A delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (The Commission) carried out a promotion mission to the Republic of Djibouti from 25 to 31 May 2015. The delegation was composed of:
- Honourable Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, Chairperson of the Commission and Chairperson of the Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa (head of delegation);
- Honourable Commissioner Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa and Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities ;
- Honourable Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa ;
The mission was conducted within the framework of the mandate conferred on the Commission under Article 45 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African Charter) with the objective of promoting the African Charter and other regional and international legal instruments; strengthening relations between the Commission and the Republic of Djibouti in the area of human rights promotion and protection.
During the mission, the delegation had meetings with members of the government, particularly with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Women Promotion, Energy and Natural Resources, Health, Education, the Interior and His Excellency the Prime Minister.
The delegation also held discussions with the Ombudsman, the President of the National Commission on Human Rights, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and some National Assembly Members, the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal, Inspector of the Judicial Services, the President of the Bar Association and the Inter-ministerial Committee in charge of Drafting State Reports.
The delegation had working sessions with representatives of the High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) and UNICEF as well as with ONARS (National Refugee and Disaster Victims Assistance Office) on the situation of refugees and children; and with the UNDP. The delegation also had a meeting with the National Union of Djiboutian Women.
The delegation visited the Ali Adde camp to enquire about the living conditions of refugees. It also visited the Gabode prison where it had discussions with the prison authorities and the detainees.
During the meetings, the Commission’s delegation received vital information on developments in the area of human rights and the general human rights situation in the Republic of Djibouti.
The delegation notes with satisfaction the significant achievements recorded in the area of human rights promotion, particularly concerning the ratification of most of the relevant regional and international instruments, the establishment of human rights protection institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman and the Anti-Corruption Commission.
It also takes note of efforts made towards the implementation of socio-economic rights, particularly concerning education and health.
The delegation also welcomes the measures taken as well as policies and programmes adopted towards promoting and consolidating women’s rights, notably on enrolment of girls in schools and eradication of some negative practices.
However, several challenges have to be addressed and they include:
- Meeting some needs such as in-service training for teachers, magistrates and officials of the State prosecutor’s office especially regarding judicial practices, procedures and human rights ;
- The dilapidated state of the Gabode prison, insufficient reintegration programmes for prisoners, in particular for minors ;
- The influx of refugees from Yemen which is becoming critical and the lack of resources to provide them with adequate assistance ;
- The issue of long-term refugees and the need to find long-lasting solutions to their plight;
- The low representation of women in the National Assembly and other institutions.
At the end of the promotion mission, the delegation extends its congratulations to the highest authorities of the Republic of Djibouti for the achievements made in promoting and protecting human rights and for the State’s commitment to the implementation of the rights guaranteed by the African Charter including other duly ratified human rights instruments.
The delegation particularly appreciates the efforts made by the Republic of Djibouti in welcoming refugees and migrants and appeals to the international and regional Community to provide support to the Djiboutian State.
A comprehensive report on the mission comprising recommendations will be forwarded to the State.
The delegation expresses its appreciation to the Authorities of the Republic of Djibouti for the measures taken for the smooth conduct of the mission, and in this regard, commends the spirit of cooperation and openness demonstrated by all the persons the delegation met during the mission.
Done in Djibouti, 31 May 2015