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2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 29 November 2015]
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.

Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

UNICEF and the Government of Chad are collaborating on a campaign against the worst forms of child labor, particularly the use of children as herders in southern Chad.[500] In 2000, the government sponsored a number of workshops, seminars, and radio broadcasts to raise awareness on child labor.[501] In an effort to combat child trafficking, the government also sponsored media campaigns to advise parents on how to instruct children about the danger of trusting strangers.[502]

In December 1993, the government established a Department of Children and Disabled Persons under the Ministry for Women and Social Affairs. Among other duties, it is responsible for combating the use of children by the military and assisting with the reintegration of child soldiers into society.[503]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 65.5 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 in Chad were working.[504] Child labor is rare in the formal sector, but it is common in agriculture and herding.[505] In southern Chad, children are contracted to Arab nomadic herders to tend animals. These children are often abused and offered little monetary compensation for their labor.[506] Children also work for little compensation as domestic servants in the households of relatives.[507] Some families arrange marriages for daughters who are as young as 11 or 12 years. Once married, many of these girls are obligated to work long hours in the fields or in the home for their husbands.[508] There are allegations that, in isolated instances, local authorities force children to work in the rural sector.[509]

Children work as child soldiers, particularly in military installations in the north.[510] Government forces and armed opposition groups have both recruited youths less than 18 years of age to fight in the internal conflict.[511] Children of the Zagava ethnic group as young as 13 have been forcibly recruited and sent to the frontlines to detect landmines, and children in the Zaghawa ethnic group have also been forced into the armed forces.[512] In 2001, families were forced to participate in the war either by providing one of their children to the armed forces as a recruit, or by giving money or crops as a substitute.[513]

The Constitution guarantees free and compulsory education for nine years, beginning at the age of six.[514] However, parents still make considerable contributions toward school costs.[515] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 57.5 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 45.8 percent.[516] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate for girls was 39.3 percent compared with 75.7 percent for boys.[517] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Chad. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[518] Educational opportunities for girls are limited, mainly because of tradition, and girls tend not to attend as many years of school as boys.[519]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age of employment at 14 years old, but children may engage in several types of light and non-hazardous work at the age of 12.[520] According to the law, certain jobs are deemed hazardous by the government and are therefore prohibited by children under 18 years of age.[521] The Constitution and the Labor Code prohibit slavery and forced labor. The trafficking of persons is also prohibited.[522] The Armed Forces Reorganization Ordinance establishes 18 years as the minimum age of recruitment into the army,[523] but the General Statue of the Army Ordinance allows a minor to voluntarily join the military with the consent of a parent or legal guardian.[524]

Labor inspectors are required to examine work environments to ensure that youth are not subject to difficult working conditions.[525] Offenders of minimum age laws are subject to penalties laid out in the Labour and Social Security Code.[526] The Government of Chad has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on November 6, 2000.[527]

[500] U.S. Embassy-N'djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1795, November 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 1795].

[501] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Chad (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at

[502] Ibid. at Section 6f.

[503] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1992, Addendum, Chad, CRC/C/3/Add.50 (Geneva, 1997) [hereinafter Initial Reports of States Parties], 12.

[504] UNICEF, Enquête par grappes á indicateurs multiples, Rapport complet, 2001, at In 1999, the ILO estimated that approximately 37 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 in Chad were working. See World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001) [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001] [CD-ROM].

[505] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1982, May 1997 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 1982].

[506] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[507] Ibid. See also unclassified telegram 1982.

[508] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c. See also unclassified telegram 1982.

[509] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c

[510] Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Global Report 2001: Chad (London, May 2001) [hereinafter Global Report 2001].

[511] Ibid.

[512] Ibid. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c.

[513] Global Report 2001.

[514] Initial Reports of States Parties at 12. See also unclassified telegram 1795.

[515] In 1995, it was estimated that parents gave approximately 800 million CFA (USD 1,088,500) to schools. See Initial Reports of States Parties at 12. Currency conversion at on 1/29/02.

[516] World Development Indicators 2001.

[517] Ibid.

[518] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see Introduction to this report.

[519] Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[520] "Décret no 55/PR-MTJS-DTMOPS du 8 février 1969 relatif au travail des enfants," Textes d'application du Code du travail [hereinafter Textes d'application du Code du travail]. See also Initial Reports of States Parties at 12

[521] Initial Reports of States Parties at 12.

[522] Country Reports 2000 at Sections 6c, 6f.

[523] Ordinance No. 001 of 16 January 1991, as cited in Global Report 2001. See also Initial Reports of States Parties at 35.

[524] Article 52 of the General Statute of the Army, Ordinance No. 006/PR/92, as cited in Global Report 2001.

[525] Textes d'application du Code du travail.

[526] Initial Reports of States Parties at 12.

[527] ILO, Ratification Information, at

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