Despite full legal protection, women generally play a subordinate role in the workplace and in the household. Customary law favors men in areas of inheritance and property rights. Domestic violence against women is treated as a family problem. As many as 98% of women have undergone female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), a painful and potentially life-threatening procedure. Although the procedure is illegal, no one has been prosecuted under those provisions.
Discrimination against minority ethnic clans in Djibouti is pervasive. The dominant clan, the Issa, control most government positions and are dominant in the military forces as well. Djibouti's human rights record remains poor, despite the transition to a multi-party system. There are reports of police brutality, deplorable prison conditions, and illegal detentions.