Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of all UN Treaty Bodies and their follow-up procedures. This does not include the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which are available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/treaties/index.asp
Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.
- UN Human Rights Committee
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
Ratified in 2002.
Report published: 30 October 2013
Review date: 16/17 October 2013
Concluding observations, issues raised:
Djibouti submitted its initial report to the Human Rights Committee with an eight years delay.
Inhuman sentencing: Djibouti amended its Constitution in 2010 to abolish the death penalty.
Harmful practices: Although criminalised by law, the Committee is concerned that FGM are still carried out in total impunity. The State party confirmed to the Committee that 93% of women of reproductive age suffered from FGM.
Corporal punishment: Djibouti currently allows corporal punishment in homes, and although it is reported that a ruling prohibits corporal punishment in schools, the Education system Acts does not prohibit it.
The Committee recommended that the State party take concrete measures to forbid corporal punishment in all settings.
Refugee children: The Committee welcomed the fact that Djibouti delivers birth registration to refugee children, thus preventing statelessness. However, it is concerned by reports of sexual violence in refugee camps.
Violence against children: The Committee recommended that the State party run information campaigns to prevent violence and sexual abuse against children, and systematically prosecutes and punishes perpetrators.
Juvenile justice: The Committee expressed concerns about reports of sexual violence against children in detention that did not led to investigations and prosecution.
The Committee stated that children should be separated from adults in detention, and that alternative sentences should be promoted.
Reproductive rights: Only therapeutic abortion is currently authorised, and no other exception is considered, even in the cases where pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Abortion is furthermore punishable by prison sentences.
Djibouti should amend its legislation to include more exceptions to the ban on abortion.The Committed further recommended to improve information and education on reproductive health.
Last Reported: 11 and 12 November 2013 Concluding Observations Issued: 30 December 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Employment: The Committee regrets that the quotas for proportional representation of either sex, of 10 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, in elected office and in the public service, falls short of establishing the equal participation of men and women. The Committee is also concerned that women are disproportionately affected by unemployment. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to ensure that the implementation of the National Gender Policy 2011–2021:…(c) Helps mothers, in particular by ensuring compliance with maternity leave regulations, introducing flexible working hours and opening day-care centres; (art. 3) (Para. 14)
Unemployment: The Committee is concerned by the scale of unemployment in the State party, particularly among young persons, women, persons with disabilities and older adults. The Committee urges the State party to develop and implement a comprehensive national employment policy based on the right to work and on the inclusion, in particular, of underprivileged and marginalized groups, and long-term measures to promote employment in all the priority sectors identified in its development plans. The Committee encourages the State party to diversify and develop its vocational training programmes accordingly. The Committee refers the State party to its general comment No. 18 (2005) on the right to work. (art. 6) (Para. 15)
Street children: The Committee is concerned about the large number of children living or working on the street in the State party and regrets that their care is managed entirely by civil society organisations, whose capacity is limited. The Committee calls on the State party to take care of children living or working on the street, to provide them with access to shelter, education and health care and to reintegrate them into society and the school system. (art. 10) (Para. 22)
Birth registration: The Committee is concerned about the fact that approximately one quarter of births in the State party are not registered, including the birth of refugee children born outside refugee camps. The Committee calls on the State party to ensure that all children born in its territory are registered systematically and are issued birth certificates, including refugee children born outside refugee camps. (art. 10) (Para. 23)
Nationality: The Committee is concerned about the fact that, under the State party’s Nationality Code, children born to foreign parents may end up stateless. The Committee calls on the State party to revise the Djiboutian Nationality Code so that all children born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless can obtain Djiboutian nationality at birth. (art. 10) (Para. 24)
Health: The Committee notes with concern the high maternal mortality rate in the State party, which inter alia is a result of limited access to health-care services, a lack of trained health-care personnel, a lack of prenatal care, complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, unsafe abortions and poor knowledge about maternal health. The Committee urges the State party to support implementation of the National Health Plan for Mothers, Newborns and Children and to promote greater access to maternal and reproductive health-care services, including for young people and for disadvantaged and marginalized groups, through community action, particularly in rural areas. (art. 12) (Para. 32)
