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Human Rights Report

CHAD 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Chad is a centralized republic in which the executive branch dominates the
legislature and judiciary . In April 2011 President Idriss Deby Itno, leader of the
Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), was elected to a fourth term with 83.6
percent of valid votes. Major opposition figures boycotted the presidential
election, which was marked by low voter turnout. In legislative elections held in
February 2011, the ruling MPS won 118 of the National Assembly ’s 188 seats.
International observers deemed both elections to be legitimate and credible , despite
logistical problems. There were instances in which elements of the security forces
acted independently of civilian control .

The most significant human rights problems were security force abuse, including
torture and rape ; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and discrimination
and violence against women and children.

Other human rights abuses included arbitrary arrest and detention, including
incommunicado detention ; lengthy pretrial detention; denial of fair public trial;
executive influence on the judiciary; and property seizures. The government
restrict ed freedom o f speech , press, assembly, and movement. The ruling party
controlled the political process, and government corruption was a problem.
Refugees were abused . Child abuse, including female genital mutilation/cutting
(FGM/C) occurred, as did child marriage a nd the sexual exploitation of children.
There were reports of child soldiers. Trafficking in persons, particularly children,
was a problem. Discrimination against persons with disabilities, persons with
HIV/AIDS, and ethnic groups occurred. Child labor and forced labor, including by
children, were problems.

The government seldom took steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed
abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government, and
impunity was a problem .

Section 1. Respe ct for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that the government or its agents
committed arbitrary or unlawful killings; however, impunity for killings in
previous years remained a problem.

In its Annual Report 2012, Amnesty International (AI) stated, “ Chadian officials
and members of armed groups responsible for serious human rights violations,
including unlawful killings, rape, and other tortu re, continued to act with
impunity. ”

No investigation s w ere conducted into the 2011 deaths of seven prisoners, who
were shot and killed by prison guards (see section 1.c.) .

Interethnic violence resulted in deaths during the year (see section 6) .

b. Disappearance

During the year there were no reports of politically motivated disappearances,
secret detentions, or disappearances of individuals in detention. However, the
whereabouts of persons arrested for political reasons in previous years remained
u nknown, and persons were held incommunicado during the year.

In May 2011 a presidential decree announced that a previously established
interministerial committee formed to address the pending case of disappeared
opposition leader Ibni Oumar Saleh would be augmented by two international
criminal prosecutors, one from the EU and the other from the Organisation
Internationale de la Francophonie. Despite the decree, no action was taken during
the year. A total of 1,150 persons disappeared in the course of 20 08 fighting, 58 of
whom (including Ibni) were believed to have been the victims of criminal acts.
The remaining 1,092 reportedly were considered to be casualties of war. A
number of witnesses were called to testify about Ibni’ s arrest and imprisonment.
A ccording to the government, investigative efforts increased on the cases of some
of the 57 other victim s.

Unlike in 2011 there were no reports of cross- border kidnapping of children in the
Mayo -Kebbi region along the border with Cameroon. In previous ye ars armed
individuals, both local and from neighboring countries, reportedly kidnapped
children, especially ones who were Fulani, due to a perception that their families
were wealthier than those of other ethnic groups.

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United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment

The constitution and law prohibit such practices. H owever, AI report ed that
police, gendarme s, and members of the National Security Agency (ANS) regularly
tortured suspects, sometimes with the involvement of local a dministrative
authorities.

Security force members raped women and girls, including internally displaced
persons (IDPs) and refugees (see section 2.d.) . For example, i n August gendarmes
from the Ninth District of N’Djamena allegedly raped three young girls. The
g endarmes were arrested and await ed trial at year ’s end.

Camp leaders continued to report that rape of refugee women was common,
especially of those who ventured outside their camps. Victims were reluctant to
come forward for a variety of cultural reasons and a lack of confidence in the
judicial system .

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening.

Physical Conditions : The government did not keep statistics on the number of
prisoners and detainees, and no information from other sources was available.
Male juveniles were not always separated from adult male prisoners, and children
sometimes were held with their inmate mothers. Male and female prisoners were
separa ted, and conditions for women were no different than those for men. Pretrial
detainees were held with convicted prisoners.

E stimates of deaths due to poor prison conditions varied, but no countrywide
estimates were available. A local human rights organization reported the deaths of
three prisoners–Oumar Sossal Idriss, Bandje Eric, and Ahmat Zarkaria –in March,
allegedly due to lack of adequate medical care. The same organization reported
that three other prisoners with serious health conditions were tr ansferred from
Koro Toro Prison to Moussoro Prison without receiving medical care.

In February a local human rights organization publis hed a report describing
inhuman conditions at Moussoro Prison . The report found, for example, that 78
prisoners were held in a single 194 -square-foot cell, there was a lack of food and
potable water , and health services were inadequate. In July the government sent an

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interministerial mission to assess conditions at Moussoro and claimed to have
made several improvements. However, local human rights organizations
maintained that conditions at Moussoro had not improved.

Prisons were seriously overcrowded, had poor sanitation, and provided inadequate
food, shelter, and medical facilities. Regional detention centers, which were
crumbling, overcrowded, and without adequate protection for women and youth s,
had no budget for food and provided no meals for inmates. Prison guards were not
regularly paid and sometimes “released ” prisoners who offered compensation in
return. Pro visions for ventilation, temperature, lighting, and access to potable
water were inadequate or nonexistent. The law provides that a doctor must visit
each prison three times a week, but this provision was not respected. Forced labor
in prisons occurred.

On September 10, AI released the report We Are All Dying Here , which
characterized prison conditions as “so deplorable that they amount to cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment. ” Based on visits to six prisons,
interviews, and other resea rch conducted in the year before the report’ s release, AI
found that food, water, medicine, health care, hygiene, sanitation, and ventilation
were inadequate or nonexistent. Most prisoners AI visited were emaciated and
weak, some were chained 24 hours a d ay, and many suffered skin diseases,
sexually transmitted infections, malaria, or tuberculosis. According to the report,
resources allocated to the prisons were limited and undermined by bribery and
corruption. AI called on the government to launch “ immediate investigations into
the litany of human rights violations and abuses committed in prisons. ”

Administration: As a result of inadequate recordkeeping and management, many
individuals remained in prison after completing their sentences or after courts had
ordered their release . Authorities did not use alternatives to sentencing for
nonviolent offenders. There was no prison ombudsman, and there were no
mechanisms by which prisoners could submit complaints to judicial authorities
about prison condition s. Prisoners generally had access to visitors, however, and
were permitted religious observance according to their preference .

