Chad signs action plan to end recruitment and use of children in its national army and security forces

N’Djamena, Chad 16 June 2011 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, traveled to Chad this week to witness the signing of an agreement with between the Chadian Government and the United Nations to end recruitment and use of child soldiers. The action plan spells out concrete steps, which when taken, will result in Chad being removed from the Secretary-General’s list of parties who recruit and use children.

The Chadian Government has committed to:

Step-up efforts to ensure that the Chadian National Forces (ANT) and recently integrated armed groups are child-free;
Enable verification of military installations by the United Nations to monitor compliance with the action plan;
Align national legislation with its international obligations for children;
Take punitive measures against those who continue to violate the agreement;
And to put in place other preventive measures.

“I commend the Chadian Government for signing this action plan, which demonstrates political will for the protection of children. I encourage them to maintain this determination as they move forward to implement the plan. Real change will also require long-term reintegration and access to education for all girls and boys,” said SRSG Coomaraswamy.

“We hope that other governments in the region will follow Chad’s lead in ending grave violations against children in conflict in line with N’Djamena Declaration,” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF Chad Representative.

In a meeting with SRSG Coomaraswamy, President Idriss Déby Itno affirmed his personal commitment to implement the action plan.

SRSG Coomaraswamy was struck by the marked improvement in the security situation as compared to her last visit 2008. “Chad should now invest in the education of its children. Education, including vocational training, is key for the stability of the country.”

SRSG Coomaraswamy visited Iriba on the Sudanese border to speak with children who fled violence in Darfur. There, local state and traditional authorities pledged to end the recruitment and use of children. Her interactions with refugee children in Iridimi camp once again confirmed that access to schooling is essential to keep children from joining armed groups.

“While violations against children in the east have decreased, I remain concerned about the current situation in the Chad-Central African Republic-Sudan border region. I urge the Chadian authorities, in collaboration with their neighbors, to address security in the tri-border area,” said SRSG Coomaraswamy.

SRSG Coomaraswamy was impressed by the hard work carried out by UNICEF, UNHCR and other UN and NGO partners to protect children, but remains concerned by the considerable shortfall in funding for protection and reintegration activities.

SRSG Coomawaswamy and local UN partner will continue to work with the Chadian Government to protect the rights of children in Chad.

Click here for PDF version.

For Further Information Contact:

Timothy La Rose
Communications Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 346 3404

Muriel Gschwend
Associate Communications Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 367 35 62

Website: http://www.un.org/children/conflict

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/childreninwar

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/childrenandarmedconflict/