Djibouti, a country neither free nor democratic

28 January 2021

Djibouti remains today one of the least free and least democratic countries in the world, living under a system of single-party rule that has prevailed since its independence in 1977, and where expected democratic reforms have failed to take place.

In the face of severe challenges, the opposition SI-member Movement for Democratic Renewal (MRD), led by Daher Ahmed Farah, is seeking to advance the democratic and institutional reforms that were agreed as part of a framework agreement signed by the government and the opposition in December 2014, including the establishment of an independent joint national electoral commission. The regime’s failure to implement these reforms places Djibouti at odds with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which it has signed and ratified and requires state parties to both establish and strengthen independent and impartial national electoral bodies.

The Socialist International renews its call for the full implementation of the December 2014 framework agreement, including the establishment of an independent joint electoral commission, which is a prerequisite for the holding of a free and fair presidential election in Djibouti in April 2021. We express our solidarity with the MRD and all those in the country working for democracy, individual freedoms and human rights. The international community should bring pressure to bear on the ruling regime so that this year the people of Djibouti will finally be able to freely express their democratic will and elect their president without the fear of fraud and the use of force that have been a permanent feature of previous elections in the country.