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Djibouti: Legal impediments to registering the birth of a male child born in 1982 to Djiboutian citizens, in Djibouti, when he is not recognized by his "biological" father; whether there is a legal process to have the child officially registered and whether the child can be granted Djiboutian citizenship

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 5 December 2003
Citation / Document Symbol DJI42142.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Djibouti: Legal impediments to registering the birth of a male child born in 1982 to Djiboutian citizens, in Djibouti, when he is not recognized by his "biological" father; whether there is a legal process to have the child officially registered and whether the child can be granted Djiboutian citizenship, 5 December 2003, DJI42142.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd1f0c.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti in Washington, DC, was unable to provide information on the above-mentioned questions within the time constraints prescribed for this Information Request.

The information that follows below was provided by the author of Le mal djiboutien : Rivalités ethniques et enjeux politiques, and a resident in France, during a telephone interview with the Research Directorate (26 Nov. 2003). The author explained that, legally, a child born in Djibouti of Djiboutian parents is a citizen of Djibouti. However, he said that at the societal and religious levels, the situation of an illegitimate child in Djibouti is extremely difficult. According to the author, Djiboutian society and religion repudiate illegitimate children.

He explained that society attaches a lot of importance to the family, the clan and the tribe, and also that the notion of family honour plays a very important role in society. Thus, a woman who has an illegitimate child will not even dare to have her child registered regardless of the sex of the child. He did note that depending on the mother's class and ethnicity, particularly if she is from among the Afar, structures and processes may exist to recognize such children at the family, clan and tribal levels; but he emphasized that this is not the case at the societal and religious levels.

He explained that religion plays a very important part in the lives of people in Djibouti, and that, according to the Muslim religion, illegitimate children carry the burden of their mothers' sins. An illegitimate child in Djibouti, he said, has no future in Djibouti because his destiny is predetermined.

The author said that given the presence of a number of foreigners in Djibouti, including Somalis and Ethiopians, all children born in Djibouti are required to have birth certificates that indicate the names of their father and mother. Although a process exists to register children who are born outside hospitals, this requires the presence and signatures of both parents as well as money.

Students, he said, are required to present their birth certificates, including the identity cards of their mothers and their fathers, before being permitted to sit for their final primary and high school level examinations. They must present the same documents before being admitted into university and again before sitting for final university level examinations. Additionally, a child's birth certificate, including the identity cards of both his or her parents, is required before he or she can be issued with his or her own identity card or passport. The author reiterated that Djiboutian society is very hard on illegitimate children and that their rights and freedoms in Djibouti are circumscribed.

For additional information regarding the issuance of identity cards and citizenship in Djibouti, please consult the attached document.

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 to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Reference

Author of Le mal djiboutien : Rivalités ethniques et enjeux politiques, (Rhins, France).

26 November 2003. Telephone interview.

Attachment

Djibouiti. 27 December 1981. " Journal officiel de la République de Djibouti. Special No. 7. Loi No 200/AN/81 du 24 octobre 1981 portant code de la nationalité djiboutienne."

Additional Sources Consulted

Counstitutions of the Countries of the World.

Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti (Washington, DC). 14 and 5 December 2003.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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