Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Thursday, 25 April 2013 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record. The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed. An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Represented by 10-member delegation headed by Mr. Ali Farah Assoweh, Minister of Justice.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Djibouti page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Burkina Faso, Qatar, Venezuela.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Djibouti page on the UPR Extranet)

  • While noting that Djibouti was one of the original members of the Human Rights Council, the head of delegation noted that his Government accepted almost all of the recommendations posed to it during its first UPR in 2009, a demonstration of his country's commitment to advancing human rights;
  • The implementation of these UPR recommendations have involved the active participation of civil society every step of the way;
  • In 2010, Djibouti became a State party to the CRPD and its Optional Protocol, and also ratified the two Optional Protocols to the CRC and the CERD;
  • Djibouti has produced, since 2009, a large number of treaty body reports and has thus submitted all overdue reports; these include reports on the CAT, the CEDAW, the ICCPR, and the ICESCR;
  • By amending the Constitution in 2010, the Government formally abolished the death penalty, however, capital punishment in the country has effectively been prohibited per the provisions of the Criminal Code of 1995; moreover, Djibouti also ratified the 2nd OP to the ICCPR in 2002;
  • The practice of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment was also prohibited by the Constitution for which the Government has developed a wide range of measures;
  • The police and gendarmerie each had a human rights unit and the Penal Code called for severe punishment for law enforcement found to have committed human rights abuses;
  • In order to improve access to justice, the Government has taken a number of measures, including: more recruitment of judges (since 2009 their number has doubled); the passing of a law in 2012 on the reform of legal assistance; the creation within the Ministry of Justice of a service to receive and guide litigants; and the creation of "mobile courts" in 2011;
  • The Minister of Communication also initiated a training programme on freedom of expression together with the Regional Office for East Africa of the OHCHR and the National Commission on Human Rights;
  • Major progress has also been recorded in the socio-cultural field, in particular, maternal, child and infant mortality rates have reduced, as have in-hospital mortality rates; in addition, strategies for implementing mobile health teams have been introduced in order to reach people in the most remote areas and nomads;
  • There has also been progress in the area of the right to education; every child regardless of age, sex, social origin, ethnicity or religion were afforded the right to attend school which was reinforced by the State’s Educational Policy 2010-2019;
  • Djibouti was still working on other areas essential to human rights, such as the fight against corruption; to this aim, the Government was also working on an in-depth reform of the public administration in order to advance economic and social development.


In total 87 States participated in the dialogue:  36 HRC members and 51 observers  (Statements available on Djibouti page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The ratification of numerous international instruments;
  • Steps taken to effectively address treaty body reporting obligations;
  • Advancements made in the area of education and health;
  • The National Strategic Action Plan for Children;
  • The holding of peaceful legislative elections in February 2013;
  • The abolition of the death penalty.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts taken to address violence against women;
  • Plans to address and combat female genital mutilation;
  • Measures in place to reverse discrimination against women;
  • Actions taken to guarantee freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Steps taken to address allegations of torture and ill-treatment;
  • The status of the National Human Rights Commission.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Djibouti.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To reinforce efforts to address violence against women; to adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat human trafficking;
  • To take additional measures to combat female genital mutilation; 
  • To increase public awareness-raising and training of officials on female genital mutilation and discrimination against women;
  • To take all necessary steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls; to enhance efforts to address negative stereotypes against women and to take additional steps to empower women;
  • To release detainees who arrests were linked to their support for the opposition;
  • To take appropriate action to guarantee freedom of expression, association and assembly, including by allowing the participation of opposition parties and civil society; to consider developing and adopting a freedom of information law;
  • To intensify work to combat illiteracy and to continue efforts to ensure equal access to education;
  • To adopt measures to expand anti-retroviral treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS;
  • To investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to consider establishing an independent complaint mechanism to address such acts;
  • Extending a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures; to allow visits of the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and on peaceful assembly;
  • To ensure the National Human Rights Commission was in conformity with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the OP to CEDAW, the Convention of migrant workers, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the OPCAT, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the conventions on stateless persons, and the Convention on enforced disappearances. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Djibouti is scheduled to take place on
Tuesday, 30 April 2013.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org