Towards the strengthening of the normative framework of the penitentiary administration of the Republic of Djibouti

May 9, 2022

Within the framework of the EU-funded justice support project, the Ministry of Justice and Penitentiary Affairs, with the support of the UNDP, organized a validation workshop for three texts aimed at strengthening the normative framework of the penitentiary administration of the Republic of Djibouti.

The overall objective of this new normative framework is to improve the conditions of detention of persons deprived of their liberty, to strengthen the respect for their rights and the functioning of penitentiary institutions.

The validation workshop of the draft texts allowed to gather the different stakeholders and to validate three texts that will allow to advance the rule of law and human rights in the Republic of Djibouti. These texts concern the internal regulations of the penitentiary establishments to ensure their good functioning and a better respect of the rights of the detainees, the implementation of a control manual to monitor and improve the conditions of detention, and a general disciplinary regulation to prevent and sanction any failure and any behavior that could undermine the good functioning of the public penitentiary service. In order to enable the prison administration to better fulfill its missions, a proposal for an organizational chart to reorganize the prison administration was also validated.

These instruments were developed on the basis of existing Djiboutian regulations, based on several consultations with actors involved in the penitentiary sector and on the conclusions of the workshop on the normative framework organized on March 1, 2022.

The three draft texts are also inspired by the texts that organize the prison system in other countries with similar institutional, organizational and socio-economic aspects, as well as the main tools for the treatment of detainees at the international level. These include the Mandela Rules applicable to all categories of prisoners, the Bangkok Rules for the specific treatment of women prisoners, and the Beijing Rules for the specific treatment of minors.

The texts are the result of close collaboration and an in-depth review of the regulatory framework between prison officials, the Ministry of Justice and UNDP in the weeks leading up to the workshop. The whole process benefited from the considerable contribution of an international prison expert made available to the project by the UN Standing Committee of Judicial and Prison Officers (JCSC).  

The Ministry of Justice is working towards the entry into force of these texts in the coming months, which is an important and concrete step for the good of justice in the Republic of Djibouti and in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16.