Mogadishu – At the start of the annual global 16-day campaign against sexual and gender-based violence, the United Nations in Somalia today highlighted the importance of progress in this area.
“Gender-based violence and sexual violence are a means to suppress full political, social, and economic participation of women and girls. Without the participation of more than half the population, sustainable peace and development will not be attained,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, said.
“Preventing and ending sexual and gender-based violence is essential for Somalia to achieve a better future,” he added.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign runs from 25 November to 10 December – starting today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ending on Human Rights Day. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape.’
Somalia’s Provisional Constitution of 2012 commits the country to ending discrimination on all grounds, including gender, and reaffirms the right of every person to their inviolable physical integrity. As a further step, the United Nations family urges that Parliament as a matter of priority consider and adopt the Sexual Offences Bill.
According to data collected by the Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS), out of the total number of reported incidents from January to September 2019, rape accounted for 15 per cent of these while sexual assault accounted for another 13 per cent. Access to justice was challenging, with many victims fearing retaliation from the perpetrators and stigmatization in their communities.
The UN in Somalia remains committed to supporting the government and the people of Somalia to help Somali women and girls realize their full potential and live a life free from violence of all forms.