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Population size: 

973, 560.[1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Little information was found on the scope of domestic violence in Djibouti among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this response. The United States (US) Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 reports that, in Djibouti, domestic violence against women is common, but few cases are reported (US 3 Mar. 2017).[2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No research.

Current law and policy

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). While the law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, it prohibits “torture and barbaric acts” against a spouse. the authorities have informed the CEDAW that they are aware of shortcomings in their attempts to tackle gender-based violence; whereas despite being illegal, various forms of female genital mutilation have been carried out on 98% of females in Djibouti.

The Penal Code prohibits “torture and barbaric acts” against a spouse or co-habituating partner and criminalises this act with imprisonment up to 20 years (Articles 324 and 325). When accompanied by sexual assaults other than rape, the torture or barbaric acts are punishable with imprisonment up to 20 years (Article 326). There is no law against spousal rape. 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. There is no legal process for a woman to obtain a protection order from a court to protect against potential future acts of domestic violence. The National Union of Djiboutian Women (UNFD) operates a walk-in counselling centre (Cellule d’Écoute) in Djibouti city that provides services and referrals for women and men. In 2017 the UNFD also placed a full-time staff member in all refugee camps to provide support for domestic violence victims. The Cellule d’Ecoute (Listening Committee) addresses domestic violence in a tripartite arrangement with the Ministry of Justice, law enforcement agencies, and the council on sharia. This committee refers cases to the Ministry of Justice when abuse is violent or to the council on sharia for divorce proceedings.

 Officials at the Ministry of Justice reported victims of rape and domestic violence often avoided the formal court system in favour of settlements between families. The government seldom enforced victim’s rights.

Frontline Services:



[1] The World Bank, (1).

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