory constitutional review responsibilities in the absence of a Supreme Court. It also reviews decisions of lower courts and adjudicates all cases calling for more than a 20-year penalty. District courts exist in major cities, and justices of the peace preside in larger townships. Special courts were inactive, including the military courts-martial system, instituted in 1991 to try soldiers and civilians for crimes of violence committed in uniform or with military weapons.

Most rural areas do not have access to formal judicial institutions and rely on traditional courts presided over by village chiefs and sheikhs in most civil cases. Their decisions, which in most cases are respected by the population, may be appealed to a formal court.

At year's end, the number of political and security prisoners (as distinct from pretrial political and security detainees) was unknown.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The Transitional Charter precisely states citizens' rights to privacy of home and correspondence, freedom from arbitrary arrest and search, and liberties of association. The Penal Code stipulates that searches of homes will be conducted only during daylight hours and only under legal warrant. In practice, security forces conducted frequent searches for weapons without legal warrant, day or night, especially during the second half of 1993. In some cases these searches resulted in mistreatment of individuals and extortion of money.

The National Conference's Letters of Instruction to the transitional Government stipulated that roadblocks manned by government forces, often responsible for extortion of travelers and an impediment to free travel, would be removed. This was successfully accomplished in midyear for most of the country.

Membership in the MPS is not required for employment or appointment to high position. However, MPS membership has been solicited by coercive means in rural areas, and members of other political parties have been detained and mistreated by MPS and government officials.

g. Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts

The ANT in late January and early February launched a military campaign in the south to neutralize the rebel force of the National Awakening Committee for Peace and Democracy (CSNPD) of Lieutenant Moise Kette. The ANT attacked more than 13 villages between the towns of Doba and Gore, burning and looting villages, destroying crops, and driving over 12,000 refugees into the Central African Republic. The ANT killed at least 29 civilians in its initial attacks. Though rebels had attacked and killed government forces in the region, government claims to the effect that the civilian deaths occurred as a result of fighting between government forces and rebels were unconvincing. The ANT, principally units of the Republican Guard, cordoned off the region, restricted travel, and prevented independent investigations from taking place. No credible government inquiry of any value was conducted, nor were there arrests or punishments of those responsible for the excessive use of force.

The ANT committed further excesses in February and March, with deaths and injuries reported. Republican Guard units committed atrocities in a number of villages in the region of Kou-Mouabe. A government investigating committee, which included members of human rights groups, went to the region and reported that, within the space of a few days in April, the Republican Guard summarily executed over 200 persons. According to the commission, over 300 civilians in the region had been killed by the Republican Guard since the beginning of 1993.

The committee identified six Republican Guard officers and one former member of the CSNPD rebels, who acted as a guide to the villages, as responsible for the killings and other abuses. As of year's end, the authorities had arrested only two persons, and one was allowed full freedom of movement to and from the prison, even though there was no indication of a pretrial hearing or setting of bail. The status of the other prisoner, a southerner, was unknown. He allegedly was tortured by the Republican Guard and forced to guide units to the villages. The remaining five officers escaped arrest. None had been brought to trial by year's end.

The armed opposition group, the CSNPD, said the massacres were perpetrated against civilians suspected of collusion or sympathy with the opposition. However, the Government alleged that the CSNPD committed abuses against civilians in the region, including killing and robbery. Credible sources reported that rebels stole goods and extorted money from villagers in the region.

In June Republican Guard army units fired indiscriminately during a clash over control of the Customs Administration in N'Djamena, killing at least two innocent civilians. There was no credible investigation, and no one was arrested.

On August 4, armed men fired at crowds in a market in Gniguilim, near Abeche in eastern Chad, killing at least 82 persons and wounding 105. The Government conducted an investigation and reportedly arrested several persons, but it had not released any details by the end of the year, including the identities of the killers, which reportedly had not been satisfactorily established. No trials had been conducted, nor had those responsible been punished.

On August 5, army units suppressed a demonstration, a protest against the killings in Gniguilim, in Abeche, killing at least two civilians and wounding several.

On August 8, members of the Ouaddaian community in N'Djamena sought to hold a prayer meeting to protest the Gniguilim massacre. After being turned away by gendarmes and police, some Ouaddaian members attacked the police and gendarmes, killing five. Senior officials called in the Republican Guard which used massive force heavy weapons and automatic rifles against the remainder of the Ouaddain crowd and on bystanders, including in neighborhoods far removed from the scene of the riot. The Republican Guard killed at least 61 civilians and wounded over 100. The Government failed to take any disciplinary action against the Republican Guard.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Transitional Charter provides for freedom of speech and press, and the small private press published articles criticizing the Government. The Government controlled access to radio, the most important medium, and to the sole television station. It permitted only government-approved programming and commentary but often included nonpartisan coverage of opposition activities and statements. However, in September, during a political crisis between the President and Prime Minister, the President denied the Prime Minister radio air time.

