12 October 2011
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today considered the combined initial, second, third and fourth periodic report of Chad on how that country is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Introducing the report, Bamanga Abbas Malloum, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that by ratifying the Convention on June 15, 1995, Chad had not only made commitments to the provisions of the Convention but had also accepted the authority of the Convention. Chad was in the midst of a long civil war, causing mass displacement of populations and serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Women, children and displaced persons were the most vulnerable groups. The Directorate for the Advancement of Women and Gender Integration was created in August 2011 and the advancement of women and gender was a priority of the Government. Efforts focused on three areas: economic, legal and institutional and socio-cultural areas.
Questions raised by Experts during the discussion frequently concerned the small size of the delegation, which did not include any officials or experts directly from Chad. Other issues discussed included the high rates of female genital mutilation, early marriages of girls under 13 and the high rates of child labour. Insecurity and sexual violence towards women and girls in the refugee camps of eastern Chad was widely discussed, as was the frequency of rape throughout the country and women’s safety in general. Experts asked about the provision of education for girls and former child-soldiers; about employment opportunities for women; and about services for rural women and widows.
In concluding remarks, Mr. Malloum thanked the Committee for their comments, questions, support and attempts to find out the reality for Chadian women. Chad was emerging from conflict, and was also living out the situation in Libya with all the consequences that entailed. There was faith for the future and the State believed in international cooperation, and asked the honourable experts for their support, individually or as a committee. Mr. Malloum promised to provide any answers not given today, to allow the Committee to fulfil its goals.
In preliminary concluding remarks, Nicole Ameline, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, referred to the three women from Liberia and Yemen who won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, and said their examples should be taken into account. Ms. Ameline thanked and commended the delegation for their efforts and encouraged the State party to take all necessary measures to respond to the different concerns expressed by the Committee.
The delegation of Chad consisted of the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva, and the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
When the Committee reconvenes on Thursday, 13 October at 10 a.m., it is scheduled to begin its consideration of the combined third and fourth periodic report of Kuwait (CEDAW/C/KWT/3-4).
The combined initial, second, third and fourth periodic report of Chad (CEDAW/C/TCD/1-4) recalls that Chad ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 1995, and that while Chad has demonstrated a firm wish to combat discrimination against Chadian women in accordance with the Convention, it must be mentioned that Chad inherited the legislation of the colonial country and thus operates with legislation that combines customary law, religious law and modern law, with all three governing legal, social and economic aspects of the lives of Chadian women. Chadian society is patriarchal and accords more value to boys and men than to girls and women, who are marginalized from an early age. In general there is a predominance of tradition over the principle of male/female equality and over freedom of opinion. This way of thinking reduces the role of women to procreation, bringing up children and preparing food for the family.
However, Chad has taken internal measures to establish gender equality. The Chadian Constitution, adopted in 1996, makes gender equality of Chadians a fundamental right. The implementation of the policy for the integration of women in development has brought satisfactory results to certain areas of women’s lives, although other areas remain to be addressed. The report aims to remove the restrictions which prevent the full application of women’s rights in Chad. Measures already taken include legislative measures to fight against certain harmful social and cultural practices which discriminate against girls, as well as the prohibition of indecent assault on the person of a child of either sex aged under 13. The Criminal Code also prohibits consummation of a customary-law marriage before the girl has reached the age of 13. Chad has adopted the World Health Organization’s Regional Action Plan to eliminate female genital mutilation, although there is resistance to reform from some religious groups.
Difficulties have been encountered in attempts to change stereotypes, and the role of women is culturally limited to procreation and care of the household. The education of young girls is in duties rather than rights, whereas that of young boys is marked by rights. The Chadian State recognizes women’s right to healthcare and a national health-care policy was adopted in 2007 which includes reproductive health. Nevertheless, although women’s rights are recognized by the Constitution, social and cultural inertia, accompanied by the high level of women’s illiteracy and their extreme poverty, render it difficult for them to claim their rights.
