Constitutional Provisions

The 1992 Constitution of Djibouti (as amended) guarantees the rights to life and to freedom from inhumane treatment. According to Article 10:

The human person is sacred. The State has the obligation to respect it and to protect it. ... Every individual has the right to life, to the liberty, to the security and to the integrity of his person.

Article 16 prohibits torture and provides for responsibility of law enforcement officials who engage in inhumane treatment:

No one may be submitted to torture, or to inhuman, cruel, degrading or humiliating actions or treatment.

Any individual, any agent of the State, or any public authority rendered culpable of such acts, either on their own initiative, or on instruction, shall be punished in accordance with the law.

Article 56 provides that domestic legislation establishes the rules concerning the organization of public powers.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)    State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court Signatory
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions N/A
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Law enforcement in Djibouti is provided by the National Police Force and the Gendarmerie

According to Article 15 of the 1995 Decree on the National Police Force, police officers may only use force when necessary and within the framework of laws and regulations and refrain from any act of gratuitous violence. 

Article 179 of the Penal Code gives the police the right to disperse an unlawful gathering after two warnings. The level of force that may be used in so doing is not specified by the Code.

According to Article 19 of the 1995 Decree, all police officers are, in principle, equipped with a firearm. Its carriage is limited to occasions when the officer is on duty and its use is only possible "within the strict framework of the law".

The law does not, however, apply the principle of proportionality as international law demands. In particular, police use of firearms must be restricted to situations where it is necessary to confront an imminent threat of death or serious injury or a grave and proximate threat to life.

Police Oversight

There is no independent civilian police oversight body in Djibouti. Human rights units have been established within the National Police Force and the Gendarmerie. It is also possible to make complaints to the National Human Rights Commission.



Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2013 Concluding Observations on Djibouti, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern 

about continued reports of ill-treatment of detainees by law enforcement personnel. The Committee deeply regrets the lack of concrete measures taken by the State party to thoroughly investigate and prosecute alleged cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials; it further regrets the lack of any subsequent rehabilitation and compensation offered to victims

In December 2015, several special-procedure mandate holders expressed grave concern regarding reports of excessive and indiscriminate use of force by members of the security forces of Djibouti, including the use of live ammunition (as a result of which at least 27 persons had died and 150 had been injured), during clashes between protesters and the authorities following an attempt by the police to break up a religious celebration on the outskirts of Djibouti City. In its reply, Djibouti stated that the police officers had been accosted and that violent riots had then broken out.


Djibouti has not ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, allowing the African Court to hear cases alleging a violation of the Charter by the state.


1992 Constitution of Djibouti (as amended) (English translation)

Code Pénal de Djibouti

Decret du 23-avril 2008-sur la Commission-Nationale des Droits Humains

Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations on Djibouti (2013)