SOMALIA: The Launch of a Policy Brief On Women's Rights Within the Somali Provisional Constitution

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
All Africa
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

IIDA Women's Development Organization today launched a policy brief report detailing how Somali women's two decades of struggles have been crystalized in the Provisional Constitution.

The Launch was done within the IIDA Godir centre compound in Mogadishu. This IIDA initiative was supported by Somali Women Agenda (SWA), Somali Technical Partnership (STEP) Programme and Centre for Constitutionalism, Human Rights and Democratization Somalia (CCHD). The launch was attended by a large number of people and officiated by amongst others the Minister for Constitution and Reconciliation, Hon.

Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, Halima Ismail Ibrahim of IIDA who is also the former Co-Chair of the Technical Selection Committee, Dunio Mohamed Ali of IIDA, Sahra Omar Moalin the head of political task force of SWA and also the former chair of the IFCC drafting committee. Also present were former armed forces leaders who worked on the National Security and Stabilization Plan. In their speech Brigadier Generals Abdi Weli Sheikh Mohamud Hussein and Ahmed Mohamud Mohamed said that this is the first time that there was a meeting that brought together former military leaders, MPs, CSOs and other influential groups together and thanked IIDA for that effort. Also in attendance were Members of ParliamentHon. Dunio Mohamed Ali Farah, Hon Jawaahir Ahmed Elmi, Hon. Casho Koos Mohamud Omar and Hon.Mohamed Mohamud Guure. There were also academics such as Prof Cabdi Abshir, professional organisations, SWA representatives, SCSC representatives and other CSO representatives.

During the launchHalima Ibrahim, outlined the challenges that women faced in the drafting, selection of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and the final approval of the Constitution. Dunio Mohamed Ali, detailed the past struggles of women through their CSOs,led by IIDA and SWAto realise their civic, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Hon Hosh described the possible obstacles and scenarios that women are likely to face in interpretation and implementation of the provisional constitution.

The 825 members of the NCA represented the diverse concerns of the nation as it reviewed and ultimately approved the Provisional Constitution. The Provisional Constitution has provisions that protect the following women's rights: Participation rights including inclusions of women across all the three branches of government and in all national independent commissions; prohibition of discrimination based on gender; provisions for affirmative action; prohibition of FGM; provisions for abortion in order to save the life of the mother and protection from sexual abuse, segregation and discrimination in the work place. Other protections include prohibition of child and forced marriage and non-discrimination in the recruitment of women in the military.

The policy brief also outlined the challenges that women face in order to actualise these constitutional rights. The hurdles include the capacity of the state to deliver services, the capacity of women to demand services due to the lack of a functional state for the last 20 years, the lack of a culture of constitutionalism, the limited capacity of the constitutional court to make progressive interpretation of the constitution, problems of corruption within the government and the busy legislative calendar that will prioritise issues of peace and stability as the expense of dealing with women's rights.

IIDA, with SWA, STEP Programme and CCHD will continue to build alliances with other like-minded national institutions. Concerted effort must, however, be made by all state and non-state actors responsible for the future of Somali to achieve these provisions. IIDA will take this unveiling opportunity and work towards achieving that goal of human rights in Somalia.