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Djibouti: Situation of homosexuals in Djibouti; treatment by the public and by the authorities; state protection available (2002-2004)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 16 December 2004
Citation / Document Symbol DJI43218.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Djibouti: Situation of homosexuals in Djibouti; treatment by the public and by the authorities; state protection available (2002-2004), 16 December 2004, DJI43218.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60db12.html [accessed 22 August 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.

Information on the treatment of homosexuals by the public and by the Djiboutian authorities was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints for this Response.

Legislation

According to some sources, homosexuality is illegal in Djibouti (ILGA 3 Feb. 2004; ibid. 31 July 2000a; Behind the Mask n.d.).

Country Reports 2003 stated that, in Djibouti, the Sharia is used in "civil and family matters" (25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 1e; see also Freedom House 14 Sept. 2004). In addition, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) indicated that the Sharia prohibits homosexuality (31 July 2000b).

Treatment by authorities

Officially, the Djiboutian constitution indicates that discrimination based on language, origin, race, gender and religion is prohibited (Djibouti 4 Sept. 1992; Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 4). However, in practice, the government infringes on citizens' rights (ibid., Intro.). The government continues to violate rights by restricting freedom of the press and freedom of association (ibid.; Freedom House 14 Sept. 2004).

Treatment by society

"The attitude toward homosexuality is very hostile. There is no visible social support for gay and lesbian rights" (Third Pink Book 1993, 275; see also afrik.com 8 Aug. 2003).

An 8 August 2003 article on the afrik.com Website explains the particular situation of lesbians in Djibouti. The article indicates that [translation] "lesbians live in the shadows" because [translation] "lesbians do not officially exist" (ibid.). There are also no associations for lesbians (afrik.com 8 Aug. 2003). Women [translation] "do whatever they can to hide their homosexuality" (ibid.).

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

Afrik.com. 8 August 2003. Habibou Bangré. "Aux armes Djiboutiennes!" [Accessed 2 Dec. 2004]

Behind the Mask. n.d. "Djibouti." [Accessed 2 Dec. 2004]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 2 Dec. 2004]

Djibouti. 4 September 1992. Constitution de la République de Djibouti. [Accessed 13 Dec. 2004]

Freedom House. 14 September 2004. "Djibouti." Freedom in the World 2004. [Accessed 10 Dec. 2004]

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). 3 February 2004. "Supporting the Brazilian Resolution." [Accessed 2 Dec. 2004]
_____. 31 July 2000a. "World Legal Survey.". [Accessed 7 Dec. 2004]
_____. 31 July 2000b. "World Legal Survey: Overview of Islamic Law and Homosexuality." [Accessed 13 Dec. 2004]

The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. 1993. Edited by Aart Hendriks, Rob Tielman and Evert van der Veen. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Afrol News, albab.com, AllAfrica, Amnesty International, Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society, Human Rights Watch, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Ligue djiboutienne des droits humains, Le Monde, ukblackout.com, United States Department of State.

Oral sources: Amnesty International France, International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Ligue djiboutienne des droits humains.

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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