Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section E. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states with regard to the protection of children: “If they … take part in the fighting and fall into enemy hands, they shall be entitled to [special protection].”
In 1997, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chad stated:
189. At the national level, a memorandum of understanding signed between the Republic of Chad and France on 30 July 1991 provided for a reduction in the armed forces, the discharge of minors and their resettlement in civilian life. Article 2 of decree No. 398/PR/MDNACVG/92 of 24 July 1992 concerning the discharge of army personnel stipulates specifically that the provisions concern minors. In accordance with this decree a census of minors was organized by the Ministry for the Armed Forces. Of the 500 minors listed, 467 were discharged with an end-of-service grant. The other 33, having reached the age of majority, preferred to continue their army career.
190. As part of a medium term plan, the Ministry for Women, Children and Social Affairs, in collaboration with UNICEF, is drawing up a programme for the rehabilitation and reintegration of children in especially difficult circumstances, who from 1996 onwards include combatant minors.
In 2009, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to Chad’s second periodic report, Chad stated:
The children whom the State party considers as having priority and urgently requiring attention with a view to the implementation of the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] are those in need of special protection measures [including] … children involved in the armed forces or armed groups …
On 9 May 2007, the UNICEF office in Chad and the Government of Chad signed a protocol of agreement on protecting children who are victims of armed conflict and on their sustainable reintegration into communities and families, with a view to enforcing international instruments concerning the protection of children affected by armed conflict. Under the agreement, UNICEF is helping the Government of Chad … to ensure that they are absolutely free and reintegrated into their communities.
This agreement came after the Government had signed the Paris Commitments to protect children unlawfully recruited or used by armed forces or armed groups in Chad.
A national programme to … remove and take temporary custody of children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups in Chad has been in place since 2007, following the signing of the Paris Commitments and the protocol of agreement. A national coordinating body has been entrusted to ensure the proper implementation, monitoring and overall harmonization of ongoing or proposed activities of the programme, take strategic decisions and make sure that the process is consistent with the Paris Principles. It is composed of eight ministries, five United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Human Rights Commission, two human rights organizations, the Red Cross in Chad and four international non governmental organizations.
Provision has been made to implement a communication strategy and integrated communication plan for this programme in 2008.
(a) Information concerning children deprived of a family environment and separated from their parents is available only for the following years:
2007: 658, including … 451 children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups and separated from their parents
2008: 59 children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups and separated from their parents
Disaggregated data are available for children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups, as follows:
9–11 years old: 25 children, or 90 per cent
12–14 years old: 143 children, or 28.03 per cent
15–17 years old: 318 children, or 62.35 per cent
18 years or older: 24, or 4.7 per cent
(b) In 2006, 326 children were placed in 12 institutions throughout the country, while in 2007, 566 children were placed in 19 institutions throughout the country;
(c) Eight children placed with foster families;
(d) Five children have been fully adopted since January 2008, two girls and three boys, including one child adopted abroad.
In 2009, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Human Rights Committee with regard to Chad’s initial report, Chad stated:
The Government has signed an agreement with UNICEF on the reintegration of child soldiers into the working population. Chad has also undertaken to implement the Paris Commitments adopted at the “Free Children from War” conference held in Paris on 5 and 6 February 2007.
In 2011, in the Action Plan on Children Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups in Chad, signed by the Government of Chad and the United Nations Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Task Force on Grave Violations against Children in Situations of Armed Conflict, the Government of Chad stated:
The government undertakes to implement the Action Plan to … release all children associated with its [armed] forces and paramilitary groups and to ensure that the children benefit from programmes of reintegration into their communities. … This Action Plan applies to the Chadian National Army (ANT) and to associated major formations, in particular to the Directorate-General of the Security of State’s Structures and Institutions (DGSSIE), Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie (DGGN) and the Chadian National and Nomadic Guard (GNNT).
The Government of Chad also stated:
2.1 The Government of Chad specifically undertakes to fully and effectively implement the following provisions:
a) Prevent and end the association of children under the age of 18 with armed forces and armed groups and guarantee their immediate release and reintegration …
d) Appoint focal points with clear terms of reference and responsibilities for the implementation of the Action Plan at the highest level of the government and the associated military and paramilitary structures. This should be done in cooperation with the United Nations and [other] partners to ensure oversight, monitoring and control of the plan’s implementation …
e) Immediately and unconditionally release the identified children to UNICEF’s partner organisations for the protection of children and to other UN agencies. Facilitate return and reintegration of all children associated with armed forces or armed groups to their communities, while paying special attention to their gender and age, as well as to the specific needs of girls and children born to the girls released from armed forces and armed groups.
k) Ensure that no child previously associated with the ANT or any armed group will be prosecuted for the desertion and/or any other violation of the military order.
