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Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in VOW - Somali Women

Women’s Statement Open Day on Women, Peace and Security Mogadishu, 4 December 2013

 

Your Excellency President of the Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Your Excellency Minister for Human Development and Public Services, Dr. Maryan Qasim
Your Excellency Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay
Ambassador Epiphanie Ntamwana, AMISOM Chief of Staff
Ambassadors and Representatives of the International Community
Ladies and Gentlemen

 

We, the Somali women, coming from Puntland, Galmudug, Galgadud, Banadir, Hiraan, Bay/ Bakool and Jubba Interim Administration and from the Diaspora gathered in Mogadishu, at the Airport Conference Centre, on the 2 and 3 December with the objective of analyzing the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and provide concrete recommendations on how the specific needs of women may be taken into account in its implementation, in line with the challenges faced by Somali women.

The Open Day on Women, Peace and Security is organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia and Women Civil Society Organizations with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) by ensuring that women are taken into account in national decision making and political processes and that their specific needs are taken into account in the state- and peace-building of Somalia.

We hereby, declare the specific challenges of Somali women, define priorities and recommendations to be addressed by the Federal Government of Somalia and by the UN in the implementation of the UNSOM mandate:

With regards to the political processes, including the formation of the federal system, the electoral processes and constitutional review process, we face the following challenges:
• Women are not part of the male-dominated clan system, which leaves us out of the decision making and selection processes;
• The lack of peace and security impedes particularly women’s political participation;
• Women are not sufficiently politically, socially and economically empowered in every sector of society;
• There is a lack of awareness and knowledge among Somalis of the constitution and women’s rights, major international conventions and Islamic law provisions protecting women’s rights;
• The Provisional Constitution does not include quota for women;
• We are underrepresented in the government institutions, including security institutions;
• We are underrepresented in crucial decision making processes and not consulted enough in meetings for international donor support.
• Women are not called to participate in reconciliation, mediation and peace negotiation processes.

With regards to security and justice systems, we face the following challenges:
• A justice system that does not address sexual exploitation and harassment;
• Police and Military that cannot handle effectively rape cases and women’s issues;
• Lack of effective security institutions and mechanisms that does not allow women to move freely around in public space;
• Legal, security (military, police and correctional services) and justice institutions that do not employ qualified and skilled women;
• Security officers that are not aware of women’s rights and are not properly trained on protection issues;
• Male-dominated traditional mechanisms that women have to go through to claim their rights or resolve any dispute. Women’s rights are not respected and women do not receive compensations.

With regards to Human Rights, we face the following challenges:
• Lack of respect for women’s rights, including civic, economic, social, political and equality (eg. forced early marriages and continuous divorces among young girls with children);
• Violations against women (eg. FGM) and a culture of impunity to perpetrators of crimes against women;
• Use of child and youth soldiers and child labour; children miss education and youth miss employment opportunities;
• Trafficking of women, sexual exploitation and abuse;
• Women IDPs are particularly vulnerable and there is a lack of proper long-term planning of establishment and reintegration;
• Inadequate budget allocation to address women’s development.

Within our many challenges, we have identified key priority areas that the Government and the United Nations should focus on:

Women’s participation and empowerment: Somalia has emerged recently from conflict and the highest objective is sustainable peace and stability. Inclusive participation for women in the peace and political processes including the upcoming constitutional review process and 2016 elections is an integral part of building sustainable peace in Somalia.

Justice and security for women: Somalia is building now its justice and security institutions that were severely affected by the pro-longed conflict. The big majority of the Somalis still refer to traditional mechanisms of dispute resolution that are male-dominated. Somali women have been deprived for too long from equal access and benefits from the legal and justice system. Justice and security institutions should consider mechanisms to address issues of gender-based violence to enable the creation of a society free of violence and impunity.

Women’s human rights: Promotion and protection of women’s human rights remain extremely limited in Somalia. Institutional responses remain weak and general awareness about women’s human rights is limited. Somalia is in the process of rebuilding its human rights institutions. The respect for women’s human rights is a fundamental principle in order to create an enabling environment for practicing Islamic principles and democracy.

In order to address our challenges and priorities, we recommend the following:
Sensitization and Capacity Building:
• Training centres for capacity building for Government branches, institutions (Executive, Parliament and Judiciary) and civil society, including Traditional Elders, to improve understanding of the political process, constitutional provisions and particularly women’s rights to political participation;
• Civic education on human rights and the Constitution;
• Review gender mainstreaming policies in all government offices with a special focus on security and justice institutions;
• Capacity building and training for women in the government;
• Civic education for all women and men on the constitutional process and particularly on human and women’s rights;
• Education and creation of employment of job opportunities for women and youth;
• Allocation of gender budget from the national budget and the New Deal implementation funds to gender-oriented programs;

