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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI451 2004-03-28 12:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

JUSTICE MINISTER SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION IS

Tags:   PREL PGOV EAID PHUM SCUL PINR DJ 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000451 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/E AND INR/B

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID PHUM SCUL PINR DJ
SUBJECT: JUSTICE MINISTER SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION IS
KEY FOR DJIBOUTI

Classified By: AMBASSADOR MARGUERITA D. RAGSDALE.
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) Minister of Justice, Ismail Ibrahim Houmed, told
Ambassador that he intends to take a more active role in
human rights promotion in Djibouti than the Ministry had
previously. The occasion for Houmed's declaration was the
Ambassador's courtesy call on him March 4 at Ministry of
Justice offices.



2. (C) According to Houmed, human rights remains an issue not
only between the government of Djibouti and the country's
citizens, but among individuals concerned with civil and
political rights. The Minister presides over the Ad-Hoc
Committee on Human Rights, which he created in 2002. This
Committee, comprised of ten members, includes lawyers,
teachers, a human rights organization members, a journalist
and a physician and is well-known for its criticisms of the
current Government, Houmed said. The Committee is a neutral
body that has participated in various seminars and workshops,
and has invited African human rights groups to visit
Djibouti. Now, Houmed continued, the Committee plans to
undertake a major project to report on the current state of
human rights in Djibouti.



3. (C) The initial phase of this project is funded by the
U.S. government, through the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, and
consists of organizing a conference to debate human rights
issues. A participatory approach is planned whereby the
government, civil society, non-governmental organizations and
the opposition will be invited to take part. Recommendations
made during the conference will be compiled and made
available to the public. International organizations such as
the African Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations
High Commission on Human Rights. The Ad-Hoc Committee also
expects to complete a first-ever human rights report on
Djibouti produced by the Government of Djibouti. This report
will be accessible to the public and will also be shared with
the African Union and the United Nations, according to
Houmed. The Minister stated that he hopes to establish a
fully independent human rights organization in Djibouti in
the long-term. A final priority of his is the implementation
of numerous human rights conventions that Djibouti signed and
ratified, however, implementation will be subject to
sufficient human and material resources, Houmed said.



4. (C) BIO-DATA on Houmed: Ismail Ibrahim Houmed is an Afar
in his mid-fifties. He began his professional career in the
field of nursing in Djibouti and immigrated to France in
1967, where he continued to practice nursing. Ismail is
reported to have done some university studies in philosophy
while in France. Prior to Djibouti's independence, he was a
member of the "Mouvement Populaire pour la Liberation (MPL),"
an Afar political party opposed to the "League Populaire
Africaine pour l'Independance (LPAI), a pro-independence
political party. Later, Ismail was a founding member of the
"Front pour la Restauration de l'Unite Democratie" (FRUD),
which entered into armed conflict with the Government of
Djibouti in the mid-90s. He left Djibouti afterwards, but
returned in 2000 and was soon nominated as Minister of
Justice. (Note: The Government of Djibouti wanted to show
that it harbored no grudges against the opposition party, and
put in place two FRUD members as Ministers in its
organization: Houmed, and Minister of Defense, Ougoreh Kifleh
Ahmed.)



5. (C) BIO-DATA continued: Ismail wrote a controversial book
about his political journey, harshly criticizing the current
regime. His colleagues at the Ministry of Justice have
indicated privately that Houmed is difficult to work with
because of a tendency to be suspicious by nature, and because
he lacks experience in administration. He is still a member
of FRUD, but reportedly does not have a strong connection
with the party at this time.
RAGSDALE