The Government of Chad further stated:
Article 3 – Procedure
3.1 The following framework defines the activities and the timeline for the implementation of the Action Plan.
Release and support for the reintegration of children
a) Issue a clear and enforceable policy directive to non-military personnel associated with the ANT and to the major associated formations and a clear military order to all members of the armed and/or paramilitary forces to stop the recruitment and use of children and to ensure their rapid and orderly release. The directive must indicate sanctions in the event of non-compliance and demand reporting of the breaches to the competent authorities, so they can immediately act upon them. The order should be widely and effectively disseminated, in writing and orally.
b) Identify, control, register and plan the release of all children associated with armed forces and/or with paramilitary groups at all sites, such as military bases, training camps, detention centres, medical facilities and recruitment centres.
d) Support arrangements for temporary care and assistance to children, taking into account their gender, age and an initial assessment of their well-being for psycho-social support, health care and documentation services to help to restore family links and for setting up social reintegration programmes.
e) In cooperation with the relevant government departments and civil society organisations, support the reintegration of released children through sharing a monthly list of demobilised children for confirmation and verification.
Recruitment prevention, awareness raising and capacity building
c) Identify gaps and take concrete measures to comply with the national and international legal obligations, including … (3) set up and provide training for children protection units within the ANT and the security forces at the national and regional level; authorize these units to monitor ANT’s compliance with the military guidelines and national legislation.
The Government of Chad also stated:
Article 4 – Applicable principles
In the implementation of their work for children affected by armed conflict, the signatories shall be guided by the following general principles:
4.5 Children associated with armed forces or armed groups are first of all victims of violation of their basic rights – All children who had been recruited by armed forces or armed groups and are accused of international crimes should be primarily considered as victims of the violations [of their basic rights]. They should be treated in conformity with international standards for juvenile justice and offered rehabilitation and social reintegration. Independent international observers should have access to all judicial proceedings where children are victims, survivors, witnesses or alleged perpetrators.
4.7. Respect for the right of the child to be released from the armed forces – … prevention activities should be carried out on an ongoing basis, the release, protection and reintegration of children should be consistently researched and shall not be conditional upon the existence of an armed conflict or upon the demobilisation of adults.
In 2012, in its second periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Chad stated:
215. Chad took an active part in the Paris international conference on child soldiers. This enabled it to draw up a national programme for the withdrawal and temporary care of child soldiers and their reintegration into their families. This programme is being carried out under an agreement concluded in May 2007 between the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Chad. In this highly important agreement, the State undertook to hand over to UNICEF all children recovered upon the incorporation of the various armed groups into the regular armed forces of the Republic of Chad.
217. In effectively withdrawing the children, the Government benefited from the support of Care International and UNICEF, which opened transit centres in N’Djamena where, to begin with, children were housed and fed and given medical and psychological care. The children were then returned to their parents. Some 90 per cent are estimated to have effectively rejoined their families, as against 10 per cent who remained in the centres.
218. Within the framework of the peacebuilding process initiated under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Chad intends to strengthen the institutional mechanisms of the national programme for the withdrawal, temporary care and family reintegration of children. …
Implementation of the child soldier rehabilitation support programme
219. In the past few decades, Chad has experienced a succession of wars and intercommunity conflicts whose consequences have included the enlistment of children (girls and boys) in armed groups and forces.
220. The Government has mobilized substantial resources for the withdrawal and care of juveniles and their reintegration into their communities, in partnership with international institutions such as UNICEF, Care International, etc.
221. The Government’s commitment has been illustrated in the following ways:
– Signing of a statement of principle and commitment, Paris, 6 February 2007;
– Signing of a memorandum of understanding on 9 May 2007 between the Government and the Chad UNICEF office for the withdrawal of all child victims of armed conflicts and their lasting reintegration;
– Training of military officers in the protection of children in situations of armed conflict;
– Awareness-raising campaign in camps, garrisons and instruction centres (more than 3,000 members of the military);
– Production of leaflets and integrated communication plans.