Somalis gather to review the country’s Action Plan on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict

Mogadishu, 29 November 2017 - A consultative forum to review Somalia’s National Action Plan on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, has been held in Mogadishu as part of the efforts aimed at addressing the widespread conflict related sexual violence in the country.

The forum, convened by the Federal Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development with support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), evaluated among other things, the progress made in drawing up a legal framework that will improve reporting, support for survivors and the capacities to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence.

“My Ministry has put forward a revised Sexual Offences Bill, which we are anticipating its approval at the cabinet level,” Ms. Deqa Yasin, Somalia’s Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights Development stated, on the second day of deliberations.

According to the minister, the Sexual Offences Bill would serve as a fundamental groundwork for ending sexual violence against women and girls.

She told the consultative forum that through the bill, the country is assured of “effective implementation of laws and policies addressing violence against women and girls”.

The National Plan was first developed by the Federal Government of Somalia in 2014, as part of its efforts to address human rights violations in the country. The Sexual Offences Bill is therefore a dividend of the government’s commitment to ending these violations.

The consultations reviewed the level of implementation of the National Plan, against set objectives, planned activities and deliverables. The review identified pending priority areas that will require increased focus in subsequent stages of implementation.

“It’s very difficult for survivors to speak out indeed. But if we are really going to have and see change in attitudes towards this kind of violence, we also need to be thinking about how do we make it less acceptable?,” Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia told the review meeting.