Presentation of the Report
BAMANGA ABBAS MALLOUM, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on June 15, 1995, Chad had not only made commitments to the provisions of the Convention but had also accepted the authority of the Convention. Chad was in the midst of a long civil war, causing mass displacement of populations and serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Women, children and displaced persons were the most vulnerable groups. The massive presence of over 700,000 displaced persons exercised strong pressure on already limited resources. To meet the challenges in terms of human rights in general and women's rights in particular, on 17 August 2011 the Government created specific departments and field missions, including the Directorate for the Advancement of Women and Gender Integration.
The advancement of women and gender was a priority of the Government and efforts focused on three areas: economic, including micro-credits for initiatives of women entrepreneurs; legal and institutional, including the draft Code of People and Family, and reduction of gender-based violence including rape and female genital mutilation; and socio-cultural, including intensification of literacy programmes, enrolment of girls in school and reinforcement of women’s capabilities. To support education policies and keep girls in school the Government focused on recruitment and training of teachers, building new schools or refurbishing them, and distributing of text books and other educational kits.
The Libyan crisis had further affected socio economic life in Chad. Of 500,000 Chadians living in Libya, over 80,000 so far had been repatriated by the Government with the help of international organizations and bilateral cooperation. The majority of Chadian returnees were women and children. There was a programme to support electoral processes in Chad and the political participation of women, which involved revision of the Electoral Code to encourage participation of women and young people in elections. To date the new National Assembly had 28 women out of 188 elected members. In conclusion, the Government of Chad remained committed to implement the Convention.
Questions from Experts
A Committee Expert started by welcoming the delegation, although she voiced disappointment that no delegates had come from Chad and said that could send a wrong message regarding the importance the Government placed on the Convention.
An Expert noted the troubles Chad had, especially along its borders, but was particularly concerned about the climate of impunity. Chadian women and migrant women were those who suffered most. There were concerns that women did not have access to justice for various reasons: literacy, poverty, insecurity and also the lack of legal frameworks to help there. There was discrimination with regard to the legislation. The Expert asked for explanation of the efforts made by the Chadian Government to put an end to impunity, to provide access to justice for women and to increase legal protection of women.
Legislation banning female genital mutilation and early marriage had been passed under the Criminal Code in 2002, but since then there had been no sanctions. Although those acts were in theory illegal, in practice they still continued.
What was the relation between customary, religious, civil and international law in Chad? How did the Government intend to guarantee access for women, for all levels, both urban and rural, to their rights stated in the Convention?
Chad was currently rebuilding itself, particularly in the east. There had been serious security incidents. What was the security situation of women today? Was social reform included in the general plans for reform?
The President of Chad had promoted political dialogue which involved non-governmental organizations and civil society: could the delegation please elaborate on that?
Response from the Delegation
The head of delegation first explained that they had a very small delegation, consisting of two members from the Permanent Mission in Geneva, and no women. Although women were present in the political sphere, the lack of their presence at this meeting was not due to negligence. Those persons were busy preparing for local elections in Chad, which were considered very important by the Government. The delegation had not wanted to postpone the session as they had a lot to say, and wanted to explain the situation in Chad, and then ask the Committee for help.
Chad had a chequered past but it was possible to hold today’s CEDAW exchange because the situation was gradually improving. That had only been the case for the last two years, after the peace agreement with Sudan. Throughout history Chad had experienced the horrors of civil war, and also the selfishness of politicians who filled their pockets during the chaos of war. The war in Darfur had moved into Chad because of the huge number of refugees and of displaced persons. There was a huge deterioration in services in the areas that those refugees moved into. Chad had had to welcome those refugees into innermost Chadian life. The persons most affected by war were women and children. Throughout the civil wars men had left to fight; there had been a culture of violence in Chad ever since independence in 1963, when the then Government refused to implement democracy or a multi-party system. Some people had maintained that culture of violence because they found it in their interest. Now the situation in Libya formed a new problem, as over 500,000 Chadians lived there; 80,000 Chadians had been repatriated, but many remained displaced or imprisoned in Libya.
