This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Djibouti ratified the CRC on 6 December 1990, as well as the optional protocols on children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on 27 April 2011. Regularly ratified treaties take precedence over national law. Djibouti’s Child Protection Code was voted in May 2015, and implements many rights contained in the CRC. Minors (children under 18) do not have legal capacity; they are represented by their father, or grandfather if the father is deceased or incapable. Children can only bring cases on their own before the children’s judge, if their safety, health, morality or education is in danger. Legal aid is available before all courts to people whose resources aren’t sufficient, and minors are automatically entitled to legal aid. NGOs can, under conditions, file a civil action concurrently to the criminal proceedings - in cases of female genital mutilation or sexual assault. There are reports of harassment and intimidation of human rights activists, journalists, and judges who don’t follow governmental orders. The independence of the magistrature is hindered by the overbearing role of the President of the Republic, who presides over the Superior Council of the Magistrature.