Monitoring : The government permitted the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) to visit civilian prisons under the c ontrol of the Ministry of Justice,
and during the year the ICRC conducted such visits. While the ICRC also was
granted access to military prisons, local human rights organizations were not.
Local human rights organizations continued to report the existence of secret
prisons run by the ANS; the government denied the reports. Human rights

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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organizations also alleged that both military members and civilians were detained
at military bases and held incommunicado.

The government honored a permanent authorization provided to the Chadian
Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, allowing the
organization to visit civilian prisons at any time without advance notice. Other
local nongovernmental organizations ( NGOs), including human rights groups,
were required to obtain authorization from a court or from the director of prisons.
Local NGOs were granted access to most civilian prisons, although several
organizations reported they wer e not provided access to Toro Koro Prison , despite
the prison’ s transfer to civilian authority .

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention. H owever, security
forces violated these provisions. Secur ity forces continued to arrest and detain
individuals without charge and in some cases prevented them from receiving visits
from family members, doctors, or lawyers. Others were detained by police and
gendarm es for civil matters, contrary to law .

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

The military (ANT), gendarmerie, national police, nomadic guard (GNNT), and
ANS are responsible for internal security. The Integrated Security Detachment
(DIS), which reports to the National Coordination of Support to H umanitarian
Activities and to the Integrated Security Detachment, is responsible for reducing
insecurity in refugee camps and for protecting refugees, IDPs, and humanitarian
workers. The ANT, gendarmerie, and GNNT report to the Ministry of Defense;
the Na tional Police report to the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration; and
the ANS report s to the president.

Police were corrupt and involved in banditry, arms proliferation, and extortion.
Security force impunity was widespread. For example, members of the Judiciary
Police, an office within the National Police with arrest authority, often did not
enforce domestic court orders against the military or members of their own ethnic
groups.

The government continued to make some progress in modernization an d
professionalization of the military. There were isolated reports of former soldiers

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
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who posed as active duty military, committing crimes with government-issued
weapons.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention

Although the law requires a judicial official to sign arrest warrants, this did not
always occur in practice . There is no law requiring that detainees be charged,
tried, or released within a certain period of time, and detainees were not always
promptly informed of charges against them. Judicial determinations were not
made promptly. The law requires access to bail and counsel, but there were cases
in which neither was provided. While t he law provides for legal counsel for
indigent defendants and prompt access to family members, this usually did not
occur in practice . Detainees were held incommunicado. While there was no
specific legal provision for habeas corpus and no specific law requiring authorities
to provid e compensation to persons who had been unlawfully detained, the
constitution upholds these requirements through its ratification of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’
Rights .

Arbitrary Arrest : The government arrested opposition members, labor leaders, and
human righ ts activists during the year (see sections 1.e., 2.a., 5, and 7.a.) .

For example, in late January former minister of planning Mahamat Ali Hassane
was dismissed from office and arrested on charges of embezzlement. On February
20, the f ormer minister of good governance , Ahmadaye al Hassan , also was
dismissed from office and arrested on corruption charges. Although the
constitution requires the Supreme Court to adjudicate cases involving senior
government officials, both cases were heard by lower courts, which dismissed the
cases due to procedural irregularities. Observers charged that the arrests were
politically motivated.

According to a July report on Moussoro Prison by the Ministry of Human Rights,
t wo persons arrested in March during mass fights rem ained in prison at year ’s end,
even though their innocence was proven while they still were in jail. No further
information was available .

Pretrial Detention : Lengthy pretrial detention remained a problem. Persons
accused of crimes could be held for se veral years before being charged or tried,
particularly if they were arrested for felonies in the provinces and transferred to

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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Moussoro Prison . Lengthy pretrial detention resulted from a weak judiciary, which
functioned poorly in urban areas and generally was ignored outside of the capital.

In October the government opened a professional school to train magistrates and
prison gu ards in procedures to expedite judicial processes and curb lengthy pretrial
detention; 270 students attended the school ’s first academic year .

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

Although t he constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary , the
judiciary was ineffective, underfunded, overburdened, and subject to executive
i nterference. Intimidation and violence against judicial branch members occurred,
and members of the judiciary sometimes received death threats or were demoted or
removed from their positions for not acquiescing to pressure from officials.
Government officials, particularly members of the military, often were able to
avoid prosecution. Courts generally were weak and in some areas nonexistent or
nonfunctional. There were only 150 judges in the country , and most wr ote court
documents by hand.

While a judi cial oversight commission has the power to investigate judicial
decisions and address suspected miscarriages of justice, the president appointed
commission members, increas ing executive control over the judiciary and
diminishing the council ’s authority .

D uring the year the government suspended several judges in actions th at local
human rights organizations characterized as further e vidence of executive
interference in the judiciary. T he government also suspended due process in the
trials of senior government officials. AI accused the government of using the
judiciary to harass political opponents during the year .

For example , on March 4, opposition National Assembly D eputy Ngothe Gatta
Gali was arrested in the Moyen Chari region on accusations of poaching warthogs
and attempting to cover up the act by bribing a gendarme. A local court acquitted
Gali of poaching but convicted him of bribery and sentenced him to one year in
prison, despite Gali’ s constitutional immunity as a Nationa l Assembly member.
Gali appealed the decision, and on April 24, an appeals court in Moundou
acquitted him of all charges due to irregularities in the handling of the case and
lack of legal basis in the initial arrest. Judge Emmanuel Dekeumbe, who ruled i n
favor of Gali ’s appeal, subsequently was suspended for violating the

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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confidentiality of court proceedings. Dekeumbe, along with another suspended
judge, appealed their suspensions to the Ministry of Justice.

