The Government of Chad has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and many other legal instruments relating to the rights of the child. Despite the progress made by the Government with the support of its partners in the implementation of these texts, Chad's child protection indicators remain very low.
In Chad, we support child protection systems to prevent and respond to child violence, abuse and exploitation.
The birth registration rate for children aged 0-5 years continues to decline. From 15.9 per cent in 2010, the rate fell to 12 per cent in 2015, according to the EDST MICS. Indeed, birth registration suffers from three major bottlenecks that are linked to the environment, service supply and demand. These low rates are due to various factors, including an unfavourable legal environment, insufficient capacity of registrars/civil registrars, obsolescence/absence of civil registration centres that are poor. In addition to these factors, parents' low level of knowledge about the importance of a birth certificate is also a factor.
According to the EDS MICS 2014-2015 report, 70 per cent of girls under 18 and 29 per cent of those under 15 are married. Chad is the third largest country in the world, with the highest rate of child marriage, with 70 per cent of married girls. This harmful practice is more common in rural communities, and its consequences only perpetuate the cycle of poverty. More often, married girls are withdrawn from school, depriving them of a decent education and effective participation in development.
Female genital mutilation/cutting
Female genital mutilation is recurrent in 13 of Chad's 23 provinces. Religious beliefs, ethnicity, level of education and environment appear to have a real impact on the use of these practices. Most often taking the form of clitoridectomy, female genital mutilation is generally performed between the ages of 5 and 12, but in some cases it can affect girls under the age of one. The MICS 2014-2015 DHS survey reveals a national prevalence of 38 per cent, compared to 44 per cent in 2010. This practice is perpetuated for various reasons, including: socio-cultural factors (rite of passage to adulthood, participation of excised girls in male initiation activities), religious factors (the clitoris is considered a part of the woman's body that is dirty), poverty.
Justice for children
The lack of data on minors in contact with the law, street children and trafficked children remains a major challenge. Due to the lack of funding for strengthening the child protection system, the quality of services is low and uncoordinated. This weakness in coordination mechanisms between sectors compromises the ability of service providers to prevent and respond to cases of violence, exploitation and abuse.
In addition, Chad faces mixed migratory movements, displaced children, refugees, unaccompanied and separated children and those associated with armed forces and groups.
Protection of children in humanitarian situations
Over the past five years, Chad has become a haven of peace in an ocean of armed conflict (Nigeria, Sudan and the Central African Republic). These conflicts cause significant population movements with their processions of children associated with armed forces and groups, separated children and unaccompanied children.
Nowadays, Unicef is an essential partner of the Government in civil status matters in Chad. Indeed, Unicef has long supported the Ministry of Territorial Administration in the provision of inputs such as birth certificates, before positioning itself in the advocacy for the establishment of a strong civil status system. This has resulted in the Civil Status Act and Chad's presence in the African debate on the subject. Unicef is currently working with the European Union, which is the largest contributor to civil status in Chad, particularly with the Programme d'Appui à la bonne Gouvernance (PAG). This is a strategic partnership that offers us funding opportunities. In addition, the global evaluation of the civil status system made it possible to adopt a budgeted strategic plan with the support of UNICEF in partnership with the European Union and French Cooperation, which serves as a basis for the construction of the system in Chad, with particular emphasis on the registration of children aged 0 to 5 years, and to this end, the Child Survival and Development Programme has a major component on vaccination, which is considered a good entry point for accelerating birth registration for all. A collaborative framework is created and operational in provinces with low birth registration rates.
Chad is one of the countries that launched its national campaign to end child marriage in 2015, as recommended by the African Union, sanctioned by commitments from authorities and leaders at all levels and the signing of an ordinance prohibiting this practice. In addition, advocacy has led to the promulgation of Act 029 of 21 July 2015 prohibiting marriage and the adoption of a national roadmap to combat marriage. Community dialogue and advocacy are necessary elements in programmes to end child marriage and female genital mutilation, as the implementation of the C4D at the community level through community mechanisms whose capacities have been strengthened has enabled awareness at the levels of the targeted provinces to be raised through public commitments to abandon this practice by administrative authorities, traditional and religious leaders, youth and women's associations. UNICEF will continue to work on the C4D to maintain this dynamic of community dialogue and ongoing advocacy during the cycle. This will always continue with the involvement of community leaders, parents and the communities themselves. In addition, a response service package for survivors is effective in the targeted provinces and its use will be dependent on and strengthened through support to increase demand for it.
Justice for children
UNICEF has been at the forefront of supporting the Government of Chad in the development and implementation of a national child justice strategy, with an action plan adopted and implemented. It is a unifying framework for all stakeholders. Through axes such as data collection, capacity building of actors, coordination and implementation of alternatives to prison, a database is in place, the capacities of justice professionals are strengthened on rights, child protection and judicial procedures involving children. This technical expertise made available to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights corroborates UNICEF's comparative advantage to play a leading role among technical and financial partners in child justice.
Protection of children in humanitarian situations
In partnership with government actors, UN agencies and civil society, UNICEF is working to strengthen child protection and case management information systems through the development of standard operating procedures and the child protection database.
Between 2013 and 2014, some 1,107 unaccompanied and separated children from CAR were cared for in Chad. Thanks to the efforts made by the Government, during the implementation period of the 2012-2016 Cooperation Programme, Chad was removed from the annex to the Secretary-General's report on children and armed conflict. Unicef continues to maintain efforts in this regard through strengthening prevention and response to the recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups.
In all these humanitarian situations, UNICEF has been able to establish and maintain a response mechanism in line with the minimum standards of child protection and UNICEF's main commitments to children in humanitarian situations. UNICEF will continue to play such a leading role in the Child Protection subcluster for emergency preparedness and response.