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 Review2002200320042005200620072008200920102011

2011 Key Developments: In April 2011, longtime president Idriss Déby was reelected with 89 percent of the vote, but the balloting was boycotted by the three main opposition candidates. In parliamentary elections in February, Déby's Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party had retained its absolute majority in the National Assembly amid allegations of fraud by the opposition. The security situation improved during the year, though bandit attacks continued throughout the country.

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 legislative elections held in 2011 had originally been scheduled for 2006, but were repeatedly postponed due to insufficient equipment and staffing and delays in voter registration. The European Union praised the peaceful and fair conduct of the elections, despite some logistical problems. However, the opposition claimed that irregularities occurred both before the vote – due to the government's media dominance and the use of state resources to benefit the ruling party – and during the elections, including irregularities with electoral rolls and voter registration cards. There are more than 70 political parties, although a number were created by the government to divide the opposition. Only the ruling MPS has significant influence. Despite rivalries within Déby'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.

Civil Liberties: Freedom of expression is severely restricted, and self-censorship is common. Broadcast media are controlled by the state. In August 2010, the National Assembly passed a media bill that eliminated imprisonment as a punishment for libel, slander, or insulting the president, but prescribed heavy fines or prison sentences 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 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. In June 2011 the government signed an action plan with the United Nations to end the use of child soldiers by the country's security forces, but Chad remains a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking. Chadian women face widespread discrimination and violence. Female genital mutilation is illegal but routinely practiced by several ethnic groups.

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