Chad was one of the four countries in Africa with the worst literary rates. They were now working with a number of non-governmental organizations on the ground, particularly women’s associations, in order to publicize the message of women's rights. The Government had not given women the possibility of participating more in politics. It was now trying to make the limited means available. However everything in Chad was a priority, right down to drinking water. The very existence – or non-existence – of water was a priority. So the Government continued to work to meet the needs of their population, particularly women and children.
There had been a mushrooming of non-governmental organizations in Chad, over 3,000, and 1,000 of those were women’s non-governmental organizations involved in assisting women and raising awareness of women’s issues. They often provided free legal aid, and there were some legal aid centres. The Government was working with many of those non-governmental organizations.
Concerning the culture of impunity, in Chad the entire population suffered from the issue, not just women and children. The Head of State was today working on reform of the army. Until now warlords and tribal chieftains were recruited for private militia. The State army had ceased to exist around 1979, in the civil war. The army needed to be reformed; in the past they had spread insecurity among the population, thanks to which many Generals became wealthy. Some women were being recruited as military prefects and that was a start. Police reform had already seen some success.
The refugees in the east and south of Chad suffered greatly from the problem of insecurity. However Chad had been making progress, hand in hand with international organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
A woman could not complain about her husband, or her entire tribe would think she was some sort of witch, the sort of person who sowed seeds of dissent in her tribe. Therefore women hesitated to go to a court with complaints. Chadian society preferred to settle disputes themselves rather than go to courts, especially those concerning families. For that they received a certain amount of money.
In Chad the legal process was very slow, whereas customary settlements in the villages and towns were much quicker. Many chiefs had educated their children, who were now working in Government. Those children pulled strings to prevent legal reform, as it was in their interest to maintain customary law. Legally there had been a big focus on armed conflict, so people tended to settle everything else themselves. There were very few judges in Chad as there were problems recruiting and training judges. Chadians had the attitude that there were other, more pressing priorities ahead of revamping the civil code, which was based on outdated 1958 French law.
There should be no discrimination between sexes. Subsidies were given to women so they could stand in legislative elections. There were nine women in the last Government, there were currently five. The Head of State told Chadian women: “Do not sit back. Stand up and I will stand by your side”. There was a political quota – at least two seats in the Assembly had to be given to women - and meetings had been held to make sure all politicians accepted that quota.
Questions from Experts
The delegation was asked to provide information about the Directorate for the Advancement of Women and Gender Integration of the Ministry of Social Action and the Family, and explain what human, financial and technical resources were available to it.
How had women, particularly rural women, been involved in the implementation and monitoring of the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Action Plan for Women Project?
Response from the Delegation
The head of delegation said he was embarrassed that the person who knew the statistics on the political promotion of women was not here to answer questions in details, but would provide the exact figures later in the day. The Ministry for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms governed Governmental action related to upholding human rights.
Political will was present, hence the creation of the annual Week of Women. At a local level, to integrate women, the Government was seeing an impact in villages at a local level. In all areas there was a representative of the social action plan who coordinated the promotion of women's rights and organized workshops. The workshops had many women participants, who were also eligible for micro-credit.
The Committee on Child Trafficking had reached an agreement between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Government, particularly in the field of child soldiers. Children had been taken care of by UNICEF and incorporated into those structures, which were then monitored.
The problem of quotas kept returning: two women would be members of the legislature, but many Chadians were traditional and would not have female members of the National Assembly. The fact that a million francs was being made available, a huge sum in Chad, helped change their minds. There was a former female minister, who should have been in the delegation, and three vice-presidents of the Assembly.
Questions from Experts
A Committee Expert said there was the important question of female genital mutilation, a terrible form of violence against women. Early and forced marriages were a form of violence as well. Women who had been widowed were forced to marry their brothers-in-law. It was important to gain the cooperation of civil society and also to protect civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Rape was rampant in some areas of the country, and it was not prosecuted and violators were not punished. Rape continued to take place not only in eastern Chad, but in other parts, including the capital N’Djamena. Rapes were rarely reported due to fear of reprisals from the perpetrators. Cases were rarely pursued by the authorities even when the victims were brave enough to report them. There were customary mechanisms in place, but those consisted of a marriage to the rapist, or compensation to the raped woman. Were there plans to come up with a comprehensive law on sexual offences?