In a separate case, lawyers for former secre tary general of the presidency Mahamat
Saleh Annadif, who was arrested on April 17 for complicity in embezzlement of
public funds, claimed they were denied access to their client and that legal
proceedings against him were flawed. On July 17, the Supreme Court ruled that
the case be dismissed due to procedural flaws.

The legal system i s based on French civil law. However, t he constitution
recognizes traditional law in locales where it is long established if it does not
interfere with public order or constitutional provisions for equality for all citizens.
Applicable law sometimes was confusing, as courts tended to blend the formal
French -derived legal code with traditional practices ; customary law often
superseded Napoleonic law in practice. Residents of rural areas and refugee/IDP
camps often lacked access to formal judicial institutions, and legal reference texts
were not available outside the capital or in Arabic. In many minor civil cases, the
popul ation relied on traditional courts presided over by village chiefs, canton
chiefs, or sultans. Penalties in traditional courts varied and sometimes depended
on the clan affiliations of the victim and perpetrator. Decisions of traditional
courts can be ap pealed to a formal court.

A 2011 law provides that crimes committed by military members be tried by a
military court, although by year’s end the government ha d not yet established
military courts. In the absence of permanent military courts, military trials
occurred on an ad hoc basis. Military members generally were tried in civil courts.

Trial Procedures

The law provides for a presumption of innocence . In practice many judges
assumed a suspect’ s guilt, sometimes as a means to extort money from the
d efendant. For example, in some rape cases that reached the courts, defendants
were fined rather than tried. Trials are public and use juries except in politically
sensitive cases. Defendants have the right to be present in court. While defendants
have the right to consult an attorney in a timely manner , detaine es were not always
given access to counsel. The law states that indigent persons should be promptly
provided with legal counsel in all cases, although this seldom occurred in practice.
H uman rights groups sometimes provided free counsel to indigent clients.
Defendants, their lawyers, and judges have the right to question witnesses and to
present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Defendants and their

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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attorneys have access to government-held evidence, except in politically sensitive
cases. D efendants have the right not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt, but
the government did not respect this right. Defendants have the right to appeal
court decisions. The law extends these rights to all citizens.

In some cases local leaders may decide to apply the Muslim concept of “ dia,”
which involves a payment to the family of a crime victim. The practice was
common in Muslim areas. Non-Muslim groups, which supported implementation
of a civil code, continued to challenge the use of the dia concept, a sserting that it
was unconstitution al.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

Unlike in previous years, there were no known political prisoners.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

Suits for human rights violations may be brought before the penal tribunal or the
penal court; compensation is addressed in the civil court. Administrative and
judicial remedies, such as mediation, are available. Defendants may not appeal
decisions on human rights cases to an international regional court. The judiciary
was not always independent or impartial in civil matters.

Property Restitution

Using its power of eminent domain, the government during the year confiscated
private property and demolished homes, businesses, and the headquarters of the
NGO Youth Association for Social Inclusiveness as part of ongoing urban renewal
efforts in N’Djamena. The government deprived n umerous persons of shelter and
their means of livelihood. Citizens and NGOs alike alleged that the government
failed to give proper advance notification or otherwise follow the legal
requirements for proper compensation. While t he government claimed that it
provided compensation to those with deeds, critics charged that the compensation
was inadequate and not available to all. With the support of AI and local human
rights organizations, N’Djamena residents established neighborhood associations
to counter arbitrary seizures. In March AI and a local human rights organization
hosted a conference to raise awareness o f the issue .

In February hundreds of families were left homeless after authorities conducted
mass forced evictions in N ’Djamena to make room for the construction of a hotel.

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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At least 62 compounds, home to more than 670 persons as well as the community
school in the Sabangali area of the capital, were demolished. According to AI, the
evictions were conducted without due process, adequate notice, or consultation.
The government provided some compensation and alternative housing , but many
of those evicted complained that the compensation was well below the value of the
homes.

O n May 13, in N ’Djamena, authorities deployed municipal officials and police to
relocate temporarily merchants and their shops from Dembe market, which was
being demolished to allow for the construction of an overpass. An altercation
between merchants and police resulted in the death of one of the merchants and
numerous injuries; the merchants claimed the government had provided two
alternate sites for their shops but no compensation. According to human rights
organizations, the circumstances surrounding the death of the merchant were
unclear. No investigation was conducted by year ’s end.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although t he constitution provides for the right to privacy and inviolability of the
home , these rights were not respected in practice . Government authorities entered
homes w ithout judicial authorization and seized private property without due
process (see section 1.e.). Security forces regularly stopped citizens and extorted
money or confiscate d belongings.

The Ministry of Public Security and Immigration continued to prohibit both the
possession and use of satellite telephones. Military and police personnel searched
for and confiscated satellite telephones.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Libert ies, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution provides for freedom of opinion, expression, and press, but the
government did not always respect these rights. Journalists were subjected to
threats and intimidation.

Freedom of Speech : The 2010 media law abolished prison sentences for
defamation and insult but prohibits “ inciting racial, ethnic, or religious hatred, ”
which is punishable by one to two years in prison and a fine of one to three million

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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CFA francs ($2,000 to $6,000). Unlike in previous years, private individuals were
generally free to criticize the government without reprisal.

Freedom of Press : The country’ s only daily newspaper , Le Progres, was
subsidized by the state in return for its political support. The few opposit ion
newspapers, such as N’Djamena Bi -Hebdo and Abba Garde, had limited influence
outside the capital due to low literacy rates and lack of purchasing power in rural
areas, according to the international NGO Reporters Without Borders. Unlike in
the past, w hen the government controlled the media, newspapers were generally
able to criticize government policies and activities without reprisal. Opposition
newspapers frequently published cartoon caricatures of government ministers and
the president. Nevertheless, reporters and publishers risked harassment from
authorities when publishing critical articles .

