Mogadishu, 27 May 2014 – “Rape and sexual violence is not acceptable in Somalia’’ was the loud and clear message coming out of a workshop held today in Mogadishu. With the background of traditional songs and dances and in the presence of civil society, the Federal Government of Somalia with support from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) launched a draft action plan on how best to address sexual violence in conflict. The plan spans in three years time, 2014 -2016, and aims to build the capacity of various agencies and institutions to ensure better protection for the Somali girls and women.
The workshop was a follow up of the visit to Somalia last December by the UN team of experts on rule of law and sexual violence, mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1880, who did an assessment of the situation on sexual violence in conflict in Somalia. The team made key recommendations to the Somali government of how best to implement the Joint Communiqué with the UN on Ending of Sexual Violence in Conflict signed by the Federal Government of Somalia in London in May 2013.
The Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Ms. Khadija Mohammed Diriye, said this was a momentous day for Somalia.
“The government will continue to work hard in establishing safety nets in order to eliminate unfortunate abuse of women and other vulnerable members of society in the country.’”
During the meeting, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Fatiha Serour, said dealing with the sexual violence is a collective responsibility by everyone.
“We are working with the government to ensure that the action plan, which is a living document, will undergo further consultations, including with the regions. As international community, we will be providing technical support and working with partners to secure financial support for its implementation” said Ms Serour.
Also present was the British Ambassador to Somalia Neil Wigan who added that the right to security is a fundamental one that has to be respected. He pledged that his Government will continue to support efforts to boost the government's capacity to end sexual violence in conflict.
Participants at the meeting noted that the levels of awareness on sexual violence committed against girls and women were very low and called for extensive sensitisation to ensure improved awareness and empowerment of the population to be able to deal with such crimes.
Programme Director of the Somali non-governmental organisation Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Ilwad Ali said: “The short term plan will be dealing with the key actions required to improve access to justice for survivors in terms of response and prevention. The country needs co- ordination between judiciary, police and service providers.”