Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “The parties to the conflict may not recruit children who are under 15 years of age to take a direct part in hostilities, particularly by refraining from recruiting them into the armed forces.”
Chad’s Ordinance on the Reorganization of the Armed Forces (1991) states: “Military service is mandatory for every Chadian citizen, except in case of clearly established physical disability.”
The Ordinance further states: “The legal age for compulsory military service is twenty years. The legal age for voluntary enrolment is eighteen years minimum and thirty-five years maximum.”
Chad’s Ordinance on the General Status of Military Personnel (1992) states:
No one can commit [to serve in Chad’s Armed Forces];
– if [the individual] has not reached 18 years of age;
– for a dependant minor, if he does not have the consent of his guardian.
Chad’s Ordinance on the General Status of Military Personnel (1992), as amended in 2006, states:
No one can commit [to serve in Chad’s Armed Forces];
– if [the individual] has not reached 18 years of age[.]
Chad’s Law on the Reorganization of the Armed and Security Forces (2006) states: “The legal age for compulsory military service is twenty (20) years. The legal age for voluntary enrolment is eighteen (18) years minimum and thirty-five (35) years maximum.”
Chad’s Presidential Directive on Respect of Age Requirements for Recruitment into Chad’s National Army (2013) states:
… [T]he Government of the Republic of Chad adhered to the principles of the  Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child [on the involvement of children in armed conflict], as well as to the  Paris Principles and Commitments.
These Principles stipulate that: “States should take all feasible steps to establish and enforce recruitment procedures in line with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and other relevant international law.”
These principles state that recruitment procedures and implementing measures must include the following: (i) proof of age, as well as other means of verification where documentary evidence of the recruit’s age is not available, (ii) legal and disciplinary measures to sanction those who contravene proof of age requirements[.]
In order to guarantee respect for its commitments and to create definitively an environment that saves children from recruitments and any form of use by the armed and security forces of Chad, the present directive provides clear and precise guidelines and instructions to be respected without fault, subject to sanctions stipulated in the laws and regulations governing the armed and security forces of Chad and those relating to child protection.
2. PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF APPLICATION
The purpose of the directive is to prevent and put an end to the recruitment of children by armed forces and armed groups. It applies to the armed and security forces and the associated major formations.
Child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier (Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).
3.2. Child Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (CAAFAG)
Any person below eighteen years of age who is or who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including therefore but not limited to a child, girl or boy, used as fighter, cook, porter, messenger, spy or for sexual purposes. This term does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities (Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups).
All activities aimed at supplying armed forces with its personnel.
3.4. Conditions for recruitment
Law No. 011/PR/2006 amending the Ordinance No. 06/PR/92 of 28 April 1992 on the Status of Military Personnel in its article 44 stipulates that the recruitment of soldiers, cadets in the gendarmerie and guards is done by means of conscription, an exam or direct enlistment subject to the following conditions:
- Be over 18 years of age;
4. RESPECT OF THE CONDITIONS FOR RECRUITMENT
4.1. Provisions on verification of the recruitment age
Recruitment into the Chadian National Army is done in accordance with the Ordinance No. 006/PR/1992 and the laws No. 11 and 12/PR/2006. For strict respect of these fundamental documents of the Chadian National Army, the following implementing measures will henceforth be in place:
4.1.1 The personnel responsible for the recruitment will beforehand receive training about the rights and protection of children in armed conflicts;
4.1.2 All the personnel responsible for the recruitment will have at their disposal a copy of the Recruitment Procedure Handbook drafted for this purpose;
4.1.3 The recruitment team will proceed with recruitment on the basis of a birth certificate, which is the only valid document for age verification and confirmation. Candidates that do not have such a certificate will be recruited only after a systematic verification of their age through a medical examination, physical check and a personal interview, in case of serious doubt about their age[.]