Education: The Committee notes with concern that, despite the progress made by the State party, the right to basic education is not guaranteed for all, particularly for children in nomadic communities and rural, isolated or remote areas. The Committee encourages the State party to further raise awareness among parents about the importance of education, to continue to develop the education system, especially in nomadic communities and isolated or remote rural areas, and to improve the working conditions of teachers assigned to these areas. The Committee calls on the State party to provide information in its next periodic report on the implementation of the mobile schools pilot programme. The Committee is concerned both by school dropouts and by the high academic failure rate in the State party resulting from the poor quality of public education. (Para. 34)
The Committee encourages the State party to address the problems of poor quality public education, school dropouts and academic failure, particularly by: (a) developing an educational programme and system that is tailored to the specific situation in the country; (b) promoting inclusive education, including by providing school supplies for children from the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups; (c) investing in teacher training and enhancing the status of the teaching profession; (d) providing training at the local level for children who have dropped out of school; and (e) ensuring that school canteens and water and sanitation facilities are in good working order in all public schools. (arts. 13 and 14) (Para. 35)
Minority languages: The Committee regrets that the Somali and Afar languages have no legal status in the State party and that they have still not been incorporated in school curricula. The Committee recommends that the State party grant legal status to the two most widely spoken languages in its territory, Somali and Afar. The Committee encourages the State party to include teaching of those languages in its school curriculum. The Committee requests the State party to ensure that human rights education, including on economic, social and cultural rights, is provided at all levels, as appropriate, in public and private schools. (art. 13) (art. 15) (Para. 37 and 39)
Last reported: 8 March 2016
Concluding observations issued: 15 September 2017
Concerns and recommendations
Harmful traditional practices
The Committee notes that traditional practices are often widespread throughout Djibouti by virtue of the fact that almost the entire population is Muslim. The Committee is particularly concerned about harmful practices such as early marriage and female genital mutilation, which continue to exist despite being prohibited under the Family Code and the Criminal Code, respectively. The Committee is concerned about the entrenchment of these practices, especially in rural and nomadic areas (para. 20).
The Committee recommends that the State party redouble its awareness-raising efforts including among the religious and traditional authorities in these areas. It calls upon the State party to enforce rigorously article 333 of its Criminal Code in order to shield girls and women in these areas from such harmful practices. Victims should be encouraged to file complaints and should be afforded legal, moral and psychological support (para. 21).
Situation of refugees and asylum seekers
The Committee notes with satisfaction the efforts undertaken by the State party to host a large number of refugees in its territory. Nevertheless, it is concerned at the length of the asylum application procedure, which can result in expulsion or even refoulement, in violation of international norms. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about reports of violence against women and children in refugee camps (art. 5) (para. 22).
In the light of its general recommendation No. 22 (1996) on article 5 of the Convention and refugees and displaced persons, the Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to expedite the processing of asylum applications and to ensure that it is possible to appeal against expulsion decisions and that there are no cases of refoulement. It also recommends that the State party take steps to reduce overcrowding and address the lack of privacy, which can lead to sexual violence and child abuse in refugee camps and to improve safety conditions and legal assistance for victims of abuse (para. 23).
Promotion of the Somali and Afar languages
The Committee notes with interest the information provided by the State party on the measures taken to promote the Somali and Afar language and culture and on the strengthening of the capacity of the Languages Institute of the Djibouti Study and Research Centre. However, the Committee is concerned that these languages are still not included in school curricula or in the administration of justice (art. 5) (para. 24).
The Committee encourages the State party to facilitate the use of Somali and Afar languages in public life, for example in the public administration and the justice system. In addition, the Committee encourages the State party to ensure that these languages are gradually incorporated into school curricula (para. 25).
While noting Act No. 133 of 2016 on combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the Committee is deeply concerned that the State party has become a hub of trafficking, whose victims are most often foreign women and children (arts. 5 and 6) (para. 26).
The Committee recommends that the State party take all measures necessary not just to punish perpetrators of human trafficking but also to afford legal and institutional protection and adequate redress to victims, in particular non-citizens who do not have a valid residence permit (para. 27).
Last reported: 21 July 2011
Concluding Observations issued: 28 July 2011
Female genital mutilation: While welcoming the numerous measures taken by the State party to raise awareness about the harmful effects of FGM, the Committee notes with concern that the prevalence of FGM is still very high (93 percent), especially in rural areas, and that cases of FGM are generally not reported, prosecuted and punished. It also notes with concern that FGM often leads to obstetric complications, caesarean sections, excessive bleeding, prolonged labour and maternal death, especially in case of infibulations, the most extreme form of FGM, which is widely practiced in the State party.
