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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Tuesday 3 May 2011 (Afternoon)

Country under review: SOMALIA

Documents:   National report A/HRC/WG.6/11/SOM/1;
Compilation of UN information A/HRC/WG.6/11/SOM/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information A/HRC/WG.6/10/SOM/3;
 
Troika: ANGOLA, MEXICO, THAILAND

Concerned country - national report

Represented by a 4-members delegation and headed by H.E. Ms. Zahra Mohamed Ali Samantar, State Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister, Transitional Federal Government.

Highlights

- The political instability in Somalia has made the review difficult as the Transitional Federal Government has to deal with human rights violations which are not of its own making.
- The Transitional Federal Government has drafted a legal framework within which human rights are protected.
- A new Federal Constitution is to be drafted within two and half years of the formation of an Independent Federal Constitutional Commission and to be adopted by popular referendum thereafter.
- Despite the widespread practice of female genital mutilation in Somalia, the delegation noted that female genital mutilation is prohibited by Islam and covered by the Somali Penal Code.
- Lack of food is a clear danger in Somalia, and in internally displaced persons camps.
- On March 2011, the Government opened a primary and intermediate school to offer free education in Mogadishu
- Somalia is a State party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and is bound by International Humanitarian Law.
- The Government issued strict guidelines against the recruitment of child soldiers into armed forces.
- There is a necessity to deal with past atrocities, justice and reconciliation.
- Somalia is facing multiple challenges: poverty, insecurity and lack of fully functional institutions.
- A representative of Puntland noted that piracy has been a problem for international shipping and to local trade.
- Puntland requested funds and support for governance efforts.
- The key role of women in peace building was also raised.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

-Member States: 35          Inscribed on the list: 67
-Observer States: 32         Statements not delivered: 10

Positive achievements

- Efforts to improve the human rights in Somalia, despite the challenges and difficulties that Somalia faces.
- Positive commitment of the Government to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation.
- The willingness to eradicate the enrolment of child soldiers.
- The drafting of the Constitution is recognized as a fundamental step.
- Willingness of the Government to sign the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminations Against Women and the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
- The willingness of the State to be assisted by international experts in its efforts to promote and protect human rights.
- The intention to create an independent national human rights institution.
-The commitment of the Transitional Federal Government to improve the living standards of persons by providing education and health services.

Issues and questions raised

- Internally displaced persons do not have access to basic needs.
- The high rate of victims of female genital mutilation.
- The impunity for violations of human rights and the absence of punishment for those violations.
- The recruitment of child soldiers by armed forces.
- Violence against women and children.
- The status of freedom of speech and the situation of journalists.
- Measures to reinforce the independence of justice.
- The need to ensure to the international community and humanitarian workers access to the Somali territory.
- Gender based violence and discrimination against women, including in internally displaced persons camps.
- The increasing number of refugees.
- The need to reinforce the rule of law and to punish human rights violators.

Recommendations

- To implement an action plan for human rights.
- To strengthen capacities in education.
- To improve the situation of internally displaced persons.
- To ensure that police forces do not include persons under the age of 18.
- To promote gender equality.
- To address the serious violations of human rights against women.
- To continue to request technical assistance and capacity-building from the UN Human Rights Office and the international community.
- To ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- To establish a moratorium on the death penalty.
- To uphold freedom of expression and guarantee the protection of journalists.

Response of the concerned country

- The Somali Government is considering signing the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discriminations Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Somalia is willing to eliminate female genital mutilation.
- The Government requires the assistance of experts in order for it to better comply with International Humanitarian Law.
- Somalia ensures to create a healthy environment for freedom of expression.
- To train and advise armed forces in International Humanitarian Law.
- The Transitional Federal Government is considering putting a moratorium on the death penalty.
- The Government wishes to make accountable all those responsible of human rights violations during the conflict.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on: Thursday, 5 May 2011, 17:30 – 18:00

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