Child protection

Program : Child Protection


Program : Child Protection

© UNICEF/Djibouti/ Pirozzi/15.JPG


"Protection" involves preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and child abuse. Child protection is one of the major concerns of the international law on human rights protection.

In Djibouti, 10% of children are not registered at birth and therefore don’t have a birth certificate. This document is the permanent and official evidence of the child’s legal existence, a prerequisite to the achievement of his/her rights and practical needs. The birth certificate guarantees to the child an identity and the access to basic services such as vaccination, health care and school enrollment at the right age. It is also an essential condition for the protection of children against a wide range of abuses, such as early marriage, child labor, army enrollment, child trafficking. This finally ensures children to not be treated like adults while in conflict with the law.

About 93% of women have undergone female genital mutilation (EDSF / PAPFAM, 2002). Female genital mutilation or excision consists in partial or total removal of women’s external genitalia for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason. This practice may involve the use of non sterilized, traditional or rudimentary instruments. Sexual mutilations are a violation of child rights which threaten both her physical and psychological status with non reversible consequences on women’s well being and health.

The situation of children made vulnerable by HIV / AIDS is alarming. The pandemic not only threatens children’s health and survival but also destroys their families, thus depriving them of their parents’ love, care and protection. In fact, there are about 5000 children orphaned by HIV. This figure represents 15% of the estimated total number of 33 000 orphans registered nationwide. Those are often cared for by direct or distant relatives. Apart from what families can offer to OVCs, the capacity to manage their case remains low. According to some people, the situation is linked to the national culture which has for long prevented communities from placing orphans in the hands of institutions or people outside the family. However, since the socio-economic crisis of the 90s, the family solidarity is crumbling and the community often fails to address the situation.



UNICEF supports the Government of Djibouti and pleads in favor of children to guarantee a protective environment for them.

UNICEF actions are based on the following interventions: (i) advocacy; (ii) monitoring the implementation of the Convention on Children’s Rights; (iii) capacity building; (iv) harmonization of the legislation on Child's Rights Convention; (v) development of policy strategy and action plan; (vi) implementation of a community program backed by the international NGO Tostan to promote human rights in changing attitudes and behavior as regards Female Genital Mutilation /cutting; (vii) provision of a range of services education, health, protection, nutritional support to OVCs, adequate training for service providers; (viii) promotion of birth registration.

UNICEF works towards the strengthening of the information systems and data collection as well as evidence-based programming, and calls for collaboration between the different stakeholders.

The taboo surrounding FGM / C has already been lifted and a law condemning this practice is effective. The government of Djibouti has both a national strategy and a five-year action plan on FGM / Cs, and the multi sector coordination has been strengthened. A UNFPA / UNICEF joint program to speed up the ban on female genital mutilation is being implemented by various government institutions as well as national and international NGOs. In 2006, a survey shows that 55% of school girls aged 7 were not mutilated. A comparable survey will be made in 2008 to show if this proportion is maintained and if the trend for the decrease of this practice is confirmed. 

Situation analysis conducted so far have resulted in a raise of awareness on birth registration, orphans and vulnerable children issues. The progress and the impact of these two new programs will be monitored and evaluated in the coming years.



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