The Committee recalls its general recommendations No. 14 (1990) on female circumcision and No. 19 (1992) on violence against women, as well as the recommendations addressed to the State party during the Universal Periodic Review of Djibouti (A/HRC/13/17, paras. 67.18, 67.25, 68.3 and 68.8) and by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/DJI/CO/2, para. 56), and urges the State party to:
(a) Effectively enforce Article 333 of the Criminal Code on FGM, which provides for a penalty of 5 years' imprisonment, by prosecuting and adequately punishing perpetrators as well as those complicit in or failing to report the crime, and to provide to the Committee information on the number of reports, prosecutions, convictions, and on the sentences imposed on perpetrators of FGM;
(b) Intensify its awareness-raising campaigns and training efforts targeting families, practitioners, communities, traditional and religious leaders, health workers, judges and magistrates, including those in personal status courts, prosecutors and police officers, with the support of civil society organizations, in order to explain that female genital mutilation is a form of gender-based discrimination and violence and to eradicate FGM and its underlying cultural justifications;
(c) Educate families, communities, practitioners, teachers, and health workers on the harmful effects of FGM on women's and girls' reproductive health. (Paragraphs 18 and 19)
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution: The Committee acknowledges the difficulties faced by the State party in responding to the high numbers of refugees and migrants coming to and transiting through its territory. It notes the measures that the State party has taken to combat trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, who are often abused by traffickers and subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation the countries of destination, by concluding cooperation agreements with other countries in the sub-region, further cooperating with IOM which recently opened a migration response centre in Obock, and criminalizing human trafficking. However, the Committee notes with concern the limited capacity of the State party to enforce the Human Trafficking Act and provide assistance to victims, the low number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, and the lack of protection of refugee or migrant women and children vulnerable to become victims of trafficking.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Expedite the adoption of a national plan of action to combat trafficking in human beings, in particular women and girls, including refugees and migrants;
(b) Effectively enforce the Human Trafficking Act by prosecuting and adequately punishing traffickers and by providing assistance to victims of trafficking;
(c) Continue raising awareness and training law enforcement officials on the strict application of relevant criminal law provisions;
(d) Establish appropriate mechanisms aimed at early identification, referral and support of victims of trafficking, including refugee and migrant women and girls; (Paragraphs 22 and 23)
Education: While welcoming the measures taken by the State party to increase girls' access to, in particular, primary education, such as bringing schools closer to rural communities, creating a new ministry for pre-school education, increasing the number of nurseries and daycares, and providing scholarships and food rations to girls and incentives for parents to send their daughters to school, especially in rural areas, the Committee is concerned about:
(a) The slow increase in the enrolment of girls at the primary level, in particular in rural areas, despite the measures taken by the State party;
(b) Girls' low enrolment at the secondary level, especially in rural areas, and the significant gap between the enrolment rates for girls and boys at the secondary level;
(c) The emphasis on traditionally female dominated fields such as sewing, cooking and hairdressing in professional training and in technical and vocational education for women and girls, potentially confining them to low-paid jobs in their future professions;
The Committee calls on the State party to continue taking measures to ensure equal access of girls and women to all levels of education, such as:
(a) Addressing barriers to women's and girls' education such as negative cultural attitudes, early marriage, excessive domestic duties, the low number of female teachers, lack of safety, and health problems related to FGM;
(b) Awareness-raising among parents, communities, teachers, traditional leaders, and public officials, especially men, about the importance of women's and girls' education;
(d) Ensuring girls' safety and addressing their health needs, including by opening more schools close to rural communities and by building separate and functioning latrines, in particular in primary schools;
(e) Public scholarships for girls and incentives for parents to send their daughters to school, including subsidies, to relieve girls of their domestic work duties;
(f) Adequate educational opportunities for girls and boys with disabilities, including by integrating them into mainstream education;
(g) Technical and vocational training facilitating the professional reinsertion of girls who dropped out of school, also orienting them towards traditionally male dominated careers, e.g. in services, trade and logistics related to the port of Djibouti; (Paragraphs 26 and 27)
Child Labour: While noting the protection afforded to women in the Labour Code, as well as the State party's efforts to create income generating opportunities for women, the Committee remains concerned about discrimination against women in the labour market, including:
(g) Exploitation of girls in worst forms of child labour, including domestic work.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(g) Protect girls and boys from exploitative child labour, through increased inspections and fines for employers, in accordance with ILO Convention No. 182 (1999) on Worst Forms of Child Labour, regulate and monitor the working conditions of domestic workers, in particular girls, and consider ratifying the ILO Domestic Workers Convention No. 189 (2011). (Paragraphs 28 and 29)
Health: The Committee notes the important measures taken by the State party to extend basic health services to rural communities, reduce maternal mortality and increase women's and girls' access to family planning and reproductive health services. It also takes note of the State party's intention to review its legislation on abortion. However, the Committee is concerned about:
(a) The high maternal mortality rate, including intra-hospital maternal deaths, due to obstetric complications, FGM, early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and other factors;
(c) The low contraceptive use rate (22.5 percent), exposing women and girls to risk of HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, and early pregnancy;.
In line with its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on article 12 of the Convention (women and health), the Committee calls on the State party to:
b) Collect disaggregated data on the prevalence of and address early pregnancy and unsafe abortion, through awareness-raising, decriminalization of abortion in cases of rape and where the life or health of the pregnant woman or girl is in danger, and provision of safe abortion and post-abortion services;
(c) Raise awareness about available contraceptive methods, in particular by integrating sex education into school curricula, especially at the secondary level, and encourage the use of male condoms as a safe and less costly option; (Paragraphs 30 and 31)
Last reported: 2/ 3 November 2011
Concluding Observations issued: 22 December 2011
Juvenile justice system: [.......] In addition, the Committee regrets the absence of a comprehensive juvenile justice system oriented to the education and social integration of children in conflict with the law (art. 2).
[..........] The State party should also take measures to establish a juvenile justice system in compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985, and the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 45/112 of 14 December 1990. (Paragraph 11)
Juvenile justice: [.......] Moreover, the State party does not distinguish between minors and adults in detention (arts. 11 and 16).
The State party should take urgent measures to bring the conditions of detention in police stations, prisons and other places of detention into line with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, as well as with other relevant standards, in particular by:
(d) Ensuring that minors, whether in pretrial detention or convicted, are effectively separated from adults, in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985, and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990. (Paragraph 17)
Harmful traditional practices: The Committee welcomes the criminalization since 1995 of the practice of female genital mutilation through the inclusion of article 333 in the State party's Criminal Code. The State party has recognized that the provisions of this article have not been applied owing to the lack of complaints filed against this practice. The Committee remains concerned about the fact that female genital mutilation is still very widespread, and in particular that there are many cases of infibulation — an extreme form of female genital mutilation — especially in rural areas. The Committee also remains very concerned about the fact that cases of mutilation are generally not reported and are therefore neither prosecuted nor punished (arts. 2, 10 and 16).
The State party should strengthen its efforts to prevent, combat and punish violence against women and children and harmful traditional practices, in particular in rural areas. The Committee endorses the recommendations addressed to the State party during the universal periodic review of Djibouti (A/HRC/11/16, para. 67, subparas. 18 and 25; para. 68, subparas. 3 and 8), as well as the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/DJI/CO/1-3, paras. 18 and 19) and of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/DJI/CO/2, para. 56). Furthermore, the State party should provide victims with rehabilitative as well as legal, medical and psychological services, along with compensation. It should also create adequate conditions allowing victims to report incidents of harmful traditional practices and domestic and sexual violence without fear of reprisal or stigmatization. The State party should provide training to judges, prosecutors, police officers and community leaders on the strict application of the Criminal Code and the criminal nature of harmful traditional practices and other forms of violence against women.
The Committee also asks that the State party include in its next report detailed information and updated statistics on complaints, investigations, prosecutions, convictions and penalties handed down to individuals found guilty of criminal behaviour involving harmful traditional practices, including murder, and on the aid and compensation provided to the victims. (Paragraph 21)
Corporal punishment: The Committee notes with concern that the use of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in the home is not prohibited, according to the interpretation of the provisions of the Criminal Code (1995), the Family Code (2002) and the Constitution (art. 16).
The State party should consider amending its Criminal Code and revised Family Code to prohibit the use of corporal punishment in all settings, including the home, and to raise public awareness of positive, participatory and non-violent forms of discipline. (Paragraph 23)
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