Somalia Human Rights Road Map ready for implementation

9 May 2015

Somalia Human Rights Road Map ready for implementation

Mogadishu – The Federal Government of Somalia and Somali human rights defenders have endorsed, with some amendments, an Action Plan for the country’s Human Rights Roadmap at a validation meeting held in Mogadishu on Saturday.

Federal and regional government officials, representatives of civil society organisations, human rights defenders, Somalia’s key development partners attended the meeting, which was organised with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Representing the Federal Government of Somalia, Sahra Ali Samatar, the Minister of Women Affairs and Human Rights Development said the Government was committed to implementing its international human rights commitments, including the Universal Periodic Review recommendations.

“Our meeting here today shows our resolve towards ending human rights violations and abuses. The Federal Government is in the process of establishing the National Human Rights Commission as soon as the parliament has passed the bill,” she said.
“The Ministry of Women and Human Rights is also required to work on many other laws in the area of human rights; be it children, women, people with disabilities and in general, address challenges facing the population and prevent human rights violations and abuses.”

Speaking at the meeting, the Director of the UNSOM’s Human Rights Section Guadalupe de Sousa said: “The Action Plan which is being validated today, is the outcome of a broad consultation process led by the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, with full participation of an inter-ministerial team made up of focal points from 13 ministries. This is a remarkable achievement for Somalia, and I congratulate the Government for such coordination efforts.”

The Federal Government adopted the Human Rights Roadmap in August 2013 with an aim to protect and promote human rights in Somalia. The adoption came after the UN Human Rights Council reviewed Somalia’s human rights record in 2011 and made certain recommendations.

The roadmap provides for six key thematic areas of human rights-related activities to be implemented in 2015 and 2016. The areas cover protection of civilians, access to justice, women’s rights, and rights of the child, rights of internally displaced persons and refugees and other vulnerable groups, as well as economic and social rights including the right to health, education and food.

De Sousa said the Action Plan is consistent with the country’s Peace and State-building Goals (PSGs), adding that the UN is committed to supporting the Federal Government in implementing it. She also called on all other partners to ensure that adequate funding this purpose.

The Minister cited the ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in January 2015 by the President of Somalia as one of the areas of progress made so far. She said plans were underway by the Government to ensure the (domestication) application of the Convention in the country. She added that separately, the government was finalising laws on Female Genital Mutilation as well as on the establishment of the independent Human Rights Commission.
With respect to the submission of the state report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Minister noted that efforts are being made to meet the October deadline.

Finally, the Minister emphasised that the effective implementation of the Human Rights Road Map would lead to Somalia being able to stand on its feet again, and called for all to cooperate.

During the workshop, a number of civil society members and human rights defenders called for the popularization of the Human Rights Action Plan in the regions and districts in Somalia. A human rights defender and the Assistant Secretary-General of the National Union of Somali Journalists, Abdirahman Hassan Omar said: “We request the Government to fast-track the laws on human rights and also educate the public through awareness and advocacy programmes.”

Speaking at the close of the workshop, Mohamed Omar Nur, the Director General of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Human Rights Development expressed optimism at the outcome of the meeting, saying: “We will take on board the recommendations that came out of this meeting, and those regions that did not take part, we will open up informal dialogue with them to solicit for their inputs for inclusion in the recommendations. Thereafter, we will have a working document which represents the entire country that would be used in addressing the human rights challenges facing the country.”