Steering Committee on Somalia’s National Action Plan on Sexual Violence meets

9 Sep 2015

Steering Committee on Somalia’s National Action Plan on Sexual Violence meets

Mogadishu – The Steering Committee on Somalia’s National Action Plan on Sexual Violence in Conflict held a meeting chaired by the Minister for Women and Human Rights Development and co-chaired and hosted by UNSOM in Villa Nabad. The agenda focused on plans for implementation and fostering coordination among the different arms of the Government.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), officials from various ministries of the Federal Government of Somalia, members of civil society, the Somali Police Force and AMISOM.

Sahra Mohamed Ali Samatar, Somali Federal Government Minister for Women and Human Rights Development emphasized the need to create awareness on sexual violence, tackling the widespread stigma and ensuring that functional policies and systems are in place.

“We know that over the last 25 years of civil war, all the institutions of government were affected. The first victims were women and girls. We also know that as of today, we do not have strong policies or strong institutions that protect women and children. Because of that, it is a priority and we must urge all Somalis to build and to have strong policies to end sexual violence. For me, as Minister for Gender and a mother, it is a priority to ensure protection for all women in Somalia,” said the Minister.

Ghada Shawgi, Senior Women Protection Advisor with UNSOM reiterated continued support towards this plan, including coordination of various partners to ensure a well-coordinated effort towards addressing sexual violence in Somalia.

“This plan is really very important in terms of providing protection and support for not only women but also men, boys and girls. The National Action Plan was developed and agreed on last year in May 2014, where the Somali government organs and the civil society and all the actors including the Police and the security forces came to put their minds together to come up with priority actions to address the issues of protection for women. Since then, we have been supporting the government to implement the National Action Plan,” she said

The meeting also brought on board views from civil society, which is being engaged to aid the awareness process at the grass root level, among other functions.
Sahra Mohamed Ahmed, a legal advisor with Somali Woman Development Center (SWDC), observed that matters of protection of women and children are critical; commending the collective effort towards ensuring their safety.

“We are very happy to meet with the Minister of Women and Human Rights and the main issue of the discussion is violence against women and children. We are at our last leg of consultations towards enacting legislation to address this issue. We are discussing the policies that assist when women are abused,” said Sahra Ahmed

Lieutenant Idil Abdullahi Hassan, who represented the Head of Gender in the Somali Police Force said the meeting aimed to enhance coordination between the various arms of the government for collective efforts towards protection of women and children. She noted the need for strong coordination, from the point when a case is reported to the Police to when it is taken before the courts of law, to ensure justice for the victims.

“Since the National Action Plan was already being developed, todays’ gathering is all about how to implement it. We are all discussing across sectors and stakeholders the implementation, and the outcome of this meeting at the end of the day should be how we can implement and coordinate,” she added.

Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh Omar, the Director General in the Ministry of Health added that the meeting attended by the various government ministries is a key step towards implementation of this plan. He noted that “this is a very crucial and political commitment meeting with more than nine ministries, civil society and other stakeholders attending. The main issue is for the government to hold consultative discussions to stop the violence related to sexual issues. With the government, as you can see, solutions in highlighting the matter will be brought to the highest level of decision makers and new laws will be enacted to stop sexual based violence in Somalia, particularly violence against women and children.”