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Djibouti: Domestic violence, legislation regarding domestic violence and protection available to victims

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 15 April 2010
Citation / Document Symbol DJI103437.FE
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Djibouti: Domestic violence, legislation regarding domestic violence and protection available to victims, 15 April 2010, DJI103437.FE, available at: [accessed 14 December 2017]
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.

Although it did not provide any statistics, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009, published by the United States (US) Department of State, indicates that, although few cases are reported, domestic violence against women exists in Djibouti (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). According to an article published on 5 March 2010 by the International Federation for Human Rights (Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme, FIDH), domestic violence is rarely reported although it is widespread in Djibouti. Statistics on domestic violence cases in Djibouti could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.


The government of Djibouti has reportedly implemented legal provisions to protect women's rights (Djibouti Apr. 2009, 7). Articles 324 and 325 of the Djiboutian penal code punishes [translation] "anyone who submits a person to torture or acts of barbarity" with a term of imprisonment of 20 years if the victim is the wife or common-law spouse of the perpetrator (Djibouti 1995; UN n.d.; see also US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). However, according to FIDH, no law specifically addresses domestic violence (5 Mar. 2010). Moreover, spousal rape is not punished (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6; FIDH 5 Mar. 2010). According to Country Reports for 2009, cases of domestic violence are generally addressed within the family or clan, rather than before the courts (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). Therefore, the police rarely intervene in cases of domestic violence, and only extreme cases, such as murder, are reported by the media (ibid.).

At the regional and international levels, Djibouti is signatory to a number of agreements on the status of women, namely the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; and the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Djibouti 14 Nov. 2008, 7-8).

Protection available to victims

In his speech at the celebrations for International Women's Day on 8 March 2009, the President of the Republic of Djibouti announced that the members of his government were [translation] "firmly resolved to . . . eradicate" violence against women (La Nation 9 Mar. 2009). In a report on the situation of human rights in Djibouti presented to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council during the Universal Periodic Review of Djibouti, the Djiboutian authorities indicated that one of their priorities is to increase efforts to eliminate violence against women (Djibouti 14 Nov. 2008, 23).

Country Reports for 2009 indicates that, under the supervision of the wife of the President of the Republic of Djibouti, the National Union of Djiboutian Women (Union nationale des women djiboutiennes, UNFD), a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting and defending women's rights in Djibouti (Djibouti n.d.), runs a counselling centre that provides assistance to women with a variety of problems, including family violence (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). The Centre, commonly known as [FIDH official English version] "a centre to provide information and support to women victims of violence," was reportedly established in 2007 (Djibouti Apr. 2009, 24; ibid. 14 Nov. 2008, 17; FIDH 5 Mar. 2010). According to Country Reports for 2009, the Centre provided assistance to 640 women in 2008 (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). Information on other help centres or shelters for women victims of violence 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 sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Djibouti. April 2009. Ministère de la Promotion de la femme, du Bien-être familial et des Affaires sociales. Rapport national d'évaluation quinquénal de mise en application du programme d'action de Beijing +15. [Accessed 15 Mar. 2010]

_____. 14 November 2008. Rapport national présenté conformément au paragraphe 15 A) de l'annexe à la résolution 5/1 du Conseil des droits de l'homme. (A/HRC/WG.6/4/DJI/1) [Accessed 15 Mar. 2010]

_____. 1995. Code pénal. [Accessed 1 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d. "Allocution du secrétaire d'État à la Solidarité nationale à l'occasion du Séminaire de réflexion sur l'action gouvernementale." [Accessed 6 Apr. 2010]

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH). 5 March 2010. "Cahier d'exigences : Djibouti." (Africa for Women's Rights) [Accessed 10 Mar. 2010]

La Nation [Djibouti]. 9 March 2009. "Journée internationale de la femme : allocution du chef de l'État." [Accessed 31 Mar. 2010]

_____. N.d. The UN Secretary General's Database on Violence Against Women. "Penal Code as Amended 1995." [Accessed 4 Mar. 2010]

United States (US). 11 March 2010. Department of State. "Djibouti." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009. [Accessed 15 Mar. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the Union nationale des women djiboutiennes (UNFD) and the Ligue djiboutienne des droits humains (LDDH) were unsuccessful.

Internet sites, including:, Afrol News,, Amnesty International (AI), Crime and Society, A comparative criminology Tour of the World, Femmes solidaires, Freedom House, Genre en action, Human Rights Watch, InfoSud Belgique (InfoSud), Internationale de l'éducation (IE), Le Monde diplomatique [Paris], No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), Organisation de la presse africaine (APO), Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF), Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT), PANApress (PANA), Radio France internationale (RFI), United Nations (UN) Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Waris Dirie Foundation, Women Living under Muslim Law.

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 Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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