About 45 per cent of women in Chad had undergone female genital mutilation; 70 per cent were Muslim and 30 per cent were Christian. Neither Islam nor Christianity endorsed such a practice. Could the delegation tell the Committee anything about specific efforts to raise awareness on that abominable practice, by engaging the religious leaders? What was the State doing about that?
Despite female genital mutilation being prohibited by the Health Promotion Act it was still practised. That Act stated that all forms of violence, such as female genital mutilation, early marriage, violence and sexual abuse of the human persons, were prohibited. The law was quite clear. Could the delegation provide data on the impact of measures to prevent violence against women, and how the measures were impacting on the lives of women? Was there a plan to have one comprehensive law dealing with the issue of violence against women?
Response from the Delegation
Responding to these questions and comments, the delegation said stereotypes in Chad existed, and in Chadian tribes people often hid behind religion in order to commit acts which had nothing to do with religion, for instance early marriage and rape. The idea of a plan of action was a very good one. Sometimes there was a reluctance to implement laws. It would be helpful to listen to more stories from women victims.
Officials tasked with raising awareness sometimes caused problems for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which were doing wonderful advocacy and practical work in the field. The Government was aware of that fact. NGOs did what they could, and had created a network to make their voice heard. However the State should also shoulder its responsibilities.
There was a shortage of judges and also a problem with corruption. A judge earned very little. If a judge was badly paid he would not do his job properly so the Government doubled the salary. Now a judge was paid more than a doctor but they seemed to be even more corrupt than before.
Parents often entered into financial arrangements regarding the female members of their family, so injustices were happening every day. In Chad abducting a woman was an honour for a family, as it showed the man, the abductor, was very masculine.
Questions from Experts
The crime of human trafficking was one of the most dangerous crimes facing society, notably societies going through transitional phases. There was a tribal view which meant an adequate definition of human trafficking had not been adopted yet. The perpetrators of the crimes needed to be punished and the victims protected.
There was rampant sexual violence in the refugee camps of Chad. What could be done to protect women and girls who were victims, particularly of rape, and often by camp guards? Some rape victims were as young as ten years old and suffered from fistula. What could be done for those women and girls?
The prison conditions for Chadian women were the worst in Africa. What could be done to help and protect women prisoners in Chad? Could more women officers be appointed, including in the police force?
Response from the Delegation
Children of cattle raisers living near the border with Cameroon were often victims of kidnapping and trafficking, they would be taken and ransomed. If the ransom did not come the child would be killed. People could not pay, and the children were killed. Some perpetrators were imprisoned as a result of cooperation between Chad and Cameroon. Drug trafficking in that region was also a problem as children and women were used to transport those drugs. Chad was a country in the centre of Africa without a coastline, it was like a cross-road between Sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Africa, and so was very vulnerable to trafficking. The Government of Chad was drafting a National Action Plan on trafficking, and concentrated on strengthening regional cooperation. Few Chadians left the country, only two million had and those persons lived in Sudan, Libya or Cameroon. They did not like to move far away and had a suspicion of outsiders.
The security of women refugees was more difficult to uphold that any other in Chad. Those camps not only needed to be secured but those going in and out needed to be controlled. International organizations needed to support efforts by Chad. Refugees in Chad were the responsibility of the Government but could stay in Chad for a year without outside help, so outside support was needed.
The eastern Chad region experiencing problems with rape was where most of the population was Muslim. Humanitarian organizations were on the group and worked with the actors on increasing security. Most of those refugees had gone home now, although Chad still had many displaced people to look after.
The prisons dated from the colonial era. State structures did not exist to provide support to prisons. The first project of the Minister for Human Rights was to visit the prisons and meet prisoners who had ambivalent status, and insist that prisons were at least liveable in. Prisons in Chad were now visited on a daily basis by different associations. The standard of the prisons was unacceptable, but now prisoners did carry out activities within the prison. Previously they were treated as people who had no future, but now they were encouraged to give something back to society.