For example, in September a court convicted Jean -Claude Nekim, the editor of
N’Djamena Bi -Hebdo, of defamation and inciting racial hatred for publ ishing a
petition critical of President Deby ’s ethnic group (see section 7). Although the
2010 Media Law abolished prison sentences for defamation, Nekim was given a
suspended prison sentence, fined, and ordered not to publish N’ Djamena Bi-Hebdo
for three months. However, the following week Nekim published a caricature of
the judge who sentenced him, after which he was charged with contempt of court.
At year ’s end Nekim await ed trial for the contempt charge and also an appeals trial
on the first charge .

Radio remained the most important medium of mass communication. The
government- owned Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne had several branches.
There were numerous private radio stations that broadcast throughout the country,
many of them owned by religi ous organizations. Radio call-in programs broadcast
the views of callers that included open criticism of the government and calls for the
government to be changed through the local elections process. During the year
several new community radio stations w ere established .

The government owned and operated the only domestic television station.

Violence and Harassment : Journalists were harassed and attacked during the year.

For example, on July 2, Ahmadou Bouba Bondaba , a journalist previously
employed at the community radio station La Voix du Paysan, was attacked and
beaten, resulting in a fractured collarbone, according to R eporters Without
Borders . No suspects were arrested by year ’s end.

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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In September, in the southern town of Doba, La Voix du Paysan broadcast a series
of reports in which local citizens accused Doba ’s mayor , Lamlengar Ngasebey , of
abuse of power, mismanagement, and hiring practices that favored attractive
women. Following the broadcast, Ngasebey or his family intimidated and
threatened three journalists from the station. Felix Djimadoumngar, a reporter for
La Voix du Paysan , was assaulted. Although police confirmed the assault, no
action was taken against the perpetrators.

Censorship or Content Re strictions : On rare occasions journalists were warned in
writing by the High Council for Communication to produce more “responsible ”
journalism or face fines. Some journalists and publishers practiced self –
censorship .

Libel Laws/National Security : On October 10, the High Council on
Communications issued a formal warning to La Voix du Paysan, claiming that the
station’ s live broadcast on September 30 incit ed the public to “ insurrection against
the government. ” The station broadcasted a sermon by a bishop who criticized the
government for allegedly failing to use oil wealth to benefit the region .

Internet Freedom

There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports
that the government monitored e -mail or Internet chat rooms. According to
International Telecommunication Union statistics, 1.9 percent of citizens used the
Internet in 2011.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Assembly

Although t he constitution provides for freedom of assembly , the government did
not always respect this right in practice. The law requires organizers to notify the
government five days in advance of demonstrations.

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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On August 8, several hundred students convened to protest the cancellation of
results of the annual baccalaureate exam. The government used tear gas and water
to dis perse the assembled students. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.

No action was taken against members of the security forces who beat and detained
demonstrators in October and November 2011 prote sting low salaries and price
hikes in food and fuel. Demonstrators included magistrates, teachers, and health
workers .

Freedom of Association

The constitution and law provide for freedom of association, and the government
generally respected this right in practice. While a n ordinance requires the Ministry
of Territorial Administration to provide prior authorization before an association,
including a labor union, may be formed, there were no reports that the ordinance
was enforced. The ordinance also allows for the immediate administrative
dissolution of an association and permits authorities to monitor association funds.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State ’s International Religious Freedom Report at
www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt .

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of
Refugees, and Stateless Persons

Although the constitution and law provide for freedom of movement, foreign
travel, emigration, and repatriation, the government imposed limits on these rights.
The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection
and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, and other persons of
concern.

In -country Movement : Lack of security in the eastern part of the country ,
primarily due to armed bandits, occasionally hindered the ability of humanitarian
organizations to provide services to refugees. NGO workers traveling between
camps were sometimes victims of carjackings and armed robberies, although there
were fewer such reports than in previous years.

CHAD
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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Emigration and Repatriation : According to the International Organization for
Migration (IOM), since 2011 a pproximately 130,000 Chadian migrants living in
Libya fled the violence there and returned to the country. Many arrived without
documentation, assets, skills, or education. The large number of returnees, many
of whom were witnesses to, or victims of , violence, placed a significant strain on
local communities, where housing and basic medical services were severely
limited. The IOM and the government provided assistance .

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Approximately 125,000 IDPs, most of whom were displaced in the east in 2005 as
a result of interethnic fighting over scarce water and land resources during a severe
drought, resided in 38 camps in the country. T he UNHCR assisted the return of
approximately 56,000 IDPs during the last two years. Many IDPs were reluctant to
return to their original homes due to security concerns, limited infrastructure and
access to basic services, and because their property had been resettled by other
groups. While the overall security environment improved in r egions hosting IDPs
and refugees, localized incidents of banditry continued . Government officials
remained committed to helping IDPs return home or resettle elsewhere in the
country but lacked a strategy and sufficient resources to achieve this goal. The
government continued to allow IDPs access to humanitarian organizations and
permitted them to accept assistance provided by these groups. The UN and other
humanitarian organizations provided services to IDPs and refugees, with an
increased focus on impro ving self-sufficiency and livelihoods among these
populations .

Sexual violence against displaced women and girls in the east was a problem.
T here were reports that men in uniform, who may have included security force
members, local indigenous groups, bandits, and other IDPs, raped female IDPs. As
in the rest of the country, perpetrators of sexual violence rarely were prosecuted,
and government efforts to protect vulnerable women and girls were inadequate.
However, the government conducted extensive sensitization campaigns against
sexual violence and urged women to come forward without fear of reprisal. DIS
personnel, for example, were trained in sexual and gender -based violence, and all
DIS units had female officers.

Although there were more than 70 international humanitarian organizations in the
eastern part of the country, there were gaps in their protection mechanisms as well.
The mobile courts set up by the UN made only occasional visits to each area and
rarely addressed sexual violence cases. The formal judicial system was unable to

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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provide consistent and predictable recourse or legal protections. Traditional legal
systems were subject to ethnic or regional variations.

Tension between IDPs and local communities existed. IDPs generally were
l ocated near potable water , and health services were provided to them by
international humanitarian agencies, sometimes result ing in resentment among host
communities that did not receive such services.

