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8 March 2023 - News

Forgotten Rights: Somalia women & girls bearing the brunt of crisis.


Policy Position Paper Forgotten Rights: Somalia women & girls bearing the brunt of crisis.

Multifaceted challenges for women and girls in Somalia:

Somalia women and children are the most impacted by nearly three decades of conflict, insecurity, political fragility, recurrent climatic shocks, and mounting economic pressure. Somalia ranks fourth lowest in the gender equality index. Maternal and infant mortality rates are one of the highest worldwide. At least 98% of Somali girls between the age of 9 and 15 years old undergone female genital mutations/cut, and gender-based violence is highly prevalent. Moreover, 35% of girls go through child marriage, and there is no legal framework to stop it in courts.

Women and children in Somalia face many violations of their rights, including gender-based violence and have limited access to the justice systems, Women and Child Rights laws and policies have remained drafts. They are not prioritized, which contributes to the continuation of sexual violence against women and girls in Somalia. In 2020, United Nations warned against 80% increase of rape and other violence against women and girls in Somalia. 

Unmet commitments:

Somalia has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights including United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, on International Day of Women 8th March 2023, Save the Children Somalia is calling and urging Government of Somalia to prioritize concerted effort to protect the rights of women and children who are currently impacted by complex humanitarian crisis, violations of their rights and lack of comprehensive legal framework that addresses the rights of women and children.

In recent human rights accountability briefings by the UN human Right Council and Committee on the Rights of the Child, Somalia has made commitments to advance the rights of women and girls and we call the Government to respect its promises and fulfil commitments made in these proceedings.

Changes Needed for better tomorrow.

  1. We urge the Somalia Federal Government to demonstrate greater political will and dedication to protecting the rights of the children by passing and enforcing of national laws that have been in the works for many years including Children’s bill, Sexual offences bill, Juvenile Justice law, Puntland FGM bill and Disability Policy. We emphasize the importance of ratifying the African Charter and the Welfare of the Child law, which is the most important instrument for children’s rights within the AU human rights system for children.
  2. We recommend the government to formulate and enact laws and policies that advance gender equality and women's rights, particularly in marginalized communities and among internally displaced persons (IDPs), and to abolish laws, policies, and practices, that are harmful to women and girls (i.e.: the Sexual Penetration bill). Without these strong national legislative reforms, violation against women and children in Somalia will continue.
  3. We call all international partners and donors to Somalia to allocate funds for the advancement of women and children justice system, and demand decision makers’ commitment to measurable and concrete actions to better women and children rights.
  4. We urge all relevant civil society actors in Somalia to be active promoters of policies that uphold the rights of women and children and shape public opinion.