Question from Experts
An Expert said that there were dismally low attendance rates of girls at school in Chad for reasons that went beyond poverty, but were due to cultural norms and stereotypes and the civil war. To what extent were schools safe places for girls? Were the girls free from sexual and physical harassment by boys and teachers? The problem of violence against girls seemed to permeate Chadian society.
There was concern about the recruitment of children into armed conflict, including girls. What measures were there to protect girls in that regard? If children were brought out of conflict, were there opportunities for the reintegration of children, especially girls, into the educational system.
Girls were brought up with a view to marriage instead of education, this devalued girls in society. Furthermore parents saw early marriage as a way of protecting girls from sexual harassment in schools. Were measures being taken to change those cultural norms and put a higher value on the education of girls?
On the issue of adolescent pregnancy, was there a Government policy on education of girls during pregnancy and early motherhood? If they dropped out could they re-enter school?
There were a number of technical institutions to provide an interface between school and work, and to provide professional qualifications. However, only 39 per cent of registrants were girls.
If the problem of illiteracy was to be stemmed, the problem had to be addressed at the educative level.
Response from the Delegation
In response to the questions and comments, the delegation said concerning the percentages of school enrolment for girls and boys, measures had been taken on both administrative and legislative levels to make school free in Chad, and nobody should be discriminated against because of their ethnic origin or gender.
Measures were in place to encourage girls in school, to remove the responsibility for domestic work that they may have, and for girls to catch-up. There was State support for pregnant girls and young mothers. The State provided subsidies to ensure training sessions for them, and that should have been included in the report.
Regarding the armed conflict and girls involved with the fighters, the girls received the same treatment as boys. There were centres for those children, to give them special training.
The notion of harassment was not included in Chadian law. There was an education issue there. If girls were victims of harassment, if a girl’s dignity was impacted and there was a threat to her health, there was a law to cover those aspects of violations of her human rights. If the victim wished to make a claim they could seek compensation.
Early marriage was another cultural issue, and a very significant one in Chad. In Chad they had over 200 ethnic groups and behaviours changed from one region to another. Female genital mutilation was an issue in some areas of Chad, and not in others. It depended on each individual tribal culture. The State was carrying out an awareness-raising campaign on those points. The specific figures for victims who had been compensated were not available on hand, but that was happening as the State was trying to put an end to the phenomenon of female genital mutilation.
Concerning professional qualifications, young girls sometimes worked in the commercial sector and found their feet in that field. There was a tradition in Chadian culture that mothers trying to provide for their families did go into the commercial sector. The girls felt that after they finished their schooling they could manage to run a small business, which was often why girls opted for that section. Girls of primary and secondary school age were persuaded by religious leaders to take up those roles.
The literate population in Chad was not just those literate in French, but often also in Arabic. There was a third generation learning how to read and write alongside classes in religion. The statistics showed that anyone who did not know how to read and write in French was registered as illiterate.
Early marriage was a significant issue in Chad and stopped girls attending school. The Government had tried to combat that phenomenon. Lots of young girls attended primary school but by secondary level the numbers decreased as girls were married off. Those marriages were arranged between sets of parents. If a husband was going to marry a woman in a dignified way the woman needed to be stolen. If the girl was 12 or 13 years of age, that was not a problem. From the age of 10 she was no longer a girl, she was a woman, and the man could steal her.
The practice of early marriage was more common in Muslim areas of the country, where it had been authorized. Parents were starting to complain about the practice now though, and some heads of district had been punished. There were awareness campaigns being carried out and the delegation said they would request more detailed information on that.
Questions from the Experts
Child labour was very significant in Chad, and 45 per cent of children were labourers. That explained part of the problems within the education system. Five per cent of child workers were between six and nine years old, and 18 per cent were younger than 12 years old. Chad had ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on the worst forms of child labour but the problem seemed to still persist.