An indeterminate number of persons lost their homes a nd means of livelihood as a
result of the government’ s ongoing urban renewal program in N ’Djamena (see
section s 1.e. and 1.f.) .

Protection of Refugees

Access to Asylum : The country ’s laws do not provide for the granting of asylum
or refugee status. H owever, the government has established a system for pro viding
protection to refugees.

Approximately 280,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur remained in the country;
most were located in 12 camps along the eastern border with Sudan.
Approximately 55,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) lived
primarily in eight camps in the south, and approximately 5,000 refugees of various
natio nalities lived in urban areas.

Refugee Abuse : There were cases of rape, attempted rape, an d sexual and gender-
based assault in refugee camps. In the majority of cases, the perpetrators were
either fellow refugees or unknown individuals just outside the camps. The number
of reported cases– 1,020 in 2010 and 946 in 2011 –likely underestimated the
problem since rape and gender -based violence were seldom reported due to
cultural sensitivities. P erpetrators of sexual violence rarely were prosecuted.
While the DIS was generally effective in improving protection for refugee and IDP
camps and for UN and other humanitarian operations in the eastern part of the
country, many of the attacks on refugee women and girls fell outside its area of
jurisdiction .

Due to the absence of rebel activity and implementation of education campaigns in
camps during 201 1 and 2012, there was a significant decrease in opportunities for
militarization of refugee camps by Sudanese and Chadian rebels, particularly in
camps located close to the border. There were no verified cases of recruitment of
refugees, including children, into rebel armed groups during the year .

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Access to Basic Services : Antirefugee sentiment among citizens in some
surrounding areas was high. Refugee c hildren often had better access to education
and health services than those in surrounding local populations due to extensive
humanitarian interventions on their beha lf. Some humanitarian organizations
included host communities in their programming to help mitigate this tension.
Resentment between citizens and refugees also occurred due to competition for
local resources such as wood, water, and grazing land, and bec ause Sudanese
refugees received goods and services that were not available to the local
population. Similar conflicts occurred in areas hosting refugees from the CAR.

Durable Solutions : The government cooperated with the UNHCR in supporting
local integr ation of refugees from the CAR in southern Chad. However, the
government did not support the UNHCR’s efforts to promote foreign resettlement
for refugees from Darfur. The government allowed refugees from the CAR to be
referred for resettlement in foreign countries.

Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their
Government

Although the constitution and law provide citizens with the right to change their
government, the government continued to limit this right in practice. The
executive branch dominated the other branches of government.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections : International observers–including the EU, African Union, and
the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie –and government and
opposition -affiliated civil society actors deemed the February 2011 legislative
elections to be legitimate and credible , albeit fraught with operational problems.
There was no election -related violence or evi dence of a systematic effort to deny
voters t heir right to freely choose . Security and government officials generally
maintained a neutral posture during the campaigns.

The presidential vote in April 2011 occurred without violence or incident and was
considered an accurate reflection of the will of the people, although local groups
criticized the lack of participation by the three opposition candidates and low voter
turnout.

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Political Parties : There were approximately 132 registered political parties, of
which more than 100 were associated with the ruling party. The main opposition
coalition was well treated, in part to provide proof that the country had a multiparty
system . By contrast, sm aller opposition parties were subjected to government
interference .

The law prohibits the government from discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, but
ethnicity continued to influence government appointments and political alliances.
Political parties and groups generally had readily identifiable regional or ethnic
bases. Northerners –particularly members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, including
the Bideyat subclan to which the president belongs –were overrepresented in key
institutions of state power, inc luding the military officer corps, elite military units,
and the presidential staff.

Opposition leaders accused the government of denying funds and equal broadcast
time on state -run media.

Participation of Women and Minorities : There were 10 women in the 188-seat
National Assembly. Five of the 40 cabinet ministers were women. Both the
cabinet and the National Assembly had diverse ethnic representation.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties f or corruption. H owever, authorities did not
implement the law effectively, and corruption was pervasive at all levels of
government. Based on t he World Bank’s most recent Worldwide Governance
Indicators, corruption was a severe problem.

Local human rights organizations noted an increase during the year in police and
gendarme abuse and extortion of motorists. There were reports that security forces
verbally abused, physically assaulted, and arbitrarily arrested travelers, often using
the pretext of minor traffic violations. No action was taken against perpetrators
during the year .

Judicial lack of independence and corruption also was a problem .

During the year the government took several steps to curb corruption, including
investigating and dismissing dozens of civil servants.

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On January 28, Mahamat Zen Bada, the head of Presidential Projects, was arrested
on corruption charges; Zen Bada had previously been arrested and removed from
office in 2009 when serving as mayor of N’Djamena, but he was released when
charges against him were dropped in 2010. Zen Bada remained in detention
awaiting trial at year ’s end.

On March 23, President Deby issued a decree dismissing approximately 400
customs agents and transferring an estimated 300 others for alleged acts of
corruption and fraud. On May 21, the minister of justice launched Operation
Cobra, an initiative to curb corruption and inefficiency in government services,
particularly in revenue collection agencies. In June Prime Ministe r Emmanuel
Nadingar visited several cities to support Operation Cobra .

The Ministry of Justice and Good Governance is responsible for fighting
government corruption.

Public officials were subject to financial disclosure laws. H owever, the law was
not enforced, and officials did not readily disclose details of their financial status.

The law does not provide for public access to government information, although
the government provided such access to government-employed journalists. The
government’ s budget was publicly available in printed form upon request from the
Ministry of Finance and included revenue and expenditure data. Independent
journalists stated that they were not given sufficient access to government
information.

Section 5. Governme ntal Attitude Regarding International and
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

A number of domestic and international human rights groups operated in the
country, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights c ases;
however, government officials were sometimes unresponsive or hostile to their
findings. Human rights groups were outspoken in publicizing abuses through
reports, press releases, and the print media but only occasionally intervened
successfully with authorities.

The government harassed human rights workers.

For example, during the year authorities harassed and subjected to court actions
Deuzomb e Passalet, director of the local NGO Droits de l’ Homme sans Frontieres .

