Somali women call for greater role in peace and security

4 Dec 2013

Somali women call for greater role in peace and security

Mogadishu – Somali women today called on President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to increase the role of women in local, regional and national political processes and improve their access to justice systems.

Presenting a statement to the President at the Open Day on Women, Peace and Security in Mogadishu, the women laid out the challenges Somali women face, including political marginalization, a justice system that does not address gender-based violence and a lack of respect for women’s human rights. The event was organized by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) with the participation of several women’s civil society organizations from Puntland, Galmudug, Galgadud, Banadir, Hiraan, Bay/Bakool and the Jubba Interim Administration, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on the role of women in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.

“We are under-represented in the government institutions, particularly including security and justice institutions,” said Ruquia Mohamed, of the Puntland Development Research Centre speaking on behalf of all the participants. “Women are not called to participate in reconciliation, mediation and peace negotiation processes.”

Among other things, the women urged the President to ensure that women occupy at least 30 percent of senior leadership positions in the new Cabinet and to translate commitments on gender equality into concrete action.

President Mohamud welcomed the women’s recommendations and said his government was committed to addressing women’s issues and had the will and desire to address issues of gender based violence, including allowing women and girls to report cases of sexual violence without fear of detention and providing special clinics for survivors.

He further urged Somalia’s women to remain united and speak with one voice in their continuing quest for gender equality.

Speaking at the event, Human Development Minister Dr. Maryan Qasim emphasized the importance of improving education levels among women to ensure they are aware of the rights and privileges they are entitled to.

Nicholas Kay, Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, recognized the achievements made so far by Somalia towards gender equality, but noted that the challenges were still huge, and “bold measures need to be undertaken to ensure that women are an active and driving force in peace and reconciliation efforts, that their human rights are respected and that they are fully considered in all national, regional and local political processes”.