Foreign publications were available. There were no reports of censorship of these publications or of issues withdrawn from circulation.

The academic system is primarily state supported, and the teachers at all levels are state employees. Reportedly students and teachers practice self-censorship in discussions with a political content.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Transitional Charter provides for freedom of association, assembly, press, and publication.

Political and civil groups conducted meetings and press conferences for the most part without government interference. However, the Government restricted assembly on several occasions. In August it banned religious and ethnic demonstrations, and in September it prevented leaders of political parties and associations from having access to a private conference hall by bringing pressure on the owner. Permits are required for public gatherings of all sorts.

New political parties continued to appear and, as of the end of 1993, 43 parties were authorized to function. Parties and associations issued political and civic-oriented tracts of all sorts, many critical of the Government, without interference from the Government.

c. Freedom of Religion

Chad is officially and in practice a secular state. Islam, Christianity, and other religions are practiced without constraint. Missionaries of all religions are permitt d to enter Chad to proselytize and to perform public assistance work.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

No special permission was required of Chadians or foreigners to travel within most areas, but access to areas designated military zones was not permitted. The Government set up military cordons to restrict acccess to areas of southern Chad near the towns of Gore and Kou-Mouabe, both sites of human rights abuses. Most of the government roadblocks were removed in June on orders of the transitional Government. Although there was significant improvement, members of the security forces continued to operate some roadblocks around the country, asked for domestic travel documents, and extorted money from travelers. The transitional Government revoked the requirement for government authorization for international travel.

Chadians were free to emigrate. Several thousand bona fide refugees, a product of mid-1992 fighting between the Government and rebels in the Lake Chad region, remained in Niger and had valid concerns as to their reception back in Chad. Similarly, approximately 12,000 refugees in camps in the Central African Republic, who fled southern Chad when their villages were attacked by the Republican Guard, had valid concerns about their safety if they returned to their villages. The presence in southern Chad of large units of soldiers of northern ethnic groups, some already responsible for atrocities in the south, discouraged reentry of refugees from the Central African Republic.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

Citizens do not have this right, and President Deby and his MPS, backed by the military, dominate the political process. Nevertheless, positive movement towards political pluralism was noted in 1993.

The National Conference held from January to April established that elections would take place in 1994. The Conference consisted of approximately 800 delegates drawn from the Government, traditional leadership such as sheikhs and sultans, opposition political parties, human rights groups, unions, students, women's groups, farming cooperatives, and other groups. The balance of representation was equitable, and the discussions and debates were open and uninhibited. The Transitional Charter and the Letters of Instruction to the transitional Government were drafted in committee and presented to a floor vote. The Conference elected the Prime Minister from a slate of 13 candidates. It also elected from the floor 57 Transitional Council (CST) counselors, who in turn selected their president for a term of 6 months.

The CST utilized its authority to require key cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, to explain their programs to the Council. The CST exercised its legislative authority in refusing to ratify a treaty with Libya presented by the Presidency and directed the Prime Minister to reduce the Cabinet from 31 ministers to 16 to bring the Government into conformance with the Letters of Instruction.

During the year, there was increasing conflict between President Deby and Prime Minister Fidel Moungar over a variety of issues. Eventually the Transitional Council replaced Moungar in November with Kassire Coumakoye.

The creation of a tripartite system of government, each institution with separate powers, represented a major advance in the Chadian political system. Though preponderant authority remained with the executive, the other two government institutions in the face of difficult problems persisted in consolidating their respective and separate powers. A technical commission of jurists constituted at the end of the year began work on drafts of a constitution, electoral code, and charter of political parties.

Chadian women have political equality and protection under the law and were active in the National Conference. Several hold high office in the transitional Government and are represented in leadership positions of the political parties. Nevertheless, women are underrepresented in government, and cultural biases prevent their full integration into political life. There are one female cabinet minister and four female CST counselors.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Four Chadian human rights organizations operated legally: the Chadian League of Human Rights, the Convention for the Defense of Human and Citizens Rights, the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, and the Chadian Association for the Struggle Against Human Rights Violations. These organizations were active in the National Conference, and some members are represented in the transitional Government. Several of these organizations took part in commissions investigating human rights abuses. The reports of these organizations were published without constraint. Reports on human rights abuses in the south were critical of the army (Republican Guard units) and persons who committed them. The political opposition and civil associations regularly criticize the Government on human rights issues.

