wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
05DJIBOUTI278 2005-03-17 13:35:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  


pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

171335Z Mar 05
					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000278 



E.O. 12958: N/A

Ref: State 36341

1. (U) Summary: Underage marriage exists in Djibouti on a
small scale. Child marriage is more prevalent among Arabs,
Afars and people living in rural areas. However, underage
marriage is decreasing as a result of government policies
and assistance from the international community. End of

2. (U) Response to Part A: Officials from the Ministry of
Justice indicated that the legal age for marriage in
Djibouti is eighteen, which corresponds to the legal age
for majority. The legal age of marriage is the same for
boys and girls. There is no lower legal age of marriage
with parental consent.

3. (U) Response to Part B: No studies or statistics are
available in Djibouti to assess the extent of underage
marriage. However, the Government, civil society and NGOs
confirmed that underage marriage exists in Djibouti but
does not constitute a significant problem. Studies
completed in 2004 by the Ministry of Health and the Office
of Statistics, in collaboration with the Arab Program on
Family Health, show that the average age of marriage in
Djibouti is high; 30.7 years of age for males and 28 years
of age for females. Officials from the Ministry of the
Promotion of Women indicated that underage marriage is more
prevalent in certain groups. For instance, some Arab girls
in Djibouti get married as young as age 13 in arranged
marriages with older men. The true age of the girl is not
always revealed to government officials conducting the
marriage ceremony. Men from Afar tribes of the Southern
region of Djibouti are known for marrying underage girls.
Underage marriage is in general more common in rural areas
than in cities. Other instances of underage marriage take
place in cases of pregnancy of a minor after a rape or
sexual intercourse with mutual consent. The male, also a
minor in most cases, is forced by tribal leaders to marry
the girl to save her honor. Underage marriage affects the
child who is not prepared or mature enough to face life's
difficulties. It also results in violence when a young girl
gets married to an older man who does not hesitate to beat
the child.

4. (U) Response to Part C: The Ministry of Education,
assisted by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) and other international organizations,
is currently implementing a project aimed at increasing the
enrollment of girls in school and keeping those already
enrolled in school. Underage girls enrolled in school are
unlikely to be forced into marriage by their parents. Also,
the Embassy's Democracy and Human Rights Fund (DHRF)
occasionally funds projects on children's rights or women's
rights. The Embassy is currently funding a project on
preventing violence against women throughout the country.
Finally, the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and
women's associations all over the country have become more
confident in voicing their concerns about women's and
girls' rights, including the right of a woman to decide
when and who to marry.

5. (SBU) Comment: The current government of Djibouti is
committed to improving its women's rights record. Women, by
law, are allocated 10 percent of the seats in the National
Assembly. Women currently constitute 45 percent of
registered voters in Djibouti. End Comment.