Registration and drawing up of documents proving the identity of all children in accordance with Chad’s Civil Status Act, are indispensable for the prevention of their illegal recruitment and use by the armed forces and armed groups in the territory of Chad.
4.2.1. With regard to the government’s commitments, I ask you to instruct all members of the armed forces and security forces that any person found guilty of recruitment and use of children in Chad’s armed or security forces will face severe disciplinary and penal sanctions.
Chad’s Ordinance on the Prohibition and Repression of the Enlistment and Use of Children in Armed Conflict (2014) states: “No child must participate, nor be involved in an armed conflict, or be enlisted in armed forces or groups, in whatever way.”
In 1997, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chad stated: “Under article 14 of ordinance No. 01/PCE/CEDNACVG/91 of 16 January 1991 (armed forces reorganization ordinance), the age of recruitment is set at 18 for volunteers and 20 for conscripts.
Chad also stated:
187. Children are the principal victims of the bloody and devastating civil wars that have occurred in Chad since 1979. … The presence of minors has also been noted in the national army, in spite of ordinance No. 001 of 16 January 1991, which lays down a minimum age of recruitment into the army.
188. Like other countries, Chad has not been insensitive to this alarming situation. Thus it endorsed United Nations General Assembly resolution 48/157 of 20 December 1993 concerning the protection of children affected by armed conflicts and took an active part in the consultation on the impact of armed conflict on children held in Abidjan from 7 to 10 November 1995.
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.
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chad stated: “The age of recruitment into the army is fixed at 18 years (Ordinance No. 001 of 16 January 1991).”
Chad also stated:
235. Chad is having to cope with an influx of refugees as a result of the conflicts which broke out in 2003 in Darfur and the Central African Republic.
236. In 2005, the east of the country was sheltering 220,000 refugees from Darfur, 60 per cent of them aged under 18.
237. In the south, Chad is sheltering some 40,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. Some 5,500 refugees are estimated to be living in urban areas. They are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, as well as from Sudan and the Central African Republic.
239. In the case of unaccompanied children, arrangements for identification, care, monitoring, family search and family reunification have been put in place in order to protect them against … recruitment in the camps and the host communities.
250. Although no figures are available, throughout the first half of 2006 cases of the recruitment of children were unfortunately recorded in the Sudanese refugee camps and in the east of Chad. Awareness-raising campaigns have been carried out by United Nations institutions and international NGOs in order to check this problem.
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 … , 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 prevent the recruitment … of children in armed forces and groups …
This agreement came after the Government had signed the Paris Commitments to protect children unlawfully recruited … by armed forces or armed groups in Chad.
A national programme to prevent … 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.
… 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 …
2008: 59 children recruited or used by armed forces and armed groups and separated from their parents
… [D]isaggregated 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.
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 recruitment into the army of minors under 18 is officially prohibited by law. Children can nevertheless be found in military camps and among armed groups, although there are no statistics on this”.
In 2009, during the consideration of Chad’s initial report to the Committee against Torture, a statement of the delegation of Chad was summarized by the Committee in its records as follows: “On the subject of child soldiers, parents had greater awareness of the fact that children should not be enlisted. The army has demobilized all child soldiers and no longer recruited minors.”
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 stop the recruitment … of children by the armed forces … Furthermore, through this Action Plan, the government undertakes to prevent the recruitment … of children … This Action Plan applies to the Chadian National Army (ANT) and to major associated 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 …
b) Transmit a clear military order to the military hierarchy and a policy directive to the non-military personnel to prevent and to stop the recruitment … of children, and to ensure their prompt release.
c) Specify sanctions for violations of these orders and ensure their execution.