The transitional Government, as one of its first official acts, commissioned a special government/human rights commission to investigate massacres that were carried out in southern villages near Kou-Mouabe. The commision's report was accurate and unbiased but in the end had little effect in disciplining those responsible. A similar commission to investigate atrocities in eastern Chad also had little impact (see Section 1.g.).

An international organization, the Association for Victims of Repression in Exile (AVRE), visited Chad in midyear and again in December to treat torture victims and investigate the human rights situation. Representatives had access to high level government officials. A delegation of the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) conducted a seminar and investigated human rights conditions in December under the auspices of the Chadian League of Human Rights. The Government gave several independent human rights organizations permission to visit prisons and regular access to most prisoners (see Section 1.c.).

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Transitional Charter provides for equal rights to all citizens, regardless of sex, race, religion, or origin.

Women

According to the Transitional Charter and the Letters of Instruction, women have equal rights with men. The Transitional Charter provides that Chadians of both sexes have the same rights and obligations.

In practice, however, culture and tradition among Chad's various ethnic groups perpetuate the de facto subordinate status of women, especially in rural areas where women do much of the heavy farm labor and have little opportunity for education or wage employment. The literacy rate for women is signficantly lower than for men: A 1991 United Nations study indicated that on the average females receive one-third of the education of males. In 1993 there were fewer girls in school than boys. Women are not discriminated against in property and inheritance rights under the law. However, in traditional practice males are favored in inheritance matters.

The transitional Government gave some attention to women's issues. A new family code, on which work had begun in 1992, was not completed by the end of 1993, largely because of frequent cabinet changes, government reorganizations, and lack of initiative on the part of employees who went for long periods without pay. The Transitional Council passed a contraception law, which allows Chadian women to make their own choices in family planning. Several women hold high positions in the Government as well as in commerce, the professions, and the military, and women's advocacy groups have begun to form, notably the Association of Women in Distress in Chad and the Association of Women Jurists. The latter group was instrumental in pressing for improvements in womens rights at the National Conference and throughout 1993.

Domestic violence directed against women, including wife beating, is common, and women have only limited legal recourse against abusive spouses. Police rarely intervene, and women usually rely on family or ethnic group to resolve such cases.

Children

The Government and Chadian society are supportive of children's human rights. Nevertheless, there are few active programs to address children's rights.

Female genital mutilation (circumcision) is widespread and performed on females at a young age. The practice is deeply rooted in tradition, both in the north and the south, and is strongly advocated by many Chadians, women as much as men, despite its severe adverse consequences for women's physical and mental health. According to a recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Moyen Chari prefecture, the percentage of women who have undergone this procedure is extremely high and depends to an extent on religious affinity. Some 96 percent of rural Catholic women in Moyen Chari were found to be circumcised as compared to 86 percent of animist, 83 percent of Protestant, and 55 percent of Muslim women. Urban statistics range from a low of 53 percent for Protestants to 63 percent for Muslims, 75 percent for animists, and 86 percent for Catholics. The Government took no action to prohibit the practice.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There are approximately 200 ethnic groups. They are roughly divided among Saharan and Arab Muslims in the northern, central, and eastern regions, and Sudanian zone ethnic groups,

who practice Christianity or animist religions, in the south. Sustained civil conflict since independence in 1960, revolving primarily around ethnic differences, has prevented development of a solid sense of national identity. Ethnic and regional friction continues to trouble the country, despite efforts to ensure wide ethnic and regional representation in government. Well-armed minority ethnic groups close to the President, which represent a small fraction of the population, exercised authority over military and civilian government decisions.

People with Disabilities

Against a background of civil conflict and inadequate funding, the Government has not developed policies, including legislation on accessibility to buildings, to assist the disabled. Resources and medical expertise are sorely lacking. There is no official discrimination directed against the disabled, but they have little opportunity for wage employment or special education.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Some 78 percent of all workers are involved in subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, or fishing. Government employees and workers in the few state-owned enterprises constitute the bulk of union members.

The Transitional Charter and Letters of Instruction specifically recognize labor's right to organize. Workers are free to join or form unions of their choosing. Only the military are prohibited from joining unions. Government authorization is required before unions can commence operation, but this procedure was not tested in 1993. The dominant union federation remained the Federation of Chadian Unions (UST). A second, smaller federation, the Free Federation of Chadian Workers (CLTT), continued to operate. Neither union had organizational, financial, or procedural ties to the Government.

