Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from birth within the country’s territory and from one’s parents. The government did not register all births immediately, but children without birth certificates were allowed to enroll in schools.
The government began to implement the April 2013 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 the CAR were not considered citizens, although they were provided birth certificates. Children born to refugees from elsewhere were not considered citizens and generally were not provided birth certificates.
In February the UNHCR signed a 10-month agreement with the APLFT to monitor from March through December the issuance of birth certificates in refugee camps in the east.
Education: Primary education is free, universal, and compulsory between ages six and 11. Parents often were required to pay tuition to public schools after the primary level. Parents also were required to pay for textbooks, except in some rural areas. Parent-teacher associations often hired and paid community teachers without government reimbursement. According to the most recent World Bank Development Indicators Database, six girls attended primary school for every 10 boys. Most children did not attend secondary school.
Human rights organizations cited the problem of the “mouhadjirin,” migrant children who attended certain Islamic schools and whose teachers forced them to beg for food and money. 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 Women, Social Action, and National Solidarity is responsible for the protection of children.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal age for marriage is 18, although traditional custom allows children to marry at age 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 age 18 and provides for imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs ($95 to $950). 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 girls who objected to being forcibly married often were physically assaulted by their family members and husbands.
According to the Chadian Women Lawyers’ Association, in January, a girl under age 13 was married to a 50-year-old man in du Lac. The association filed a complaint with the governor of the Lake Region, after which the dowry was refunded and the girl released.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): 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. Practitioners performed all three types of FGM/C--clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulation. Infibulation--the least common but most severe and dangerous type--was confined largely to the Eastern Region, which borders Sudan. FGM/C 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, the lack of specific penalties hindered prosecution, and authorities prosecuted no cases during the year.
The Ministry of Women, Social Action, and National Solidarity is responsible for coordinating activities to combat FGM/C. The government, with assistance from the UNFPA, conducted public awareness campaigns to discourage FGM/C and highlight its dangers as part of its efforts. The campaign encouraged the public to speak out against FGM/C and other abuse of women and girls.
In July, in cooperation with the National Coordination Inter-African Committee, the government organized a training workshop for media professionals to increase awareness of the types and hazards of FGM/C. The workshop aimed to enlist the media in targeting religious leaders, traditional authorities, and civil society as part of the effort to increase public awareness of the dangers of the practice.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the prostitution of children with punishments of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines up to 970,000 CFA francs ($1,837) for violators. The law prohibits sexual relations with girls under age 14, even if married, but authorities rarely enforced the ban. The law criminalizes the use, procuring, or offering of a child for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.
Child Soldiers: In July the United Nations removed Chad from the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, its list of countries with children in armed conflict. The delisting--for both recruitment and use of children--followed 2013 joint government-UNICEF verification visits to all eight ANT military zones and was based on the government’s progress in implementing the 2011 Child Soldiers Action Plan signed with the United Nations.
In 2013 the government--with the support of the UN Development Program, UNHCR, UNICEF, and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs--screened 3,800 troops in all eight military zones to identify and release any recruits under age 18. The government, with its UN partners, continued to develop and implement effective age verification methods and train all military and civilian personnel involved in military recruitment. On February 4, President Deby Itno issued a presidential decree outlawing the recruitment and use of children under age 18.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.