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Djibouti: Prevalence of forced marriage; consequences of refusal and government protection available to those who refuse (2005-2007)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 15 March 2007
Citation / Document Symbol DJI102428.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Djibouti: Prevalence of forced marriage; consequences of refusal and government protection available to those who refuse (2005-2007), 15 March 2007, DJI102428.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469cd6a514.html [accessed 21 November 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 forced marriage in Djibouti, consequences of refusal and government protection available to those who refuse was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005 indicates that certain tribal groups and people living in rural areas of Djibouti practice child marriage; however, the report states that in 2005, the practice "was not considered a significant problem" (US 8 Mar. 2007, Sec. 5). Country Reports 2005 further notes that, throughout the year, Djibouti's Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Family and Social Affairs worked cooperatively with women's organizations in the country "to protect the rights of girls, including the right to decide when and whom to marry" (ibid.). Information on specific cooperative efforts or on the outcomes of these efforts could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Djibouti's Family Code, enacted in 2002, governs family matters including marriage and divorce (ibid.; Sec. 1.e.; Djibouti 2002a). Article 7 of the Family Code indicates that the consent of both parties, as well as the consent of the male legal guardian of the woman, is required in a valid legal marriage (ibid. 2002b).

In February 2005, Djibouti ratified a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (UN 21 Feb. 2005; see also CISA 29 Mar. 2005). Adopted for ratification in Maputo [Mozambique] in July 2003 and commonly referred to as the Maputo Protocol, the protocol protects a range of women's rights, including economic, social, health and reproductive rights (UN 21 Feb. 2005; ACPHR 11 July 2003; see also CISA 29 Mar. 2005). Article 6 of the Maputo Protocol requires that state parties implement appropriate national legislation to ensure that "no marriage shall take place without the free and full consent of both parties" (ACPHR 11 July 2003). Article 6 also requires state parties to ensure that "the minimum age of marriage for women shall be 18 years" (ibid.; see also CISA 29 Mar. 2005). The Protocol came into force in November 2005 following its required ratification by 15 African governments (CISA 25 Nov. 2005).

Despite this legislation, a January 2007 article on the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Web site suggests that arranged or forced marriages may still occur in Djibouti. Cited in the article, a girl living in a rural Djiboutian village indicates that "all marriages are arranged" in her community and that "girls must obey their parents' decisions" (UN 2 Jan. 2007). Further information on whether the Maputo Protocol has been effectively implemented in Djibouti could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

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

African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACPHR). 11 July 2003. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. [Accessed 2 Feb. 2007]

Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) [Nairobi]. 25 November 2005. "Protocol On Rights of Women Comes Into Force." (Factiva/AllAfrica)
_____ . 29 March 2005. "Governments Urged to Ratify Women's Rights Protocol." (Factiva/AllAfrica)

Djibouti. 2002a "Code de la Famille." [Accessed 2 Feb. 2007]
_____ . 2002b. Ministère Chargé de la Promotion de la Femme. "Code de la Famille: Articles." Ensemble des articles du chapitre "Formation du mariage" du thème "Mariage". [Accessed 1 Feb. 2007]

United Nations (UN). 2 January 2007. UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). "At a Glance: Djibouti – In Djibouti, Fatouma Struggles to Become Her Village's First Female High School Graduate." [Accessed 1 Feb. 2007]
_____ . 21 February 2005. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). "Djibouti: Anti-FGM Protocol Ratified But Huge Challenges Remain." [Accessed 2 Feb. 2007]

United States (US). 8 March 2006. Department of State. "Djibouti." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 1 Feb. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: AllAfrica, Amnesty International (AI), Center for Reproductive Rights, European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), Factiva, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Jeune Afrique, Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH), Missionary International Service News Agency (MISNA), United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, United Kingdom Home Office, United States Department of State, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML).

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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