Djibouti

Background

Despite encouraging progress in the promotion and defense of women’s rights and the progressive adoption of a protective legal framework, including the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) CEDAW and the African Protocol on Women’s Rights (Maputo Protocol), gender inequalities continue to persist in Djibouti. Weak law enforcement and the perpetuation of cultural norms legitimizing discriminatory practices against women, results in women having limited platform to express their concerns and to defend their interests.

Even though, the Djiboutian constitution ensures in its Article 1 the equality of all before the law “without distinction of language, origin, race, sex or religion.” Among the most emblematic texts, the Family Code, adopted by the Djiboutian State in 2002, attempts to harmonize the perilous cultural values, customary law, Sharia, civil law and international law within a single law promoting compliance and enforcement of women’s rights. However even though the Criminal Code punishes various forms of gender based violence, such as rape, it does not criminalize marital rape so far and do not explicitly criminalize domestic violence. Beyond the maintenance of provisions going against gender equality, significant gaps in law enforcement to women’s full enjoyment of their rights still persist. The precedence of customary law application is among the main obstacles to the implementation of the current legislative framework.

Legal Framework

Article 1 of the the Djiboutian Constitution ensures the equality of all before the law “without distinction of language, origin, race, sex or religion.” Among the most emblematic texts, the Family Code, adopted in 2002, attempts to harmonize the perilous cultural values, customary law, Sharia, civil law and international law within a single law promoting compliance and enforcement of women’s rights.

The Criminal Code punishes various forms of gender based violence. However, it does not criminalize marital rape and does not explicitly criminalize domestic violence. Beyond provisions that are contrary to gender equality, there is a significant gap in enforcement of national law which disables women to fully enjoy their rights. The precedence of customary law application is among the main obstacles to the implementation of the current legislative framework.

Our work in Djibouti

Empowering women economically towards realization of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSR)

SIHA together with its member Association Roumane are implementing the project “Giving voice to women for the promotion and defense of their rights”. The project targets the most vulnerable women to form cooperatives while incorporating rights trainings to improve awareness of their economic rights In addition, SIHA conducted a cooperative training which provided a clear definition of cooperatives, their principles, types, structures, organizational structure and their creation to the participants and beneficiaries. Adopting an integrated and participatory approach, this project provided participants with voice, resonance and legitimacy to women by fostering the emergence of consultation structures and mechanisms for consultation and active participation in the promotion and defense of their rights.

Strengthening women’s access to justice and transforming negative and harmful religion and cultural dogma

In collaboration with Bender Djedid, one of SIHA’s partner organizations in Djibouti,  we conducted a training called “Women’s Access to Justice”. It aimed at informing women and girls about their rights and access to  them. Different perspectives on Human and Women’s Rights were discussed with the objective of developing a bilingual leaflet to inform women on rules of law and procedures for accessing justice mechanisms.

Partner Organizations and Locations of Work

SIHA has three member organizations in Djibouti namely Bender Djedid Socioeconomic Association, MER ROUGE Association des Femme Pour le Développement Economique et Social and Association Roumane.

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