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In December 2011 Passalet was arrested on charges of making false or libelous
accusations and transferred to Moussoro Prison . The charges were later dropped,
and he was released .

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Although the constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on origin, race,
gender, religion, political opinion, or social status, the government did not
effectively enforce these provisions. The law does not address discrimination
based on sexual orientation or gender identity .

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence : Rape is prohibited and punishable by hard labor .
Nevertheless, rape, including rape of female refugees and IDPs, was a problem
(see section 2.d.). No reliable data on the extent of the problem was available.
The la w does not specifically address spousal rape. Although police often arrested
and detained alleged perpetrators, rape cases usually were not tried, and most
suspects were released. Cultural norms sometimes forced women and girls to
marry their attackers to preserve their honor .

Although the law prohibits violence against women, domestic violence, including
spousal abuse, was common. Wives traditionally were subject to the authority of
their husbands, and they had limited legal recourse in cases of abuse. Family or
traditional authorities could provide assistance in such cases and often did, but
police rarely intervened. During the year some women began reporting cases of
violence and abuse to local human rights organizations.

Sexual Harassment : The la w does not prohibit sexual harassment, and such
harassment was a problem.

Reproductive Rights : The law provides for the right of couples and individuals to
decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, as well as
to have access to information regarding birth control methods. However, many
persons lacked access to medical care, particularly those in rural areas. Couples
lacked access to contraception and, according to the UN Population Fund, only an
estimated 3 percent of women used any form of contraception. According to the
UN Population Fund, the incidence of maternal mortality was 1,200 per 100,000
live births, and a woman’ s lifetime risk of maternal death was one in 14.
According to UN estimates, only 14 percent of births were attended by skilled

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health personnel. The country had a severe shortage of health-care providers
(fewer than 400 physicians) and a significant shortage of nurses, midwives,
hospital staff, and specialists such as pediatricians. Prenatal care was lim ited due
to inadequate health infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. Low immunization
rates and poor postnatal and child- care education were other constraints.

Discrimination : Discrimination against women and exploitation of women were
widespread. Although formal property and inheritance laws do not discriminate
against women, local leaders adjudicated most inheritance cases in favor of men,
according to traditional practice. Women did not have equal opportunities for
education and training, making it difficult for them to compete for formal sector
jobs. Women suffered discrimination in access to employment, credit, and pay
equity for substantially similar work, and in owning or managing businesses due to
cultural norms. The law does not address polygyny, but husbands may opt at any
time to declare a marriage polygynous. If a husband takes a second wife, the first
wife has the right to request that her marriage be dissolved, but she must repay her
bride price and other ma rriage-related expenses.

The Ministry of Social Action and Family is responsible for addressing gender –
related issues.

Children

Birth Registration : Citizenship is derived by birth within the country ’s territory
and from one ’s parents. H owever, childre n born to refugees from Sudan were not
considered citizens and generally not provided birth certificates. Children born to
refugees from the CAR also generally were not considered citizens but were
provided birth certificates. The government did not regi ster all births immediately,
and children without birth certificates could only be enrolled in school
provisionally and were required to subsequently obtain a birth certificate. Schools
could call on witnesses to verify the age of the child.

Education : By law education is universal and tuition-free, and primary education
is compulsory between the ages of six and 11. H owever, parents often were
required to pay tuition to public schools beyond the primary level. Parents also
were required to pay for text books, except in some rural areas. Parent- teacher
associations hired and paid approximately half of the teach ing faculty , without
government reimbursement. Schools did not exist in many locations. According
to the World Bank Development Indicators Database, only six girls attended

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primary school for every 10 boys. Most children did not attend secondary school,
where the enrollment rate of girls was also lower than that of boys.

Several human rights organizations reported on the problem of the mouhadjirin,
migrant children who attended certain Islamic schools and w hose teachers forced
them to beg for food and money. Parents often sent c hildren with discipline
problems to these schools, in the hope that the harsh conditions there would
ameliorat e behavioral problems. There was no reliable estimate of the number of
mouhadjirin.

Child Abuse : Child abuse remained a problem, but no data was available on its
extent. The Ministry of Social Action and Family, which is responsible for the
protection of children, conducted public awareness campaigns on child abuse
during the year .

Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that armed bandits kidnapped
children to obtain ransom in the Mayo-Kebbi Ouest Region (see section 1.b.).

Child Marriage : The legal age for marriage is 18, although traditional law allows
children to marry at 13 and 14. In practice families arranged marriages for girls as
young as 12 or 13, with 11 being the minimum age for engagement. The law
prohibits forced marriages 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
($100 to $1,000).

Forced marriage of girls was a serious problem, including among refugees.
According to the UNICEF data collected betwe en 2000 and 2009, approximately
72 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of
18. The custom of buying and selling child brides was widespread. Girls who
objected to being forcibly married often were physically assaulted by their family
members and husbands. Many young wives were forced to work long hours for
their husbands in the fields or at home .

Harmful Traditional Practices : The law prohibits f emale genital mutilation/ cutting .
H owever, the practice was widesprea d, particularly in rural areas. The UN
Population Fund reported that 44 percent of women and girls had undergone
excision, with rates as high as 90 to 100 percent in some regions. The practice was
prevalent , especially among ethnic groups in the east and south. All three types of
FGM/C were practiced. The least common but most dangerous and severe type,

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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 could be prosecuted as a form of assault under the penal code, and charges
could be brought against the parents of victims, medical practitioners, or others
involved in the action. However, prosecution was hindered by the lack of specific
penalty provisions in the penal code. There were no reports that any such suits
were brought 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 UN,
continued to conduct 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 and other forms of abuse
against women and girls.

Sexual Exploitation of Children : Although the law prohibits sexual relations with
a girl younger than age 14, even if she is married, the ban was rarely enforce d.