Legal and Regulatory Framework
• Gender equality based on Islamic law to work as a principle for developing democracy in Somalia;
• Constitutional amendment and review to include women’s quotas;
• Establish clear mechanisms to monitor and uphold the implementation of the constitution with regards to women’s rights;
• Ratify the Children Rights Convention and the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
• National Gender Policy, including a National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to be widely consulted;
• National Action Plan to end Child Recruitment to be implemented;

Visibility and recognition of women
• Give honorary positions for outstanding women that may serve as role models;

Participation in Local, Regional and National Political Processes
• Increase women’s participation in government institutions, including allocation of senior positions to women in the judiciary, military, police, all government institutions and local councils; Women’s participation in the high level partnership forum, the SDRF steering committee and sector working groups across regions as well as other funding mechanisms;
• Women’s representation and participation in reconciliation, mediation and peace negotiation processes.
• Engagement with the Gender Experts and Gender Advisers from the UN to provide support for women’s political participation.

Security/Justice
• Recruit more women police officers to address rape cases and sexual harassment and provide training to all officers for handling these cases;
• Support male and female ex-combatants and other armed militias and their families. They require education, training, rehabilitation programs and job creation programs;
• Improve women’s access to legal aid and justice systems (including through mobile courts system) and reform the justice system to be friendly to women’s protection;
• Training for security, judiciary, corrections, legal and civil administration system of how to address/investigate cases of women rights violations.
• Develop mechanisms to end impunity;

Human Rights
• Develop programmes for voluntary return or/and provision of settlement support to IDPs, considering the specific needs of women;
• Support women’s economic empowerment and businesses development to sustain livelihood and girls’ education;
• Respect for Islamic law and women’s rights through the review of existing laws according to Sharia and international standards to prevent discrimination against women;
• Implement labour rights in line with Article 24 of the Provisional Constitution which stipulates that all workers, particularly women have a special right of protection from sexual abuse, segregation and discrimination in the work place;
• The future National Human Rights Commission should have equal women representation at all levels;
• Women’s dignity and integrity to be respected.

To conclude:
• We call on the President to have at least 30% of women in the new Cabinet and the senior leadership of the Ministries at the Director-General level.
• We urge the Government to ensure accountability, foster ethics, and develop a strategy for decreasing the dependency on donors
• We call on the UN to support us financially and technically in all sectors and ensure that monitoring and evaluation is conducted on all support provided.
• We urge the Government to translate commitments undertaken on gender equality into concrete actions.

Thank you

 

 

Mogadishu, 4 December 2013

 

Your Excellency President of the Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Your Excellency Minister for Human Development and Public Services, Dr. Maryan Qasim

Your Excellency Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay

Ambassador Epiphanie Ntamwana, AMISOM Chief of Staff

Ambassadors and Representatives of the International Community

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

 

 

We, the Somali women, coming from Puntland, Galmudug, Galgadud, Banadir, Hiraan, Bay/ Bakool and Jubba Interim Administration and from the Diaspora gathered in Mogadishu, at the Airport Conference Centre, on the 2 and 3 December with the objective of analyzing the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and provide concrete recommendations on how the specific needs of women may be taken into account in its implementation, in line with the challenges faced by Somali women.

 

The Open Day on Women, Peace and Security is organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia and Women Civil Society Organizations with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) by ensuring that women are taken into account in national decision making and political processes and that their specific needs are taken into account in the state- and peace-building of Somalia.

 

We hereby, declare the specific challenges of Somali women, define priorities and recommendations to be addressed by the Federal Government of Somalia and by the UN in the implementation of the UNSOM mandate:

 

With regards to the political processes, including the formation of the federal system, the electoral processes and constitutional review process, we face the following challenges:

  • Women are not part of the male-dominated clan system, which leaves us out of the decision making and selection processes;
  • The lack of peace and security impedes particularly women’s political participation;
  • Women are not sufficiently politically, socially and economically empowered in every sector of society;
  • There is a lack of awareness and knowledge among Somalis of the constitution and women’s rights, major international conventions and Islamic law provisions protecting women’s rights;
  • The Provisional Constitution does not include quota for women;
  • We are underrepresented in the government institutions, including security institutions;
  • We are underrepresented in crucial decision making processes and not consulted enough in meetings for international donor support.
  • Women are not called to participate in reconciliation, mediation and peace negotiation processes.

 

With regards to security and justice systems, we face the following challenges:

  • A justice system that does not address sexual exploitation and harassment;
  • Police and Military that cannot handle effectively rape cases and women’s issues;
  • Lack of effective security institutions and mechanisms that does not allow women to move freely around in public space;
  • Legal, security (military, police and correctional services) and justice institutions that do not employ qualified and skilled women;
  • Security officers that are not aware of women’s rights and are not properly trained on protection issues;
  • Male-dominated traditional mechanisms that women have to go through to claim their rights or resolve any dispute. Women’s rights are not respected and women do not receive compensations.

