Djibouti

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Persistent violations
  • Female genital mutilation[1]
  • Trafficking of children [2]
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation of children [3]
  • Inequality in access to education [4]
  • Economic exploitation, including child labour [5]
  • Inadequate reproductive health care and education [6]
  • Lack of a comprehensive juvenile justice system[7]
  • Use of, and conditions in, detention for children, including detention of children with adults [8]
  • Violence against children [9]
  • Corporal punishment [10]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

Though mostly barren Djibouti benefits from it’s location at the entrance to the Red Sea and between Ethiopia and the Sea. The State emerged from a civil war in the 1990s and multi-party elections were instituted, though President Guelleh has retained power since 1999. Djibouti has been widely criticised for its hostility to the media, which is largely controlled by the government, and the most extreme forms of female genital mutilation, as well as other such harmful practices, are widespread and seen as socially acceptable.


Geography

Djibouti is located on the north east coast of the Horn of Africa, on the strategically important Strait of Mandeb, which links the Red Sea with the gulf of Aden. The country shares borders with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. The capital city is Djibouti.


Population and Language

The country has a population of around 905,000[1], largely made of of ethnic Somali and Afar peoples, though there are substantial French, Arab, Ethiopian and Italian communities.[2]

French and Arabic are both official languages and Somali and Afar are widely spoken.


History and Politics

French Somaliland, as Djibouti was then known, was first established in 1888 and remained under French control until it declared its independence in 1977. Upon independence, Hassan Gouled Aptidon became the first President, and quickly established a single-party-state as leader of the Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progres (RPP). In the early 1990s, an ethnically Afar rebel group launched a resistance movement as part of the Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite et de la Democratie (FRUD). The ensuing conflict lasted until the signature of the peace and national reconciliation accords in 1996.

Political parties were legalised in 1992, and have since diversified, though the RPP remains dominant. In 1999, President Aptidon stepped down to be replaced by his nephew, Ismail Omar Guellah, as the leader of the RPP. Guelleh has won every presidential election held since 1999, and his party has secured a substantial majority in every parliamentary election, though the main opposition coalition boycotted both the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections.[3] In 2010, a constitutional amendment abolished the term limit on the Presidency and reduced the term length to 5 years.[4]


Economy

Djibouti's location on the coast allows its ports to handle 90 per cent of Ethiopia's trade as well as allowing the State to profit from hosting US and French military forces. The services industry accounts for 79 per cent of GDP. The country has very limited natural resources other than fishing grounds and the potential to generate geothermal energy. There is limited potential for agriculture, an industry which accounts for only 3 per cent of GDP, and the population must import as much as 97 per cent of its food. This reliance on imports leaves the country highly prone to food shortages and the economy prone to the cost incurred during a shortage.[5]


Media and Civil Society

Reporters Without Borders rated Djibouti 159 out of 179 in its 2011/12,[6] a ranking that highlights the State's hostile stance with regards to the media. Article 15 of the Constitution proclaims a right to freedom of expression, but the practice is in stark contrast to the principle. The Freedom of Communication Law provides for prison terms for media offences and the age and nationality requirements for the founding of media companies make the establishment of private news outlets difficult.[7] RWB has called the country a “media black hole” in which the government maintains a monopoly on domestic news and controls all of the four national media outlets.[8]

The pro-democracy protests that spread throughout the middle east and north Africa reached Djibouti in February 2011 and the resultant government crackdown led to several deaths an numerous injuries.[9]


Human Rights and Children's Rights

Beyond the abuses of freedom of expression directed at the media and civil society, a number of serious concerns have been raised with regards to the State's human rights record. Despite legislation aimed at combating female genital mutilation, UN human rights mechanisms have noted that the practice remains widespread and socially acceptable, including the most extreme forms of the practice. There has also been widespread criticism of the prevalence of sexual exploitation in the country, including the involvement of girls in prostitution and the trafficking of children for forced labour and sexual exploitation.[10]


Footnotes:

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Djibouti Country Profile"
  3. BBC, "Djibouti: President Ismael Omar Guelleh wins third term" 9 April 2011
  4. BBC, "MPs in Djibotui scrap term limits" 19 April 2010
  5. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Djibouti Country Profile"
  6. Reporters Without Borders, "Press Freedom Index 2011/12"
  7. Freedom House, "Freedom of the Press 2012: Djibouti"
  8. Reporters Without Borders, "World Report 2012"
  9. Freedom House, "Freedom of the Press 2012: Djibouti"
  10. CRIN, "Djibouti: Persistent violations of children's rights" 1 November 2012

Sources:


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