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National law and policies on minimum ages – Chad

 

According to the CRC, laws and policies must be directed to the best interest of the child. This is especially so in provisions that aim to safeguard the child against exploitation or an early end to childhood, i.e. in the instances where children are most vulnerable and at risk. Yet such safeguards are often ignored and different areas of legislation found to clash with each other. What happens if the age for the end of compulsory education is 14 but the minimum age of employment is 12? Or vice versa? What if a girl can be married before school leaving age - will she then return to school? And who ensures schooling in prisons, when in reality education should protect children from incarceration?

 

 

 

 

With 192 parties to it, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified UN treaty. Each State Party must submit periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which uses this process to monitor State compliance with the treaty. The vast majority of the information on minimum ages presented on these pages is taken directly from such reports (occasionally, if these failed to include relevant information concerning minimum ages, other components of the reporting process - such as the Committee’s Concluding Observations - were consulted). States Parties’ reports constitute self-assessment by governments and are therefore authoritative sources, emanating directly from those empowered to make decisions. Using this type of sources also permits a range of actors to hold governments accountable for the standards which they report under the CRC. The sections of these reports have been reproduced faithfully, and readers are encouraged to make use of the full original text, available here.

 

Individual country reports are often written by diverse parts of the government, and frequently run to more than 100 pages. Moreover, within some states’ legal systems there are various recognised sources of law, which frequently generate conflicting minimum ages. Distilling precise numbers out of such documents is therefore a precarious task. While we would encourage cross-country comparison, we would also stress the danger that those countries with a more honest engagement with the reporting process might come off worse when compared with those which would mis-represent the degree of compliance, whether wilfully or not. For a full explanation of the principles that guided us in our analysis, please visit the introductory pages here.

Sources:

2nd periodic report: CRC/C/TCD/2, 14 August 2007
Initial report: CRC/C/3/Add.50, 24 July 1997
 
Minimum age for the end of compulsory education
From initial report
42. The right to education and vocational training is guaranteed by article 35 of the Constitution. State education is non-religious and free. Compulsory schooling lasts for nine years from the age of six.
 
Minimum age for admission to employment
From 2nd report
50. The minimum age for admission to employment (14 years) is rarely respected. The endemic poverty in which parents live prompts them to send their children to the labour market very young, exposing them to the worst forms of work; the commonest are the use of children as livestockherders or domestic servants; in the latter case they are often subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation.
From initial report
43. In Chad the minimum age of employment in some non-hazardous jobs varies from 12 to 14. Where other jobs considered dangerous are concerned, the minimum age is 18, in conformity with decree No. 55/PR/MTJS/DTMOPS of 19 February 1969 relating to child labour. Article 13 of the Decree stipulates that offenders shall be liable to the penalties laid down by article 181 of the Labour and Social Security Code. These rules apply only to children working in industry. The informal sector, which plays a major role in the national economy, is not organized; a large number of children work in the sector and ways of regulating it are being considered.  
 
Minimum age for marriage
From 2nd report
45. A draft code on the person and the family prepared in 1999 raises the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for boys and 17 years for girls.
63. […] article 277 of the Criminal Code implicitly fixes the age of marriage at 13 years, for it prohibits only customary marriage before that age.
From initial report
46. Under article 144 of the 1958 French Civil Code, which is in force in Chad, men aged under 18 and women aged under 15 may not contract matrimony. However, in practice customary marriage is often entered into below the minimum legal age.
 
Minimum age for criminal responsibility
From 2nd report
54. The age of criminal responsibility is 13 years in Chad.
From initial report
191. The Penal Code and the Code of Penal Procedure provide guarantees for the proper administration of justice for minors, such as immunity from criminal responsibility for minors under 13 years, frequent application of rehabilitation and supervision measures for minors, and the automatic entitlement of minors to legal aid in the event of criminal proceedings. 
 
Sources:
2nd periodic report: CRC/C/TCD/2, 14 August 2007
Initial report: CRC/C/3/Add.50, 24 July 1997