While Ordinance No. 30 of 1975 suspending all strike action has not yet been repealed, the Government respected labor's right to strike. Teachers unions maintained almost continuous strikes in 1993, resulting in loss of the 1992-93 academic year for primary and secondary students. Health workers struck in September and again in December. Strikes in December affected 12 of the 16 government ministries. Subsequent to the National Conference, most organized labor had agreed to observe a social truce with the transitional Government, but the continued failure of the Government to pay civil servants eroded worker confidence and provoked an almost total work stoppage at the end of the year. Labor/government relations, good for much of 1993, deteriorated in later months.

International Labor Organization (ILO) bodies reviewed complaints against the Government stemming from the arrests, antiunion discrimination, and other actions taken against the UST and individual unions in 1992 and deplored these actions as inconsistent with the requirements of freedom of association. In addition to Ordinance No. 30, organized labor remained under the authority of several outdated laws, such as Ordinance No. 1 of 1976 prohibiting public employees from exercising the right to organize and a provision in the Labor Code prohibiting all political activity of trade unionists. A new labor code finalized in draft in 1992, but not released and implemented prior to the end of 1993, was to serve as a revocation of the old laws. The new code was not enacted into law because the Government reasoned that the document needed a final review by a special commission. Funding for the commission was not available.

There was no government restriction on labor union participation in international labor conferences. There were no incidents of government interference in union activities. However, several union members were murdered, leading many to presume that they were targeted for labor activism. There was no indication that these allegations were true. In the case of Mbailao Mianbe, head of a civil service union in the UST, who was murdered in June, evidence pointed to his activities in army reorganization, not union work, as the motive behind his death.

b. The Right To Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law does not specifically protect collective bargaining; both the Transitional Charter and the Labor Code still in effect contain only generalized provisions for the rights of labor. The new labor code is expected to provide more precision and be in accordance with international conventions. The Government sets wages in the public sector, but in a departure from past practice the transitional Government has actively negotiated employment and wage issues with the UST and the CLTT. A case in point was the agreement of the Government to restore to service employees fired for striking in 1992. A new wage rate was negotiated. When the Government attempted to reduce wages further than the 1992 reduction, organized labor successfully negotiated a retraction of the decision. The Government is under heavy pressure from the International Monetary Fund and other international donors to cut spending and increase revenue.

The law does not specifically prohibit antiunion discrimination, and there is no formal mechanism for resolving complaints of such discrimination. In practice, however, this was not a problem.

There are no export processing zones.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no specific legal prohibition on forced or compulsory labor. No strong evidence was presented to indicate forced or compulsory labor took place. There were allegations that unpaid soldiers stationed in the far north were required to work as domestics and field workers in order to survive, in some instances for years. The Government did not respond to these allegations.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment of children is 14 in the wage sector, but there is only limited enforcement of this law by the Ministry of Civil Service and Labor. In practice, employment of children is almost nonexistent except on family subsistence farms.

Approximately 600 minors between the ages of 14 and 17 were reported to be in the army at the end of 1992. The Commission for Defense and Security of the National Conference reported that 293 minors had been demobilized as of April 1993. Children continued to serve in the army throughout the year.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The draft labor and social welfare code, which was prepared in 1988 with ILO assistance, continued to be reviewed but was not approved for issuance due to government insistence on appointment of a commission to study the document.

Meanwhile, minimum wages established under previous governments remained unchanged. An ILO committee expressed concern that the legal minimum wage has not been revised since 1978. A new minimum wage law which doubled the hourly rate was negotiated between the Government and labor in midyear. The minimum monthly wage is scheduled to increase to approximately $60 (18,000 CFA francs) in early 1994. Minimum wages are insufficient to support subsistence, much less maintain an adequate standard of living. Salary arrearages of 4 to 5 months in N'Djamena and up to 8 months in rural areas for civil servants, combined with no pay for some soldiers for up to 24 months, have obligated most employees to seek other employment, engage in subsistence agriculture, or rely on the extended family

Most nonagricultural work is limited by law to 48 hours per week with overtime paid for supplementary hours. Agricultural workers are statutorily limited to 2,400 work hours per year. All workers are entitled to 24 consecutive hours of rest per week. The Labor Code recognizes the need for occupational health and safety standards, including labor inspectors with the authority to enforce them. There is no indication that such health and safety standards exist in practice, nor that inspectors have been appointed.

Search Refworld

Countries