Civil society groups review human rights progress in Somalia

26 Mar 2015

Civil society groups review human rights progress in Somalia

Mogadishu - At least 27 representatives from civil society organizations and human rights activists in Somalia concluded a two-day consultative workshop in Mogadishu on Tuesday, to review the human rights situation in Somalia and draft a report for the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Somali civil society groups will submit their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the Council in June this year while the Federal Government will make their own submission in October 2015. The UPR process periodically assesses the human rights situation in the 193 UN member states. During the review process, the State parties are mandated to present human rights reports for review before the UN Human Rights Council.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to review Somalia’s human rights situation in early 2016. The Council is responsible for the global promotion and protection of human rights.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is supporting Somali civil society prepare their report, which covers six thematic areas namely; women and children’s rights, rights of persons with disabilities, media rights and freedom of expression, civil and political rights, youth rights and humanitarian and development rights.

UNSOM’s Human Rights Officer Muna Abuagla says that at the end of the consultative process, the civil society and human rights activists will put together a report that will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on 22 June, 2015.

Abuagla said, “The UNSOM human rights section facilitates the consultation; but the consultation process is a Somali-led initiative by the Somali civil society organizations.”

Mama Amina Hajj Elmi, the Executive Director of the non-governmental organization, Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), described the civil society’s participation in the upcoming periodic review as important. She noted that the organizations play an important role in securing the rights of the war-affected populations in Somalia.

“It is very important because we want to share our concerns and our human rights evaluation with the rest of the world. It is where we can reach as civil society organizations, who are on the ground, we organized ourselves into six clusters, then went to the ground level, shared and collected the information. So we want to share the Somali situation with the rest of the world, in order to get support and intervention and in order to update the Somali situation concerning the human rights is. So it’s very important for us and the rest of the world,” she added.

The chairperson of the Horn Africa Disability Forum (HADF) Abdullahi Hassan Husse also added his voice to the initiative saying, “We have drafted a report that we collected amongst the disabled people, the service providers, institutions, organizations and schools. We have combined all issues deeply concerning the rights of the persons with disability, socially and politically. These were eleven articles that we have compiled.”