 

With regards to Human Rights, we face the following challenges:

  • Lack of respect for women’s rights, including civic, economic, social, political and equality (eg. forced early marriages and continuous divorces among young girls with children);
  • Violations against women (eg. FGM) and a culture of impunity to perpetrators of crimes against women;
  • Use of child and youth soldiers and child labour; children miss education and youth miss employment opportunities;
  • Trafficking of women, sexual exploitation and abuse;
  • Women IDPs are particularly vulnerable and there is a lack of proper long-term planning of establishment and reintegration;
  • Inadequate budget allocation to address women’s development.

 

Within our many challenges, we have identified key priority areas that the Government and the United Nations should focus on:

 

Women’s participation and empowerment: Somalia has emerged recently from conflict and the highest objective is sustainable peace and stability. Inclusive participation for women in the peace and political processes including the upcoming constitutional review process and 2016 elections is an integral part of building sustainable peace in Somalia.

 

Justice and security for women: Somalia is building now its justice and security institutions that were severely affected by the pro-longed conflict. The big majority of the Somalis still refer to traditional mechanisms of dispute resolution that are male-dominated. Somali women have been deprived for too long from equal access and benefits from the legal and justice system. Justice and security institutions should consider mechanisms to address issues of gender-based violence to enable the creation of a society free of violence and impunity.

 

Women’s human rights: Promotion and protection of women’s human rights remain extremely limited in Somalia. Institutional responses remain weak and general awareness about women’s human rights is limited. Somalia is in the process of rebuilding its human rights institutions. The respect for women’s human rights is a fundamental principle in order to create an enabling environment for practicing Islamic principles and democracy.

 

In order to address our challenges and priorities, we recommend the following:

Sensitization and Capacity Building:

  • Training centres for capacity building for Government branches, institutions (Executive, Parliament and Judiciary) and civil society, including Traditional Elders, to improve understanding of the political process, constitutional provisions and particularly women’s rights to political participation;
  • Civic education on human rights and the Constitution;
  • Review gender mainstreaming policies in all government offices with a special focus on security and justice institutions;
  • Capacity building and training for women in the government;
  • Civic education for all women and men on the constitutional process and particularly on human and women’s rights;
  • Education and creation of employment of job opportunities for women and youth;
  • Allocation of gender budget from the national budget and the New Deal implementation funds to gender-oriented programs;

 

Legal and Regulatory Framework

  • Gender equality based on Islamic law to work as a principle for developing democracy in Somalia;
  • Constitutional amendment and review to include women’s quotas;
  • Establish clear mechanisms to monitor and uphold the implementation of the constitution with regards to women’s rights;
  • Ratify the Children Rights Convention and the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
  • National Gender Policy, including a National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to be widely consulted;
  • National Action Plan to end Child Recruitment to be implemented;

 

Visibility and recognition of women

  • Give honorary positions for outstanding women that may serve as role models;

 

Participation in Local, Regional and National Political Processes

  • Increase women’s participation in government institutions, including allocation of senior positions to women in the judiciary, military, police, all government institutions and local councils; Women’s participation in the high level partnership forum, the SDRF steering committee and sector working groups across regions as well as other funding mechanisms;
  • Women’s representation and participation in reconciliation, mediation and peace negotiation processes.
  • Engagement with the Gender Experts and Gender Advisers from the UN to provide support for women’s political participation.

 

Security/Justice

  • Recruit more women police officers to address rape cases and sexual harassment and provide training to all officers for handling these cases;
  • Support male and female ex-combatants and other armed militias and their families. They require education, training, rehabilitation programs and job creation programs;
  • Improve women’s access to legal aid and justice systems (including through mobile courts system) and reform the justice system to be friendly to women’s protection;
  • Training for security, judiciary, corrections, legal and civil administration system of how to address/investigate cases of women rights violations.
  • Develop mechanisms to end impunity;

 

Human Rights

  • Develop programmes for voluntary return or/and provision of settlement support to IDPs, considering the specific needs of women;
  • Support women’s economic empowerment and businesses development to sustain livelihood and girls’ education;
  • Respect for Islamic law and women’s rights through the review of existing laws according to Sharia and international standards to prevent discrimination against women;
  • Implement labour rights in line with Article 24 of the Provisional Constitution which stipulates that all workers, particularly women have a special right of protection from sexual abuse, segregation and discrimination in the work place;
  • The future National Human Rights Commission should have equal women representation at all levels;
  • Women’s dignity and integrity to be respected.

 

To conclude:

  • We call on the President to have at least 30% of women in the new Cabinet and the senior leadership of the Ministries at the Director-General level.
  • We urge the Government to ensure accountability, foster ethics, and develop a strategy for decreasing the dependency on donors
  • We call on the UN to support us financially and technically in all sectors and ensure that monitoring and evaluation is conducted on all support provided.
  • We urge the Government to translate commitments undertaken on gender equality into concrete actions.

 

Thank you