Two per cent of children worked in agriculture. It seemed Chad was a country where women and children worked, but had no privileges. Was there any sanction against child labour, as it was not clear in the report?
Legislation from 1984 said the husband could object to the work of the spouse, whether inside or outside of the home. Was that still possible? Furthermore sexual harassment in the workplace was another problem – were there any reports on how that could be dealt with?
Six weeks before birth and eight weeks afterwards was a relatively long maternity leave – how was that being funded? Also was there provision in the Labour Code for young girl mothers?
Were there any courses running to train women police, as mentioned earlier in the meeting, specifically for women police officers to work in refugee camps.
There was still discrimination of people via castes. The Government was responsible for eliminating that, and despite being a developing country Chad had significant oil reserves. Were there sanctions with regard to the caste system and what impact did that have on the employment market?
Response from the Delegation
The head of the delegation said that the Committee was talking as though Chad was a normal country, when in fact it was in a very difficult situation. The delegate preferred to be frank, as there was no point hiding anything. Chad had been divided and suffering from civil war. Laws that did not fall within the Convention were being reviewed, and commitments would be added to national legislation. The report was drawn up thanks to a United Nations subsidy. Efforts were being made to try to alleviate what was going on, and the delegate hoped his Government would be able to improve, with the Committee’s help, daily life for Chadians. Chad wanted to be a normal country with a normal population, who could breathe fresh air and live in a democratic environment.
Child labour in Chad had not been raised before, but the delegate said he was not surprised to hear the statistics, as most Chadians lived in rural areas. When the father thought his child would be more useful in the fields than in school, the child worked in the fields. If the head of a district tried to make the child go to school, his father would pull him out of school himself and send him back to the fields. That happened in other countries where children were making the clothes that others wore. The State was currently trying to find measures to change the situation and needed to encourage the population to be educated.
For women to be able to live off the product of their work there were measures to make modes of transport easier, in order to reduce the distance they had to go for water.
The oil services belong to the Americans, Exxon Mobile and Petronas. They own the oil. The Government received taxes from them.
Concerning trade unions, as a Chadian person with responsibilities, the delegate was curious to know why trade unionists who were men were interested in the cause of women. Of course women were entitled to become members of trade unions and of women’s associations, but the leaders of trade unions tended to be men. Women tended not to be involved in the field of labour rights.
Regarding the caste system, the constitution stated that there should be no discrimination in the field of work depending on the origins of a Chadian. If somebody was from a given region and employed by a local company, that was because of his skills, not his origins. People from certain castes had now become the masters of their former masters. Caste populations were regaining their rights, and even occupying villages, which was a problem. There were gazillions of problems to settle of that kind.
Questions by Experts
An Expert expressed her thanks to the head of the delegation for his efforts to represent his country and single-handedly cover a large range of issues. For some articles questions could only be answered with statistics and specific information, but that was unfortunately lacking. Where statistics were available, they were out of date. The Expert said she had changed her prepared questions, which were specific on the area of health, as she knew they would not be able to be answered today. The Expert noted the efforts Chad had made to cooperate with human rights mechanisms in general, including the Universal Periodic Review, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, among others.
A major health issue was HIV/AIDS, its prevalence, the lack of statistics, low life expectancy and the high rate of maternal mortality. Statistics were needed on the use of condoms, and specific figures broken down by people in refugee camps or permanent settlements. How had HIV/AIDS prevalence evolved in Chad?
The situation of Chad was understandable, but could not be used as an excuse for ever, as Chad had been in conflict for decades. Other countries that had been in similar situations had still been able to progress in health areas, even during times of conflict. There was a need for better health policies, good programming and good management.
Lately the concept of micro-credit had been controversial because some interest rates were so high; in some cases debt caused by micro-credit had led women to commit suicide. How was micro-credit being made available in Chad?
Were rural women negatively impacted by oil explanation, as there were reports that oil exploration in south Chad had impacted agricultural areas and livelihoods? Did rural women have any compensatory mechanisms available to them?
