UN Committee urges Djibouti to curb violence against women

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The United Nations Human Rights Committee has urged the government of Djibouti to effectively enforce laws aimed at protecting women from violence.

The committee noted that many women in Djibouti were victims of domestic violence including marital rape which is not considered a crime in the country.

In observations made after concluding its 109th session in Geneva on Thursday, the committee also called for more concerted effort from the government to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM).

Members of the committee also urged Djibouti to lift the ban on foreign media operating in the country as a measure to promote freedom of expression.

While presenting its report on the implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the government of Djibouti said the country’s population was too small to warrant the presence of foreign media.

Ms Margo Waterval from Suriname, is a member of the Human Rights Committee.

"There are a lot of improvements going on in Djibouti. They have enacted legislation, they have revised their legislation, but still there are some concerns. One of the concerns is domestic violence including marital rape. That particular law has to be revised because marital rape is not a crime in Djibouti. They have legislation trying to protect women from violence, but the application of the law is not effective. When we talk about violence against women, then we also think of FGM. They have to try and raise awareness to stop the practice because with legislation alone, they can't stop it. They also have to build more shelters for women who are victims of domestic violence."

The committee also expressed concern over the torture of detainees by security enforcement agencies and called on the government to ensure the human rights of those in custody were diligently upheld.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

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