Despite encouraging progress in the promotion and defense of women’s rights and the progressive adoption of a protective legal framework, including the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) CEDAW and the African Protocol on Women’s Rights (Maputo Protocol), gender inequalities continue to persist in Djibouti. Weak law enforcement and the perpetuation of cultural norms legitimizing discriminatory practices against women results in women having a limited platform to express their concerns and to defend their interests.
The Djiboutian constitution ensures in its Article 1 the equality of all before the law “without distinction of language, origin, race, sex or religion.” Among the most emblematic texts, the Family Code, adopted by the Djiboutian State in 2002, attempts to harmonize the perilous cultural values, customary law, Sharia, civil law and international law within a single law promoting compliance and enforcement of women’s rights.
However even though the Criminal Code punishes various forms of gender-based violence, such as rape, it does not criminalize marital rape so far and does not explicitly criminalize domestic violence. Beyond the maintenance of provisions going against gender equality, significant gaps in law enforcement to women’s full enjoyment of their rights still persist. The precedence of customary law application is among the main obstacles to the implementation of the current legislative framework.
Empowering women economically towards the realization of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSR).
SIHA, together with its member Association Roumane, has implemented various projects across the country. One project, “ “Giving voice to women for the promotion and defense of their rights”, supports the most vulnerable women to form cooperatives while incorporating rights training to improve awareness of their economic rights. Adopting an integrated and participatory approach, this project provided participants with voice, resonance, and legitimacy to women by fostering the emergence of consultation structures and mechanisms for consultation and active participation in the promotion and defense of their rights. Through this training, SIHA has engaged in specific cooperative trainings which provided a clear definition of cooperatives, their principles, types, structures, organizational structure and their creation to the participants and beneficiaries.
Strengthening women’s access to justice and transforming negative and harmful religion and cultural dogma.
In collaboration with Bender Djedid, one of SIHA’s partner organizations in Djibouti, we conducted a training called “Women’s Access to Justice”. It aimed at informing women and girls about their rights and access to them. Different perspectives on Human and Women’s Rights were discussed with the objective of developing a bilingual leaflet to inform women on rules of law and procedures for accessing justice mechanisms.
SIHA operates in both French and English and works with three major member organizations in Djibouti namely:
- Bender Djedid Socioeconomic Association
- MER ROUGE Association des Femme Pour le Développement Economique et Social
- Association Rouman