London, 26 March 2014 - The Chadian government’s claim to have successfully put an end to the recruitment of children appears somewhat premature in light of Child Soldiers International’s research, which indicates that children continued to be identified in the armed forces in 2013.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the outcomes of Chad’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Chad rejected nine out of 11 of the recommendations specifically addressing the prevention of child recruitment in the final report of the UPR Working Group.

This position seems to stem from the government’s belief that those recommendations had already been implemented. There is no doubt that, during the second half of 2013, the Chadian government, with support from the UN, adopted a significant number of measures to address the issue of child recruitment in its armed forces.

However, as acknowledged by the Chadian government during the UN Security Council debate on children and armed conflict earlier this month, the measures recently taken “need to be consolidated daily in order to be sustainable and to avoid a backsliding.” This view is inconsistent with Chad’s rejection of most of the recommendations made in its UPR review on the need to continue efforts to end child recruitment.

Indeed, Child Soldiers International’s research found that children in Chad continue to be at risk of recruitment. In a briefing released this month, Child Soldiers International reveals that a number of children were identified in the ranks of the Chadian army in 2013, and that children continued to be informally associated with members of the armed forces and used for domestic tasks in military barracks.

With only about 10 per cent of the total number of Chad’s armed and security forces having been screened, there is a real possibility that children are still present in the ranks of the Chadian army. Of particular concern is the fact that the contingent deployed to the Central African Republic at the end of 2013 was not screened for the presence of children prior to deployment.

Child Soldiers International holds that, in order to put in place concrete and durable protection against child recruitment and use, all the measures recently adopted must be operationalised, adequately resourced and followed up. In particular, Child Soldiers International urges the government, with support from the UN, to:

  • Screen all members of the armed and security forces, both on the Chadian territory and abroad, in order to identify and release any under-18s who may have been enlisted unlawfully;
  • Train all troops in child protection; develop and adopt standard military procedures on the identification and handover of children to child protection agencies;
  • Develop, adopt and implement age verification methods in line with best international practices; ensure that all military and civilian personnel involved in military recruitment, have received child protection and age verification training;
  • Take measures to make birth registration free and accessible in law and in practice, in order to strive towards universal birth registration;
  • Establish permanent infrastructures for quality temporary care of children, assistance to their physical and psychosocial recovery, and support to family reunification and social reintegration;
  • Widely disseminate legislation criminalising child recruitment and use to all members of the armed and security forces, and systematically conduct effective investigations into all credible reports of child recruitment and use.

More information

Chad’s Universal Periodic Review was based on the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all UN human rights conventions to which Chad is party. During the second UPR cycle states under review are expected to provide information on measures taken to implement recommendations made to them during their first UPR. During Chad’s first review in 2009 a significant number of recommendations were made to address the issue of child recruitment in the country.

Documents related to Chad’s second UPR cycle:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TDSession17.aspx

Child Soldiers International’s submission:
https://www.child-soldiers.org/shop/submission-to-the-un-universal-periodic-review-on-chad-1 

Final UPR Working Group reports (A/HRC/25/14 and A/HRC/25/14/Add.1):
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/ListReports.aspx

Child Soldiers International’s briefing on progress made on the Action Plan since May 2013:
https://www.child-soldiers.org/shop/chad-briefing-on-the-status-of-implementation-of-the-june-2011-action-plan 

UN press release on Chad’s UPR:http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/1CD1AC24D79F042EC1257CA100637078?OpenDocument

For more information contact Child Soldiers International at +44 (0) 20 7367 4110