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Human rights defender's story: Kadar Abdi Ibrahim


©Courtesy of Kadar Abdi Ibrahim

Story behind

Kadar Abdi Ibrahim is a human rights defender and journalist from Djibouti. For 20 years, Kadar was a high school math teacher and then a Professor and Researcher at the University of Djibouti. He was dismissed due to his human rights work.

From 2015, Kadar was the co-director and chief editor of L’Aurore, Djibouti’s only privately-owned media outlet. In 2016, the newspaper was banned following the publication of a story on one of the victims of the Buldhuqo massacre, crackdown by Djibouti security forces on a religious celebration and a meeting of the opposition on 21 December 2015 that left at least 27 people dead. Kadar is also the president of the political party Movement for Democracy and Freedom (MoDEL) since December 2021. Over the years, Kadar has been arrested several times by the police in an attempt to silence him.

What happened

In April 2018, just days after returning from Geneva, where Kadar carried out advocacy activities ahead of Djibouti’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council, intelligence service agents of the Service de documentation et de sécurité (SDS) raided his house and confiscated his passport.

Despite his case being identified as a clear case of reprisals by the UN Secretary-General, who reported on it to the Human Rights Council in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, his passport remains with the SDS. He has been unable to leave his own country for the past five years. The prolongation of the travel ban obstructs Kadar from undertaking his human rights work and prevents him from directly engaging with partners and actors outside the country, including the UN.

What do we want

We want the authorities in Djibouti to lift the travel ban against Kadar and return his passport so he can travel, engage with partners and the UN outside of Djibouti and undertake his human rights work without any obstacles.