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Somalia’s human rights record examined under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review

Storyline:National News

Somalia’s human rights record was reviewed under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group yesterday for the second time in history.

The Federal Government of Somalia was represented in Geneva by a strong delegation led by the Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights, Ms. Zahra Ali Samantar, and included the Attorney General, Mr. Ahmed Ali Dahir. Somalia’s UPR review session is part of the UPR Working Group’s 24th session, which began on 18 January and will end on 29 January.

This second review is an opportunity to highlight human rights developments in the country since Somalia was initially reviewed in 2011 and also demonstrate to what degree it has implemented recommendations issued during the last review.

During this session Minister Samantar highlighted achievements by Somalia’s Federal Government in the area of human rights in the last four years. These included the endorsement of national action plan on the human rights roadmap, the action plans to end sexual violence in conflict and the rights
of children, the national Gender Policy and ongoing efforts to strengthen women’s participation in the political processes such as the introduction of quotas of parliamentary seats for women.

She also noted the progress made towards the establishment of an independent national Human Rights Commission, the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and a human rights sensitive national programme for the treatment and handling of disengaged combatants, including specific safeguards for children.

She noted that the international community should not forget Somalia due to many conflicts going on around the world.

The Attorney General of Somalia, Mr. Dahir, cited ongoing reforms in the justice sector, progress towards the enactment of a counter-terrorism law, the recent passage of the media law which emphasises responsible media practice and protection of the rights of the accused, the strengthening
of the maritime law to address piracy, and government plans to review the Penal Code in order to reduce the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty.

He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensuring that its security forces do not commit human rights violations such as torture
and also the Federal Government to tackle corruption.

While thanking the international community for its continued support, the Somali delegation also called on international partners to increase its support to enable the country to fulfil its human rights commitments such as the action plan on the human rights roadmap and the establishment of an
independent Human Rights Commission. Member states commended Somalia for the progress achieved thus far and also called for more technical assistance.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States were reviewed during the first UPR cycle and 154 have been examined during the current cycle.

Ministry of Women & Human Rights Development of the Federal Government of Somalia