Child Soldiers : While the law prohibits the use of child soldiers, joint government-
UNICEF inspections conducted during the year revealed the presence of child
soldiers in ANT and rebel units. The first joint inspection, conducted from June 9
to June 14 in the Guera and Salamat regions, result ed in the identification of 24
possible cases of underage recruitment by the ANT in Mongo , of which only seven
were verified as child soldiers. The government issued a warning to all officers
against recruiting child soldiers and conducted a second inspec tion on October 6 of
all newly recruited army units, which identified an additional 20 child soldiers . A
separate joint government -UNICEF inspection of surrendered forces of ex-rebel
leader Baba Ladde in October found 26 child soldiers. Child soldiers identified in
the three inspections were turned over to the Ministry of Social Action, reunited
with their families, and provided with vocational training through UNICEF
funding . At year ’s end there was no evidence of child soldiers in the ranks.

The government continued to implement a comprehensive child soldiers’ action
plan signed with the UN in June 2011. The plan included commitments on
demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers; prevention, awareness raising,
and capacity building; legal procedures and discipline for offenders; and access to
military sites for detection and investigation of the use of child soldiers. In
addition to conducting joint inspections with UNICEF , the government appointed

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points of contact at the Ministries of Defense and S ocial Action , as called for under
the action plan.

According to UNICEF , 1,0 87 child soldiers were returned to civilian life between
2007 and Novemb er. The significant improvement of the security environment in
the east since 2010 facilitated family tracing and reunification in previously
inaccessible areas. The government cooperated with international efforts to
provide rehabilitation services .

International Child Abductions : The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague
Conventi on on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Anti -Semitism

There was no known Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic
acts.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State ’s Trafficking in Persons Report at
www.state.gov/j/tip .

Persons with Disabilities

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities . While the
government made efforts to enforce this prohibition in N ’Djamena, it was unable
to do so through out the country. There are no laws or programs to ensure access to
buildings for persons with disabilities. T he government operated a few education,
employment, and therapy programs for persons with disabilities.

Children with some physical disabilities attended primary, secondary, and higher
education institutions. The government supported schools for children with visual
or mental disabilities. The country had numerous individuals with disabilities
caused by polio, many of whom held high-ranking posi tions in the government.

The government, in conjunction with NGOs, continued to sponsor an annual day of
activities to raise awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities. The Ministry
of Social Action and Family is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with
disabilities.

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National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There are approximately 200 ethnic groups, many of which were concentrated
regionally. They speak 12 8 distinct primary languages. M ost ethnic groups were
affiliated with one of two regional and cultural traditions–Arabs and Muslims in
the n orth, center, and east, and Christian or animist groups in the south . Internal
migration in response to urbanization and desertification resulted in the integration
of these groups in some areas.

Interethnic violence occurred and often was connected to competition over scarce
arable land, although there were fewer such incidents than in recent years. In
November a clash between herders and sedentary populations in the Mongo
resu lted in five deaths.

Virtually all ethnic groups practiced s ocietal discrimination, which was evident in
patterns of employment.

Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identity

The law prohibits but does not define “ unnatural acts,” and there was no evidence
that the law was used against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT)
persons during the year. No specific laws apply to LGBT persons. There were
few reports of viol ence or discrimination against LGBT persons, in large part
because most individuals were discreet about their sexual orientation due to social
and cultural strictures against homosexuality. There were no LGBT organizations
in the country.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

The law provides individuals with HIV/AIDS the same rights as other persons and
obligates the government to provide information, education, and access to tests and
treatment for persons with HIV/AIDS. However, persons with HIV/ AIDS
continued to be subject to societal discrimination, and government officials were
not always prepared to provide them information on their rights and treatment
options. Women sometimes were accused of passing HIV to their husbands and
were threatened by family members with judicial action or banishment. During the
year the first lady spoke openly on the issue of HIV/AIDS and criticized
discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS .

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United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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Section 7. Worker Rights

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law allows all employees except members of the armed forces to form or join
unions of their choice without excessive requirements, but the authorization of the
Ministry of Territorial Administration is required. The Ministry of Territorial
Administration also can order the immediate administrative dissolution of a union.
The law allows unions to organize and bargain collectively. The law recognizes
the right to strike but restricts the right of civil servants and employees of s tate
enterprises to do so. The law requires a 72-hour period before a strike can occur.
Civil servants and employees of state enterprises, including civil servants and
teachers, must complete a mediation process and notify the government before
initiating a strik e. Employees of several public entities deemed essential must
continue to provide a certain level of services during a strike. The law permits
imprisonment with forced labor as punishment for participation in an illegal strike.
While t here are no restrictions on collective bargaining, the law authorizes the
government to intervene under certain circumstances. The labor code prohibits
antiunion discrimination and explicitly covers all workers, including foreign and
illegal ones. Howeve r, these protections were not always respected in practice .

In the formal sector, more than 90 percent of employees belonged to unions.
H owever, the great majority of workers were self -employed, nonunionized, unpaid,
subsistence cultivators or herders. The government, which owned enterprises that
dominated many sectors of the formal economy, remained the largest employer .

The government effectively protected the right to freedom of association and
collective bargaining, although collective bargaining and its appeal procedures
sometimes were subject to delays. Delays often were caused due to bureaucracy,
lack of capacity, and other factors, such as difficulties in convening key players for
negotiations. No new unions were authorized during the year. T here were no
reports of restrictions on collective bargaining or punishment of workers for
participating in illegal strikes.

Unions were officially independent of both the government and political parties,
although some unions were unofficially linked thro ugh membership affiliation with
either the ruling or opposition parties .

Labor unions regularly carried out strikes during the year without reprisal.
H owever, the government charged three Union des Syndicats du Tchad (UST)

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officials with inciting ethnic violence after they circulated a petition during a
public sector strike that criticized local authorities for mismanagement of public
funds and corruption. On July 15, the UST, the country’s largest labor union,
called a strike to protest the failure of t he government to comply with the terms of
a November 2011 agreement that the union believed entitled public sector workers
to a salary increase. After the strike began , union leaders circulated a petition that
accused members of the Zaghawa tribe, to which the president belonged, of
misappropriating the country ’s oil revenues. UST president Michel Barka, UST
vice president Younous Mahadjir, and UST secretary general Francois Djondang
subsequently were charged and convicted of inciting ethnic violence. On
September 18, the three men received 18-month suspended prison sentences and
were each fined CFA one million ($2,000). Journalist Jean -Claude Nekim, who
reported on the incident, also was given a suspended sentence and fined (see
section 2.a.). The three were awaiting an appeals hearing at year ’s end.

