Female genital mutilation, including which ethnic groups practise this ritual and the persons who decide whether it is to be performed; whether a father can object to his daughter's being circumcised; the attitude of the government, particularly whether there are any laws against female genital mutilation and, if so, the punishments prescribed for offenders (June 2004) [TCD42705.FE]

The president of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits humains, ATPDH), affiliated with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), provided the following information during a 21 June 2004 telephone interview. The president said that female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised throughout the country, but most particularly in the southern, northern and northeastern regions, and in the capital, N'Djamena. The decision as to whether the ritual is performed on a young girl is made by the members of her extended family. Female circumcision is generally women's [translation] "business," and the grandmother, mother or aunt is usually responsible for making such a decision. It is possible, however, for a father to object to the procedure once he becomes aware that it is imminent. Fathers who oppose the practice are generally educated men who are aware of the dire consequences FGM can have on the health of young girls.

In its last update on Chad, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) reported that violence against women, particularly FGM, is [DFAIT English version] "widespread" throughout the country (Canada 24 Mar. 2004).

Without naming the ethnic groups that practise FGM, the Inter-parliamentary Union pointed out that female circumcision and FGM are practised throughout Chad (n.d.). According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, [Center for Reproductive Rights English version] "[t]he prevalence of female circumcision/female genital mutilation is estimated at 60%" (see also RQASF 29 July 2003). In referring to Guéra, the region in central Chad where FGM is widely practised, the Panafrican News Agency (PANA) indicated in an 8 January 2004 article that women who are not circumcised are "marginalised and treated with contempt."

However, PANA also reported that youths in Guéra had formed the Standard Association Against Early Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (ATCMPE), which is supported not only by a few doctors, but also by several women's organizations, the Catholic mission, and the Swiss Tropical Institute (8 Jan. 2004). The ATCMPE aims to educate the public about the harmful consequences of early marriages and FGM (PANA 8 Jan. 2004).

From a legal point of view, Chad is listed as one of 13 African countries that enacted laws criminalizing FGM in 2003 (Centre for Reproductive Rights Feb. 2004; Women's Global Network for Reproduction Rights Mar. 2003). Without specifying the punishments prescribed in Chadian legislation, the Center for Reproductive Rights indicated that, among these 13 countries, "penalties range from a minimum of six months to a maximum of life in prison" (Feb. 2004).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits humains (ATPDH), N'Djamena. 21 June 2004. Telephone interview with the president.

Canada. January 2004. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. "Tchad." http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/foreign_policy/human-rights/background_documents/chad-fr.asp [Accessed 1 June 2004]

Center for Reproductive Rights. February 2004. "Female Circumcision/Female Genital Mutilation (FC/FGM): Legal Prohibitions Worldwide." http://www.reproductiverights.org/pub_fac_fgmicpd.html [Accessed 18 June 2004]

_____. n.d. "Statistiques du Tchad." http://www.reproductiverights.org/fr_ww_afr_chad.html [Accessed 1 June 2004]

Inter-parliamentary Union. n.d. "Législation et autres textes de droit interne : Tchad." http://www.ipu.org/wmn-f/fgm-prov-t.htm [Accessed 1 June 2004]

Panafrican News Agency (PANA) [Dakar]. 8 January 2004. "Chadian Youths Crusade Against Early Marriage, FGM." (Dialog/Financial Times Information Limited)

Réseau québécois d'action pour la santé des femmes (RQASF). 29 July 2003. "Mutilation génitales féminines." http://www.rqasf.qc.ca/sp30/sp30_05.htm [Accessed 1 June 2004]

Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights. March 2003. Nirit Ben-Ari. "Senegal Changing Tradition to Safeguard Women: Villagers Join Campaigns Against Female Genital Mutilation." http://www.klaever.nl/open_document.asp?id=294&site_id=157 [Accessed 18 June 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted


Publications: Africa Confidential, Resource Centre country file.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Women Living Under Muslim Laws.