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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DJIBOUTI122 2005-02-07 11:52:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI'S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT--TOOL FOR

Tags:   PHUM PGOV PREL DJ 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000122 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/E, AF/RSA, AND DRL; DRL FOR MICHEAL ORONA
AND SANDRA MURPHY; STATE ALSO PASS MCC.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/2015
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL DJ
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI'S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT--TOOL FOR
IMPROVEMENT AND DEEPER DEMOCRACY ENGAGEMENT


Classified By: Pol/Econ Erinn C. Reed for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Pol/Econ met February 5 with the Director of Bilateral
Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali
Hassan, and the Americas Desk Officer, Mohamed Omar Djama, at
their request to discuss the 2004 Annual Country Report for
Djibouti on Human Rights. Hassan stated that Djibouti wanted
a closer cooperation with Embassy officials on Human Rights.
He also commented that this request was at the behest of
Djibouti's Ambassador to Washington, Robleh Olhaye. Hassan's
main mission in the meeting was to share with Pol/Econ the
accomplishments and efforts made by the Government to improve
its human rights record and its chances of meeting Millennium
Challenge criteria. Although Hassan did not present a laundry
list of accomplishments, those he mentioned have already been
included in Post's report for 2004. Hassan also inquired as
to whether an advance copy of the report would be available.



2. (C) Pol/Econ stated that she was unable to share the 2004
report, as it has not been released, but expected publication
worldwide in late February or early March based on the
previous year's timetable. Pol/Econ instead offered copies of
the 2003 report, in both French and English. She told Hassan
that Djibouti's report had stayed relatively the same from
2003 to 2004. She mentioned areas in which no progress had
been made, specifically labor and impunity of government
officials. She also noted the positive steps that were listed
in the report, such as the ratification of several
International Labor Organization conventions on child labor.
Pol/Econ also commented that many of Djibouti's advancements
in Human Rights were not accompanied by enforcement of new,
or existing laws. As an example, she used Djibouti's
ratification of the Maputo Protocol on Female Genital
Mutilation (FGM) on 29 January 2005 during a regional
conference on FGM hosted by Djibouti (report septel). She
noted that Djibouti has an existing law criminalizing FGM,
but countered that in conversations with Djiboutians, not
many know it is illegal. She also noted that it is not
enforced. Pol/Econ said that the FGM conference and
ratification of the Maputo Protocol were steps in the right
direction, but real change in the human rights situation
would mandate publicizing and enforcing the Protocol.



3. (C) Hassan commented that he did not believe that the
United States published these reports annually merely to
condemn each country without giving feedback on the positive
efforts. Hassan added that Djibouti would like to know how to
use the report to improve its record. It also wants to focus,
he said, on development of democracy and good governance. He
continued that Embassy projects with emphasis on human rights
have been good, but asked if it might not be better to focus
assistance more directly on government-to-government aid.
Hassan pointed out that many negative areas in the human
rights report are directly affected by insufficient
resources. He suggested a series of meetings to go over the
report and to develop strategies to improve the human rights
situation. Pol/Econ responded that she would be happy to
discuss aspects of the 2003 report at any time, as well as
the 2004 report once published.



4. (C) Ambassador's Comment: Post believes that the meeting
with Hassan offers a prime opportunity for the Embassy to
further assist Djibouti intensively in development of its
human rights, as well as good governance programs. We are
beginning with a Country-Team focal group meeting to identify
areas of special challenge and reviewing how we might tailor
programs to areas which have for many years been negative in
Djibouti's human rights record. Post also feels that with
specific challenge areas in mind, it can productively engage
Djibouti in an open bilateral discussion of the report that
may yield positive results in Djibouti's quest to meet MCA
standards. We note that while projects through Democracy and
Human Rights Funding (DHRF) have been beneficial and have had
a positive impact on Djiboutian society, they remain small
scale. With the window now wide open by President Bush and
Dr. Rice, and evidence of Djiboutian readiness to improve its
human rights record, the time seems ripe to consider a deeper
commitment at the resource level. We will follow up with
programming proposals across agency lines at Post. End
Comment.
RAGSDALE