Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory and from one’s parents. The government did not register all births immediately, and children without birth certificates could only be enrolled in school provisionally and were required subsequently to obtain a birth certificate.
In April the government passed the National Registry Code, which requires all children, including refugees, to have a birth certificate issued in their place of birth. Prior to passage of the law, children born to refugees from Sudan were not considered citizens and generally were not provided birth certificates. Children born to refugees from the CAR also were not considered citizens, although they were provided birth certificates.
Education: By law education is universal and tuition free, and primary education is compulsory between ages six to 11. Parents often were required to pay tuition to public schools beyond the primary level. Parents also were required to pay for textbooks, except in some rural areas. Parent-teacher associations often hired and paid approximately half of the teaching faculty without government reimbursement. Schools did not exist in many locations. According to the most recent World Bank Development Indicators Database, only six girls attended primary school for every 10 boys. Most children did not attend secondary school.
Several human rights organizations reported on the problem of the mouhadjirin, migrant children who attended certain Islamic schools and whose teachers forced them to beg for food and money. Parents often sent children with discipline problems to these schools, in the hope the harsh conditions there would ameliorate behavioral problems. There was no reliable estimate of the number of mouhadjirin.
Child Abuse: Child abuse remained a problem, but no data were available on its extent. The Ministry of Social Action and Family is responsible for the protection of children.
Forced and Early Marriage: The legal age for marriage is 18, although traditional custom allows children to marry at 14. Families generally arranged marriages for younger girls, with 11 being the minimum age for engagement.
The law prohibits the forced marriage of anyone younger than 18 and provides for imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA ($103 to $1,030). Forced marriage of girls remained a serious problem, including among refugees. According to the UNFPA database, approximately 72 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before age 18. Local NGOs reported that girls who objected to being forcibly married often were physically assaulted by their family members and husbands.
Harmful Traditional Practices: The law prohibits FGM/C, but the practice remained widespread, particularly in rural areas. According to the most recent UNFPA data, 44 percent of women and girls had undergone excision, with rates as high as 90 to 100 percent in some regions. The practice was especially prevalent in the east and south. All three types of FGM/C – clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulations – were practiced. The least common but most dangerous and severe type, infibulation, was confined largely to the region on the eastern border with Sudan. FGM/C usually was performed prior to puberty as a rite of passage.
FGM/C may be prosecuted as a form of assault under the penal code, and charges may be brought against the parents of victims, medical practitioners, or others involved. Nevertheless, prosecution was hindered by the lack of specific penalties, and no cases were prosecuted during the year.
The Ministry of Social Action and Family was responsible for coordinating activities to combat FGM/C. The government, with assistance from the UNFPA, conducted public awareness campaigns to discourage the practice and highlight its dangers as part of its efforts to combat gender-based violence. The campaign encouraged persons to speak out against FGM/C and other forms of abuse of women and girls. In July the government conducted a workshop entitled “The National Program of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Chad.”
Sexual Exploitation of Children: There is no law against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Although the law prohibits sexual relations with a girl younger than 14, even if married, the ban was rarely enforced. The law prohibits the prostitution of children and prescribes punishments of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to 970,000 CFA ($2,000) for violators. The country was not a destination for child sex tourism. There is no law that prohibits child pornography.
Child Soldiers: Unlike the previous year, there were no reports of child soldiers in the army or rebel units. All child soldiers removed from rebel units in 2012 were reunited with their families by year’s end.
Between August and October, the government, in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), conducted joint verification visits and screened all eight ANT military zones. On October 10, President Deby signed a presidential directive to implement the comprehensive Child Soldiers’ Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2011. The plan includes commitments on the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers; prevention, awareness raising, and capacity building; legal procedures and penalties for offenders; and a national action plan and prohibition of the recruitment of children in the armed forces. No child soldiers were identified during the year.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.