Statement by Sergio Stanzani and Niccoló Figa-Talamanca, President and Secretary General of No Peace Without Justice:
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the adoption, on 21 June 2009, by the National Assembly of the Republic of Djibouti, of the new law on “Violence against Women, notably Female Genital Mutilation” (FGM), as an historic step in the long-standing fight undertaken by Djibouti against this harmful practice which violates the human rights of women and girls.

We are pleased that Djibouti now has, for the first time, a self-standing law that bans FGM. Prior to this, legislation on FGM was included in Article 333 of the Penal Code and Article 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The new law adds important elements to these pre existing articles, including a definition of FGM; clarifications on criminal responsibility and penalties; and facilitating the capacity of organisations to initiate civil action proceedings and denounce violence for which the victims themselves are not in condition to ensure recourse to justice.

The path towards this law began with the collaboration of No Peace Without Justice with the Government of Djibouti and the National Union of Women of Djibouti (UNFD) for the organization of the Sub-Regional Conference on Female Genital Mutilation, “Towards a political and religious consensus against FGM”, held under the auspices of the First Lady of Djibouti Mrs Kadri Mahamoud Haid on 2-3 February 2005. At the Conference, the Government of Djibouti presented the instruments of ratification of the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, undertaking to enact legislation in conformity with its provisions.

The dedication of the UNFD to see this commitment translated into specific legal instruments led to the Parliamentary Workshop “The law against FGM and its Applicability” organized in collaboration with No Peace Without Justice on 8-9 October 2008. . The workshop, chaired by the President of the National Assembly of Djibouti, was unprecedented in the history of the Assembly, as it was the first time that parliamentarians had taken the legislative initiative on an issue of such controversy, and engaged themselves to work towards review and revision of the law.

No Peace Without Justice has conducted campaigns aimed at the eradication of FGM for several years, largely in Africa. NPWJ considers that a vital component of efforts to accelerate elimination of FGM is the enactment and implementation of effective national legislation, which is essential in the consolidation of an explicit commitment of public authorities against FGM. NPWJ urges all African governments to enact, review and implement laws and policies to protect the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, in accordance with the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which in article 5 explicitly calls for the legal prohibition of FGM.

For more information, contact Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the FGM Program, on or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 (0)2 548-3914. Check also our website: