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Somalia’s forgotten women, girls and children

Gender Equality & GBV - Somalia - Advocacy

Due to a combination of disasters – climatic shocks, locusts, and COVID-19 – the country has gradually developed into one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises in the world.

The Somalia conflict started more than three decades ago, when the central government and its formal institutions collapsed, leaving the country in a state of chronic political instability, widespread insecurity and food shortages, with frequent human rights violations and abuses- including unlawful killings, destruction of property, mass displacement, rape and sexual violence. This was followed by the devastation of the economic and societal systems and structures as well as a prolonged insecurity, which had a significant impact on the lives of the Somalis in general, particularly women and girls.

The Federal Government of Somalia to:

  •  Sign and ratify the global and regional human rights treaties and agreements establishing state responsibilities for the protection of women’s and children’s rights, particularly for the national police and armed forces on SGBV prevention and protection, as well as the victims and survivors’ right to access justice. As a matter of urgency, the government should ratify CEDAW.
  • Adopt the Sexual Offences Bill, FGM and other important bills and policies so that women, girls, and children and other vulnerable groups most at risk of SGBV are provided with the protection and legal recourse they need. The adoption of the Bills should be followed by adequate resourcing of its implementation and monitoring.
  • Work with relevant partners including LAW to strengthen and increase the capacity of the police and judicial system actors to provide safe and accessible services for the survivors of SGBV.
  •  Take urgent action to hold perpetrators accountable for SGBV by investigating and prosecuting acts committed by members of the state security forces and non-state armed groups.
  • Resource the Woman and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) to ensure that it is able to effectively deliver changes for women and girls.
  • Engage community structures in the development and implementation of its SGBV prevention, protection, and enforcement efforts.
  • Step up action to increase prevention of SGBV in IDP camps, including through increased resources.

Donors to:

  • Continue to fund lifesaving SGBV services and programmes that aim to increase survivors’ access to justice, including through legal aid services and legal information, assistance and representation, strengthen authorities and justice actors to prevent and address SGBV and provide technical assistance to survivors, empower women in the justice and legal sector, and support civil society advocacy efforts-especially women’s rights organisations and women -led organisations to hold the government accountable.
  • Provide funding to scale up the 360-model approach in IDP camps.

NGOs to:

  • Raise community awareness of SGBV, especially among the IDPs and those in rural and remote areas to reduce the cultural stigmas, discrimination and rejection that SGBV survivors suffer from their families and communities.
  • Continue to engage constructively with the authorities – including in the camps – and actors of the justice and legal system.
  • Support local traditional authorities to improve access to justice for SGBV survivors including through men’s engagement programmes as well as improve their awareness and attention to wider GBV issues.

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