Chad: a legislative situation in the process of being implemented, which already faces several challenges
The challenges of the Chadian situation
As mentioned in the Legal Framework in Africa 2021, the implementing decree of law n°006 has not yet entered into force and was still awaiting ratification by the Council of Ministers. Ms. Beassoum Kemneloum Annicette, Project Officer for Violence Against Women and Girls at the Public Interest Legal Center (PILC), spoke at a webinar organized by CoP on August 25 to explain the legislative situation in her country. She emphasized that the lack of implementation of the implementing decree has had a limited effect on FGM prevalence.
“The data suggests that the decrease in FGM prevalence has not yet been significantly affected by the legislation. This law is not well known, because in spite of the multiple sensitizations carried out by the different actors in the fight against FGM, FGM continues to be practiced clandestinely in certain localities, but almost in full view of everyone, as is the case in Mandoul in particular and more precisely in Koumra”.
According to her, various reasons are mentioned by the communities themselves to justify the practice of FGM, such as “making the girls ‘pure’, preparing them for their married life or maintaining an ancestral practice.
Furthermore, according to Ms. Kemneloum, the decree implementing law N°006 is not yet strong enough to dissuade the perpetrators of FGM.
“We continue to advocate for the authorities to get tough on this practice”.
However, according to a study published in 2020 on the Social Norms and Dynamics of Female Genital Mutilation in Mandul, one of Chad’s 23 regions, most people know that FGM is illegal, but enforcement of the law is fraught with difficulties.
“Overall, it seems that the prohibition of FGM is well known [in the region]. Of those interviewed during the survey, only five out of sixty (8 percent) said they thought the practice was legal. At the local level, cases of arrests within communities are sufficiently high-profile that they should not be ignored. In fact, even if people do not know what this law is called – “Law 006″ – they are well aware of its nature and consequences” (Florence CHATOT, 2020).
According to this study report, village authorities should be trained in the application of this law to better fight against FGM in Chad:
“The role of village authorities in the implementation of Law 006 is somewhat ambivalent. Beyond the canton and village chiefs, the gendarmerie is responsible for applying the law. It is therefore difficult to rely solely on the provincial judicial structures to enforce Law 006, especially since the agents sometimes have limited knowledge of how to apply this law” (Florence CHATOT, 2020).
The advent of the application decree for this law is eagerly awaited, as Law 006 is also subject to more or less well-founded interpretations, which the legislator should decide upon.
In short, the implementation of the legislation that represses the practice of FGM in Chad does not seem to be sufficient to put an end to the practice.
During her intervention at the CoP conference, Ms. Kemneloum emphasized the importance of strong and constant advocacy towards decision-making bodies in favor of strengthening the fight against FGM. Given the clandestine practices and the widespread acceptance of these practices in many territories, it is necessary that the legislative framework be accompanied by awareness-raising activities in order to deconstruct the reasons put forward by communities in favor of the practice of FGM. Ms. Kemneloum therefore advocates for an intervention focused on the representations and mechanisms on which these practices are built, in addition to the legal criminal repression.
“The Community of Practice on Female Genital Mutilation” is part of the “Building Bridges between Africa and Europe to tackle FGM” project, supported by the “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM”.
The project is coordinated by AIDOS in partnership with GAMS Belgium.
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