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Chad

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
30%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
67%
International Ranking*

3

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

Photo credit: World Vision | Boutaida

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
30%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
67%
International Ranking*

3

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

In Chad, 67% of girls are married before the age of 18 and 30% are married before the age of 15.

Chad has the third highest prevalence of child marriage globally.

8% of boys in Chad are married before the age of 18, which makes Chad one of the top 20 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage among boys.

Child marriage is most common in Guéra, Lac, Chari Baguirmi, Sila and Mayo Kebbi Est.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys.

Chad faces complex and interlinked humanitarian crises: food insecurity, forced displacement, severe droughts, and epidemics. At the end of 2019, there were 5.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 740,000 displaced people, including more than 440,000 refugees from Central African Republic, Sudan, and Nigeria, all of which has strained local resources.

Humanitarian situations like in Chad exacerbate poverty, insecurity, and lack of access to services such as education, factors which all drive child marriage. While gender inequality is a root cause of child marriage in both stable and crisis contexts, often in times of crisis, families see child marriage as a way to cope with greater economic hardship and to protect girls from increased violence. In Chad, child marriage is exacerbated by:

  • Displacement: Girls are at heightened risk of sexual violence within the displaced communities. Cultural norms often force girls to marry their attackers to preserve their honour.
  • Level of education: Chadian girls with no education marry at the age of 16 on average, compared to 19 years for girls who have completed secondary education.
  • Poverty: Poor families marry off their daughters early to reduce their perceived economic burden and to obtain the dowry. A 2013 report found that fragility, conflict and general confusion by parents and communities about what to do in the face of a failing economy and education system was a primary driver of child marriage.
  • Religion: Child marriage occurs among Catholic, Protestant, Animist and Muslim households and is often associated with the misguided notion of protecting a girl’s honour and shielding her from sexual attention.
  • Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C):38% of women aged 15-49 have experienced FGM/C in Chad. The practice is used as a way of controlling female sexuality and is sometimes regarded as a sign of readiness for marriage.

Polygamy: Some girls are married off as third or fourth wives to men, as they are often seen as easier to control. This is particularly common among the Fula community.

What has this country committed to?

Chad has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2019 High Level Political Forum, the government of Chad reported the adoption of National Strategy to Combat Violence Based on Gender and that the minimum age for marriage has been increased to 18 years.

Chad co-sponsored the co-sponsored the 2013 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights. In 2014, Chad signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Chad co-sponsored the 2013 and 2018 Human Rights Council resolutions on child, early and forced marriage.

Chad ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2011 the CEDAW Committee urged Chad to undertake awareness-raising activities throughout the country on the negative effects of child marriage.

During its 2013 Universal Periodic Review, Chad agreed to consider recommendations to ensure that girls in refugee camps are truly protected against child marriage. During its 2019 Universal Periodic Review, Chad supported recommendations to strengthen implementation of legislation and policies aimed at ending harmful traditional practices, in particular child, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation.

In 2000, Chad ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2004 Chad signed, but has not yet ratified, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.

In 2015 President Idriss Deby and First Lady Hinda Deby launched the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

Chad is a partner developing country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In February 2019, the government, with support from the UN and the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), adopted a new costed Roadmap to ending child marriage and female genital mutilation (2019-2023), with six pillars:

  • Consolidation of the legal, institutional and policy framework.
  • Development of a communications and mobilisation campaign.
  • Improvement of access to services and attention to victims/survivors.
  • Capacity-building of social agents.
  • Improvement of infrastructure.
  • Improvement of coordination, monitoring and evaluation.

A thematic working group, created by the Ministry of Women, Social Action and National Solidarity, is responsible for implementing the action plan. The group is composed of line ministries, civil society, the police and the judiciary, human rights and gender-based organisations, religious authorities and UN agencies. However, the implementation of the Roadmap could be limited due to lack of funding.

The previous Roadmap (2016-2018) was adopted in June 2016.

In December 2016 First Lady Hinda Deby launched the second edition of her five year agenda dedicated to women and children (2016-2020). The agenda covers three pillars, including child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

The minimum age of marriage in Chad is 18 for girls and boys.

In 2015, the Parliament of Chad approved an ordinance signed by President Idriss Deby to increase the age of marriage from 15 to 18 years old. However conflicts with other laws mean the minimum age of marriage is in practice younger than 18. According to Article 277 of the Criminal code, customary law marriages of girls above 13 years are legal.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,[website], 2018, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).

African Union Commission, UN Women and Plan International, Marriage Laws in Africa – A Compendium from 55 African Union Member States,2019,https://africa.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2019/03/marriage-laws-in-africa (accessed March 2020).

African Union, Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa: Call to Action, 2013, https://au.int/sites/default/files/pages/32905-file-campaign_to_end_child_marriage_in_africa_call_for_action-_english.pdf (accessed January 2020).

BRACED, Violence Against Women and Girls And Resilience Links, Impacts And Perspectives From The Chadian Context, 2018, https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/12011.pdf (accessed March 2020).

European Commission, Chad, [website], 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/africa/chad_en (accessed March 2020).

Ford Foundation, Mapping Early Marriage in West Africa, 2013, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Ford-Foundation-CM-West-Africa-2013_09.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Gastón, C. M., et al., Child marriage among boys: a global overview of available data, Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies,14:3,p. 219-228, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1080/17450128.2019.1566584 (accessed January 2020).

Global Partnership for Education, Chad, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/chad (accessed March 2020).

Information Parlour, Traditional Marriage in Fulani Kingdom, [website], undated, http://informationparlour.com/article-culture-tradition-traditional-marriage-fulani-kingdom (accessed March 2020).

Institut National de la Statistique, des Études Économiques et Démographiques, Ministère de la Santé Publique et ICF International, Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples, 2014-2015, 2015, https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR317/FR317.pdf (accessed March 2020).

International Rescue Committee, Lake Chad Basin Crisis: An Analysis of Violence against Women, Children and Displaced Populations in the region, 2017, https://www.rescue-uk.org/sites/default/files/document/1328/reportoslo-analysisofviolenceagainstwomenchildrenanddisplacedpopulations-17march2017.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Ministère de la Femme, de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale, Feuille de route de lutte contre le mariage d’enfants et les mutilations génitales féminines au Tchad, 2016, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/resource-centre/feuille-de-route-de-lutte-contre-le-mariage-des-enfants-et-les-mutilations-genitales-feminines/ (accessed March 2020).

Ministère de la Femme, de la protection de la Petite Enfance et de la Solidarité Nationale, Feuille de route de lutte contre le mariage d’enfants et les mutilations génitales féminines au Tchad, 2019, https://www.unicef.org/chad/fr/media/1036/file/Feuille_de_route_contre_le_mariage_d%27Enfants.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed March 2020).

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* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)