Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 09:36 GMT

The Worst of the Worst 2011 - Chad

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 1 June 2011
Cite as Freedom House, The Worst of the Worst 2011 - Chad, 1 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e049a4bc.html [accessed 28 August 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.

Population: 11,500,000
Capital: N'Djamena

Political Rights: 7
Civil Liberties: 6
Status: Not Free

Ten-Year Ratings Timeline for Year under Review
(Political Rights, Civil Liberties, Status)
Year Under Review2001200220032004200520062007200820092010
Rating6,5,NF6,5,NF6,5,NF6,5,NF6,5,NF6,6,NF7,6,NF7,6,NF7,6,NF7,6,NF

2010 Key Developments: The Chadian government continued to struggle with rebel groups in 2010, but it significantly improved relations with the Sudanese government as the two sides worked to suppress cross- border rebel activity. Also during the year, long-delayed legislative and municipal elections scheduled for November and December were postponed again until February and March 2011, respectively.

Political Rights: Chad is not an electoral democracy. The country has never experienced a free and fair transfer of power through elections. The president is elected for five-year terms, and a 2005 constitutional amendment abolished term limits. The 2006 presidential election was held shortly after a rebel assault on the capital despite calls for a postponement. Many opposition members boycotted the balloting, which was reportedly marred by irregularities, and voter turnout may have been as low as 10 percent in some areas. Legislative elections due in 2006 were repeatedly postponed, and in September 2010 they were pushed back again to February 2011. The next presidential election and municipal elections have been scheduled for the spring of 2011. However, the main opposition bloc has threatened to boycott the polls. The executive branch dominates the judicial and legislative branches, and the president appoints the prime minister. Despite rivalries within President Idriss Deby's northeastern Zaghawa ethnic group, members of that and other northern ethnic groups continue to control Chad's political and economic systems, causing resentment among the country's more than 200 other ethnic groups. Corruption is rampant within Deby's inner circle.

Civil Liberties: Freedom of expression is severely restricted, and self-censorship is common. Broadcast media are controlled by the state. A new media bill passed in August 2010 eliminated imprisonment as a penalty for journalists who commit libel or insult the president, but it prescribed prison terms for "inciting racial and ethnic hatred and condoning violence." Although Chad is a secular state, religion is a divisive force. Muslims, who make up slightly more than half of the population, hold a disproportionately large number of senior government posts, and some policies favor Islam in practice. At the same time, the authorities have banned Muslim groups that are seen as promoting violence. The government does not restrict academic freedom. Despite the constitutional guarantee of free assembly, the authorities ban demonstrations by groups thought to be critical of the government. Insecurity in the east and south has severely hindered the activities of humanitarian organizations in recent years. The constitution guarantees the rights to strike and unionize, but a 2007 law imposed new limits on public-sector workers' right to strike. The rule of law and the judicial system remain weak, with courts heavily influenced by the political leadership. Human rights groups credibly accuse the security forces and rebel groups of killing and torturing with impunity. The army and its paramilitary forces, as well as rebel forces, have recruited child soldiers. Chadian women face widespread discrimination and violence. Female genital mutilation is illegal but routinely practiced by several ethnic groups.

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