In this submission, ARTICLE 19 outlines its concerns that, over the last four years, there has been an escalation in violations of the right to freedom of expression and information, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Djibouti.

Reporters Without Borders has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, to inform him of its deep concern about the persecution of journalists in Djibouti. The press freedom organization asked the UN official to intervene urgently on behalf of radio journalist Farah Abadid Hildid, who works for the Europe-based station 'La Voix de Djibouti'. The station broadcasted on short wave and is now available on the Internet, although access to its website is blocked in Djibouti.

An American reconnaissance plane crashed six miles (10 kilometers) from the only US base in Africa, killing four service members on board, after returning from a mission in support of the war in Afghanistan, the military said Monday 20 February. The statement said that the crash occurred at about 8pm Saturday in Djibouti.

Reporters Without Borders has roundly condemned radio journalist Farah Abadid Hildid’s abduction by the police and the threats and torture to which he was subjected during the 24 hours he was held. Hildid works for La Voix de Djibouti, a radio station that broadcasts on the shortwave from Europe and is now also available on the Internet.

This Washington Post article notes that there will soon be more US troops based in Djibouti than in Iraq. Since 2002, Djibouti – a former French colony – has played host to the only permanent US military base on the African continent. Camp Lemonnier has grown steadily from a small outpost to an operation with more than 3,500 military personnel.