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 …
f) Implement a concrete strategy to prevent the recruitment … of children …
g) Criminalize the recruitment … of children in the national law; comply with the international legal obligations prohibiting the recruitment … of children in armed forces and armed groups.
h) Promptly investigate all allegations of recruitment … of children and bring to justice and/or take necessary disciplinary measures against all perpetrators of such crimes, including against military commanders and members of the major associated formations, and provide verifiable information about the implementation of such measures …
i) Facilitate unimpeded and regular access of UN teams on monitoring and reporting mechanism to the recruitment centres and military bases (camps, information centres, detention centers) and to other similar sites and authorise their access to military proceedings, as well as to the related documentation to allow the assessment and verification of the compliance with the commitments and activities.
j) Guarantee free, confidential and unaccompanied access to the UN Special team on monitoring and reporting mechanism and implementing partners to the concerned persons and areas, including children and their families, members of the ANT and private individuals associated with the ANT. Guarantee that no reprisals will be taken against the evaluators, the victims and the witnesses, or against any third party involved in the monitoring and reporting activities.
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.
Recruitment prevention, awareness raising and capacity building
b) Expedite the adoption of the draft Child Protection Code, which prohibits the recruitment … of individuals under the age of 18 to the national security forces and provides for penalties for this violation of the rights of the child.
c) Identify gaps and take concrete measures to comply with the national and international legal obligations, including (1) designing or strengthening procedures for determination of age in accordance with the international best practice; (2) promoting adoption of necessary legislation or issuance of directives, orders and rules to better protect children from recruitment; and (3) setting up and providing 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 …
Legal and disciplinary procedures
a) Establish transparent, efficient and accessible complaint procedures for cases of child recruitment … ; information about such procedures should be widely communicated to the population. Report the cases of child recruitment … to an institution set up for this purpose.
b) In accordance with international norms on the protection of children, continue to investigate, prosecute and/or take disciplinary measures against those responsible for the recruitment … of children by the armed forces. These procedures should allow monitoring by the UN Special Team.
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:
4.7 … The recruitment … of children is a violation of their rights.
In 2012, in its second periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Chad stated:
128. The Government’s resolve to bring to justice those responsible for serious human rights violations was reflected in the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry. Having completed its task, that Commission submitted its findings. The Government set up a technical committee to follow up its recommendations.
129. The cases of those responsible for human rights violations during the events of February 2008 are currently being investigated. It is, however, worthwhile recalling a number of recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry, including the following:
- Withdrawal of child soldiers;
130. The [Human Rights] Committee had suggested that the Government should promptly implement those recommendations. It has done so by taking the following measures:
- Withdrawal of child soldiers from the ranks of the army by the Government;
131. Furthermore, pursuant to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the events of 28 … January to 8 February 2008, the Government decided to establish by Decree No. 1126/PM/2008 a Committee to follow up those recommendations, composed of members of the Government and chaired by the Prime Minister.
In the report, Chad also stated:
214. The public authorities are very alert to the question of the recruitment of child soldiers into armed groups.
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. …
216. The 2010 UNICEF report on the situation of children and women in Chad (SITAN) helps to explain the Government’s action in the following terms:
“The first major goal of the national programme for the withdrawal and temporary care of children and their reintegration into their families is to prevent the recruitment and use of children through a number of activities: communication campaign, regional conference on ending the use of children by armed forces and groups (June 2010), signing of the N’Djamena declaration by the six countries of the subregion.
In cooperation with Save the Children, Sweden, UNICEF also provided training in 2009 for 36 instructors in the national army, the gendarmerie, and the National and Nomadic Guard on the … role of the military in the protection of children.
The second priority goal of the programme is to withdraw children from armed forces and groups and then to facilitate their return to civilian life. By the end of October 2010, cooperation between Chad and UNICEF had led to the withdrawal of some 900 children”.
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. This policy should translate into the establishment of an ambitious action plan aimed at taking Chad off the list of States that recruit or use children, kill or mutilate them, and/or commit sexual violence against them, which is often placed before the United Nations Security Council.
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);
– Awareness-raising campaign aimed at administrative, traditional and religious authorities on the non-recruitment of children in armed groups;
– Production of leaflets and integrated communication plans.