Refugees and internally displaced persons, especially in eastern Chad, were prone to violence and especially sexual violence. They were often attacked while collecting water by Janjaweed militants. What strategies did the Government have to protect those women?
What were the inheritance rights of wives and daughters, under the civil code? What was the legal marriageable age, given the amount of girls under the age of 13 who were forced into marriage? Was polygamy legal in Chad?
Response by the Delegation
The problems Chad encountered were similar to other countries that had faced war. However after colonization Chad was left with nothing; they had only one doctor. Now Chad had five medical centres. It was true there was a problem of mismanagement in the public arena.
As for the oil resources, Chad may have oil in theory, but the oil did not belong to Chad. The country just received taxes from the oil companies. Four Ministries were identified as priorities to receive funds from oil resources: the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Affairs and one other. The problem was funds being absorbed. The Government needed to be guided, not just on how to target but how to make the most of opportunities provided. For example mosquito nets had been provided but not distributed properly. Help or technical assistance was needed from the international community.
The head of the delegation said that contrary to comments from the Committee, there was political will towards implementing the Convention, and Chad made efforts every time they came to the United Nations, both politically and financially.
There were statistics on HIV/AIDS in the report.
The President of Chad was not happy with the health situation either and the lack of information on it. The President now had monthly meetings with the Minister of Health and other leaders of the health sector.
Concerning rural women, the micro-credit system was recently created and was mismanaged in the beginning, as the process took too long. 2011 was the third year of various micro-credit pilot schemes and solutions to making the system better were being examined. Around 90 per cent of the credit granted was allocated to women, particularly rural women. The interest rates for those credit schemes were high, however. The Government would like to see widows receive some kind of widows’ pension, and some finances had already been given. That was a source of concern.
Low-cost housing was currently being built on plots of land around N’Djamena, and distributed to poor families.
The statistics on internally displaced persons attacked by the Janjaweed armed gunmen were out of date, as the Janjaweed, who accompanied the Sudanese rebels, had not been present in Chad since 2005. Police had been specially recruited, and United Nations peacekeeping forces had made the camps more secure, so there had not been problems with that over the past seven years. There were no longer problems with rapes in the camps. UNHCR had commended the efforts of Chad in cooperating with international organizations in the east of Chad. There was a problem of the attempted abduction of children from the camps by an organization that had a permit to enter camps. The inter-community strife had now ended and in 2007 and 2008 people went back to their homes or elsewhere, taking the seeds and tools given to them in order to plough the earth.
The age of marriage was currently 15, and it was hoped to raise it to at least 17, or 18 to agree with the Convention. Polygamy was not officially recognized by the State, the second spouse would have no legal status.
Women should think twice about having a second or third child, as the birth rate in Chad was six children per woman, but people were now thinking twice about having so many children. The use of contraception was increasing, even in rural areas, as it was too expensive to have too many children. Children tended to leave their families behind and go to live in towns.
In customary law, when the man died, his parents would inherit everything, and could even chase the widow away from her home, even if she had children. That happened in rural and urban areas. The State clearly did not agree with this and wanted to change it through legislation.
Regarding post-traumatic or psychiatric care for people, the delegate answered that everybody in Chad was traumatized. The whole population was traumatized, because of the conflict, the violence, and the diseases. People just had to live with the trauma. The Government tried to do what it could here and there.
BAMANGA ABBAS MALLOUM, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked the Committee for their comments, questions, support and attempts to find out the reality for Chadian women. Chad was emerging from conflict, and was also living out the situation in Libya with all the consequences that entailed. There was faith for the future and the State believed in international cooperation, and asked the honourable Experts for their support, individually or as a committee. Mr. Malloum promised to provide any answers not given today, to allow the Committee to fulfil its goals.
In preliminary concluding remarks, NICOLE AMELINE, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, referred to the three women from Liberia and Yemen who won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, and said their examples should be taken into account. Ms. Ameline thanked and commended the delegation for their efforts and encouraged the State party to take all necessary measures to respond to the different concerns expressed by the Committee.
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