Freedom in Chad

The Political Context, State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Capital: N’Djamena

Population: 14,899,994

GDP 2017 (US$ million): 9,981.30 

Language: Arabic, French

Political Regime Type: One-Party State Under Totalitarian Dictatorship (De Facto)

President: Idriss Déby

Current Political Context

  • The executive branch dominates the legislature and judiciary
  • President Déby was elected for a 5th term
  • Boko Haram has continued to commit abuses around Lake Chad
  • Severe economic crisis has led to austerity  measures, public discontent and strikes in sectors including health, education, and justice

State of Democracy

  • Chadian authorities have repeatedly banned peaceful assemblies and arrested and prosecuted human rights defenders, activists, and journalists
  • President Déby has promised the repealing of the death penalty except for terrorism and the increase of the minimum age for marriage to 18 years old
  • Impunity is a major issue within the country, especially with security forces

State of Rule of Law

  • New powers, including the power to arrest, were provided to the National Security Agency (NAS)
  • In January the authorities interfered in the internal affairs of the trade union representing researchers and university teachers, SYNECS, to force the removal of its president and end its strike

State of Human Rights

  • Freedom of association was violated with unlawful restriction on the right to organize freely
  • Certain citizen’s associations have been criminalized
  • More than 408,000 refugees continue to live in dire conditions in camps
  • During 2017, the government has banned at least 6 peaceful assemblies, and the organisers were arrested
  • Certain social movements and civil society platforms were banned and the right to strike was restricted in contravention of international law
  • Freedom of expression and media freedom is severely hampered by journalists critical of the government receiving threats and being subjected to surveillance
  • Defamation and contempt laws are continuously being used against journalists in attempt to silence them
  • Chadian military continues to impose restrictions on the movement of people and goods along the shores of Lake Chad, hampering the livelihoods of communities and heightening the risk of food insecurity

Freedom House Democracy Index Score (2018): 18/100