There were no reports of antiunion discrimination during the year .

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The constitution states that persons cannot be held as slaves or in servitude, and the
law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children. T he minimum
age for military recruitment is 18 years; the minimum age for conscription is 20.
The law prohibits the use of child soldiers, although it oc curred (see section 6).
The law permits imprisonment with forced labor for participation in illegal strikes.

In practice forced labor, particularly forced child labor, occurred in the informal
sector. Children and adults in rural areas were involved in forced agricultural work
and in urban areas in domestic servitude .

The majority of forced child laborers were subjected to domestic servitude, forced
begging, and forced labor in cattle herding, fishing, and street vending. Children
from Chad were found in forced cattle herding in Cameroon, the CAR , and
Nigeria. Girls sold or forced into child marriages were forced by their husbands
into domestic servitude and agricultural labor (see section 6) .

Forced labor in prisons occurred.

See the Department of State ’s Trafficking in Persons Report at
www.state.gov/j/tip .

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c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The labor code stipulates that the minimum age for employment is 14, except that
children may work as apprentices beginning at age 13. The law also provides
exceptions for light work in agriculture and domestic service at age 12. The law,
which provides no penalties for employing child labor, was not enforced, and child
labor was a serious pr oblem.

The low legal minimum age for employment, lack of schooling opportunities in
some areas, and tribal initiation rites rendering children informally adults by the
age of 14 contributed to a general perception that child labor did not constitute
explo itation unless the victims were under the age of 13 or 14.

The Ministry of Labor ha d inspectors deployed throughout the country. Labor
inspectors can refer cases to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution. While not
specialized in the protection of chil dren per se, the ministry provided training to
these inspectors on children’ s issues. In practice, however, the government did not
effectively enforce the law due to several factors, including limited financial and
human resources, inadequate knowledge by members of the workforce of their
rights provided by the law, and corruption .

The Office of Labor Inspection is responsible for enforcement of child labor laws
and policies; however, it did not conduct any prosecutions during the year. As in
previous years, the office reportedly had no funding to carry out field work and
investigations. Police reportedly sometimes took extrajudicial actions against
traffickers and child labor offenders, including beating them and imposing
unofficial fines. Traditional leaders also sometimes meted out traditional
punishments, such as ostracism .

An estimated 20 percent of children between the ages of six and 18 worked in
exploitive labor in the urban informal sector, accor ding to a 2005 study published
by Human Rights w ithout Borders. Children were regularly employed as herders,
domestics, crop pickers, and in panning for gold. They also were employed in the
commercial sector, particularly in the capital, as street vendor s, manual laborers,
and helpers in small shops.

Children worked as domestic servants, mainly in the capital. According to a 2005
UNICEF-government survey of underage domestic worker s in N’Djamena, 62
percent of child domestics were boys, 24 percent were between eight and 14 years
of age, 68 percent were between 15 and 17, and 86 percent were illiterate. Local

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human rights organizations reported an increase in the number of child domestic
workers during the year.

The government did not have a comprehensive plan to eliminate the worst forms of
child labor; however, it continued to work with UNICEF and NGOs to increase
public awareness of child labor. In addition, the campaign continued to educate
parents and civil society on the dangers of child labor, particularly for child
herders, who often were sent to distant locations where they were abused.

Although UNICEF reported in 2011 that there were no child soldiers in the
national army, two joint government-UNICEF inspections during the year found
child soldiers among newly recruited ANT forces ; a third inspection found child
soldiers among surrendered forces of ex-rebel leader Baba Ladde . Authorities
returned t he children to their parents (see section 6).

The count ry’s numerous child herders working outside of traditional herding clans
often lived in substandard conditions without access to school or proper nutrition.
Contracts for child herders typically were entered into informally between parents
and herders and generally included compensation (including a small monthly
salary and generally a goat at the end of six months or a cow at the end of 12).
Local NGOs reported, however, that compensation often was not paid ; when it
was, the child ’s parents often collected the payment for themselves.

Also see the Department of Labor ’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
at
www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/tda.htm .

d. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The labor code requires the government to set minimum wages. During the year
the government raised the monthly minimum wage from 28,000 CFA ($56) to
60,000 CFA ($120) . However, the minimum wage was not effectively enfor ced.
The law limits most employment to 39 hours per week, with overtime paid for
supplementary hours. Agricultural work is limited to 2,400 hours per year, an
average of 46 hours per week. All workers are entitled to unbroken rest periods of
between 24 and 48 hours. The labor code mandates occupational health and safety
standards and gives inspectors the authority to enforce them. The labor code
explicitly covers all workers, including foreign and illegal workers.

Violations of safety and health standards may lead to penalties ranging from
approximately 75,000 CFA to 300,000 CFA ($150 to $600). Penalties for second

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offenses may include fines of more than 500,000 CFA ($1,000) and/or between
one and 10 days’ imprisonment. The Office of the General Inspectorate of the
Ministry of Labor has responsibility for the enforcement of the minimum wage,
workhours, and occupational health and safety standards.

Nearly all private sector and state -owned firms paid at le ast the minimum wage,
but it was largely ignored in the vast informal sector. Salary arrears remained a
problem, although less so than in previous years.

Workers did not always avail themselves of the ir rights concerning workhours
limits, largely because they preferred the additional pay.

O ccupational health and safety standards generally were ignored by local private
companies and in the civil service. Multinational companies generally met
acceptable occupational health safety standards. However, loca l private companies
and public offices often had substandard conditions, including lack of air
conditioning (in part due to highly irregular electrical supply), little or no fire
protection, and little or no health and safety protection equipment. Workers have
the right to remove themselves from dangerous working conditions but could not
do so in practice without jeopardizing their employment .

Public sector employees sometimes claimed wage -related violations , such as
arrears in payment of salaries and/or bonuses or complaints over the low level of
wages. Protections provided by law for foreign and illegal workers were not
always respected in practice .

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