Table of Contents
- 1 Social Institutions
- 2 The Africa for Women’s Rights Campaign
- 3 The Women, Business and the Law
In Djibouti, although the Constitution establishes the principle of equality between men and women, discriminatory laws persist.
Discriminatory practices still exist in Djibouti, in particular within the Family Code adopted in 2002. For example: Conditions for marriage: According to article 7 “marriage is only valid with the consent of the two spouses and the woman’s guardian”. The fixing of the dowry (Mahr) is a further condition for the validity of a marriage. Forced and early marriages: Although article 13 fixes the minimum legal age of marriage at 18 years, article 14 provides that: “Marriage of minors who have not reached the legal age of majority is subject to the consent of their guardians”. Marital power: According to article 31: “The wife must respect the prerogatives of the husband, as head of the family, and owes him obedience in the interest of the family. The husband and wife must fulfill their marital duties, in conformity with practice and custom.”Polygamy is authorised under article 22. Although this clause makes it possible for a wife to challenge her husband’s new marriage, many marriages remain polygamous (estimated at 11.2% in 2004).
Remarriage: According to articles 42 and 43, a woman cannot remarry after a divorce or the death of her husband for a period of three months in the case of divorce (or following birth if she is pregnant) and four months and ten days in the case of death.
Customary law, based on Sharia law, continues to be applied in many cases. It is deeply discriminatory in particular in the areas of succession, divorce and freedom of movement. For example, under customary law, women do not have the right to travel outside the country without the authorization of an adult male relative.
Despite efforts made by the government since 2005, including the implementation of awareness-raising campaigns involving religious and community leaders, Female genital cutting persists in Djibouti. In 2008, it was estimated that 93% of women had undergone a form of FMG, operated traditionally on girls between 7 and 10 years old. The most severe form of FMG, infibulations, continues to be widely practised, especially in rural areas. Although the 1995 revision of the Criminal Code criminalised FGM and provided for a sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of one million Djibouti francs (art. 333), nobody has ever been prosecuted under this provision.
Although the Djibouti Criminal Code penalises rape, torture and ‘barbaric acts’ (art. 324 and subsequent articles), domestic violence and marital rape are not expressly criminalised. Domestic violence is widespread in Djibouti and rarely exposed. Such violence is often dealt within a family or traditional context.
• Under-representation in political life
Women in Djibouti remain under-represented in posts of responsibility and are gen- erally excluded from decision-making posts in the public sector; they make up only 9% of state officials at the highest levels. In the last legislative elections in February 2008, only 9 women were elected out of 65 members of parliament (13.8%). A law establishing a quota system was adopted in 2002, but it fixes the quota for the mini- mum number of women in elective and administrative functions at only 10%.
In spite of the provisions of the Family Code establishing equal rights to property for men and women (art. 101 and subsequent articles), in practice women often find themselves deprived of inheritance in favour of the men in their families.
- Focal Point: LDDH – UNICEF
- www.unicef.org – Inter-parliamentary Union
- www.ipu.org – OIF
- www.genre.francophonie.org – UNDP Djibouti
The Africa for Women’s Rights Campaign
- CEDAW: ratified in 1998
- CEDAW Protocol: not signed
- Maputo Protocol: ratified in 2005
On 8 March 2009 the “Africa for Women’s Rights” Campaign was launched at the initiative of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in collaboration with fove non-governmental regional organisations: the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies(ACDHRS), Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). These organisations make up the Steering Committee responsible for the coordination of the Campaign.
The Campaign aims to put an end to discrimination and violence against women in Africa, calling on states to ratify international and regional instruments protecting women’s rights, to repeal all discriminatory laws, to adopt laws protecting the rights of women and to take all necessary measures to wensure their effective implementation.
Country Focus: Djibouti
Although Djibouti has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), it has still not ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.
The Coalition of the Campaign is particularly concerned by the following continued violations of women’s rights in Djibouti: persistence of discriminatory laws; violence against women; and limited access to education, decision-making positions and health care.
Some positive developments… The Coalition of the Campaign acknowledges the recent adoption of several policies aimed at improving respect for women’s rights, including: – The creation of a Ministry for the promotion of women, family and social affairs in 2008. – The establishment of a centre, operational since 2007, to provide information and support to women victims of violence. – The establishment since 2004 of an Action Plan to promote girls’ access to educa- tion, as well as literacy programmes for adults particularly targeting women.
- Focal Points: WILDAF-Djibouti
- Ligue pour la défense des droits de l’Homme (LDH)
- Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, July 2005
- Inter-Parliamentary Union, www.ipu.org
- Amnesty International, www.amnestyinternational/Djibouti
- UNCIFEF, www.unicef.org
- The Africa for Women’s Rights campaign
- WILDAF-Djibouti the campaign focal point in Djibouti
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Covering 128 economies, Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, dealing with taxes, building credit, and going to court.Read more about the methodology.