SOMALIA: Let Her Keep Her Citizenship

Monday, October 11, 2010
Fiji Times Online
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Human Rights

CITIZENSHIP is important as it is also an identity.

Emphasising the value of women's ctizenship, United Nations Human Rights adviser for gender and conflict Indai Sajor encouraged participants at a regional training on eliminating violence against women to expand women's citizenship, participation and leadership.

"Build women's skills and confidence, support their representation in the social, political and economic spheres and develop women's networks and institutions for conflict prevention, disaster risk reduction, peace-building and post conflict and disaster reconstruction," she said.

She cited citizenship issues in Somalia where for the women, this depended on the region they lived in. "In one region, the law is that if a woman marries a man outside her region, she loses her citizenship but if a man marries a woman out of the region, the woman gets his citizenship," she said. Ms Sajor also raised concerns about the bearing of citizenship on the people of Tuvalu and Kiribati who could be the first environmental refugees because of their sinking atoll islands.

Kiribati participants said their government was now considering options for the people including migration to other countries.

"Migration could result in the loss of identity and culture and they will be like displaced people. They could also face the risk of not being accepted or liked by the people in the countries they will migrate to," said a participant.