Djibouti: Promotion Mission, 2000


From 26 February to 5 March 2000, Commissioner Kamel Rezag Bara, assisted by Mr. Robert Kotchani, Legal Officer at the Secretariat of the Commission, carried out a mission to  the Republic of Djibouti. The terms of reference of the mission were as follows:

  • Discuss with the Djiboutian Government on the overall human rights situation in the Republic of Djibouti;
  • Draw the attention of the competent Djiboutian authorities to the need to respect their obligations deriving from the provisions of article 62 of the African Charter, which Djibouti ratified on 20/12/1991. In this regard, the mission was tasked with seeking to persuade the competent authorities as to the need to ensure the presentation, in the near future, of the Republic of Djibouti's initial report to the African Commission;
  • Request information on the situation of certain human rights activists and, in particular, to raise the issue of Barrister Aref Mohammed Aref who is under a travel ban that precludes him from leaving the country, in addition to being debarred for life from carrying out his profession as a lawyer in the Djibouti Bar;
  • Promote human rights in general by enlightening the mission's interlocutors on the work of the African Commission, through meetings with NGOs, trade unionists, intellectuals and human rights organisations, towards the establishment of a partnership based on consultation and exchange of information;
  • Undertake field visits, including to prisons, with a view to assessing detention and prison conditions in the Republic of Djibouti.


  • Civil and political rights should be accorded more respect, in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights which the government of Djibouti ratified on 06/01/1992.
  • The resources allocated to the judicial system and the prisons administration should be more substantial, and judges retrained. The process of preparing a more attractive service code for the Bench should be speeded. The African Commission stands ready to collaborate with the government in organising human rights training workshops for Djiboutian officials, and most especially judges, lawyers,security personnel and Ministry of Justice officials.
  • Hearing of the cases of people who have been detained for many years without trial should be accelerated, in accordance with the demands of the right to fair trial.
  • The government should give force to the provisions of article 62 of the African Charter by submitting and sending a delegation to present its initial report as well as the outstanding periodic reports. The African Commission stands ready to provides its technical assistance in this regard.
  • The government should accept to further open the space for pluralism and press freedom and allocate resources for the training and retraining of journalists, with a view to enhancing their professionalism. Assistance to the press should be provided, depending on the availability of resources.
  • Human rights activists should enjoy greater understanding from and cooperation with the government. In this regard, the African Commission reiterates its appeal for the lifting of all measures preventing human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and unionists from fully exercising their rights and freedoms within a peaceful and democratic framework.