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8 March 2019, Mogadishu. A landmark Women’s Charter for Somalia has been issued by delegates at a three-day Somali Women’s Convention, which took place in Mogadishu this week. The Convention was led by the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development, in partnership with Federal and Federal Member State governments and with civil society organisations.

The Women’s Charter issued at the Convention calls for full inclusion of women across the political, economic and social spectrum in Somalia. It comes as the Constitution of Somalia is undergoing a review process and as key electoral and political laws are being developed.

In particular the Charter calls for at fifty per cent quota across all three levels of government, including in the security sector, and in public administration. It also calls for zero tolerance for gender based violence and for women’s rights to be enshrined in the revised Constitution, and in the finalised electoral, security and political laws.

Socio-economic rights in the form of women’s equal access to land, and to economic opportunities and technologies, to ensure long term resilience and stability, is also a key call in the document.

Inputs to the Charter were given over the three days of the Convention by 300 delegates from federal and federal member states governments, women and youth group representatives, disability organisations, private sector organisations and members of academia from across the federal member states.

The event was attended by the First Lady of Somalia, Her Excellency Saynab Abdi Moalim, the Mayor of Mogadishu Abdirahman Osman, and the Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan Ali Khaire, as well as federal and federal member state Ministers and Members of Parliament. The Chairperson of the National Independent Electoral Commission, Halima Ibrahim Ismail, also attended the event.

Presenting the Charter to Prime Minister Khaire, the Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Hon. Deqa Yasin, highlighted both the inclusive nature of convention and the importance of topics discussed in the development of the charter.  “If women are supported in the areas that are mentioned in the charter, you will be contributing to sustainable peace is this country, and for the first time the women of this nation will feel as part and parcel of decision making in this country,” she said.

Prime Minister Khaire said he would work with his Government to carry out the Charter, and called for an action plan for its implementation.   “We need to integrate gender and human rights in the work of all ministries. That is why it is important for each minister to play a role in the implementation of the Charter,” he said.

“I ask the Minister of Women and Human Rights, and her staff, to come up with an action plan to carry out the recommendations set out in the Charter, so that it can be included in the next budget of the country,” he added.

The Somali led Women’s Convention was partially supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well as by the Somalia Stability Fund (SSF).

Speaking at the opening of the Convention, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and UN Resident Coordinator, Peter de Clercq, said he very much welcomed the Women’s Charter and the consultative and inclusive nature of the event.  “I hope that this will be a rallying ground for the women of this country, for women parliamentarians, and for women of influence to be able to move the cause of women forward.”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, a.i., for Somalia, George Conway, congratulated the Ministry and the Government in bringing together diverse representatives from the Federal Government, federal member states, the private sector, civil society, and women’s organisations.  “I would like to reiterate UNDP’s and the UN’s commitment and support to this process and to women’s empowerment, inclusion and gender equality in Somalia,” he said.

Contacts:

Keelin FitzGerald, Communication Specialist, United Nations Development Programme Somalia. Tel: +252 619 505004. Email: keelin.fitzgerald@undp.org

Olga Cherevko, Strategic Communication and Coordination Officer, Integrated Office of the UN Resident Coordinator for Somalia. Email: cherevko-barrett@un.org

Pattterson Siema,  Regional Communications Specialist , UN Women. Tel: +254725058820, Email:patterson.siema@unwomen.org

Pilirani Semu-Banda, Ms., Communications, Partnerships & Donor Relations Specialist, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Somalia Country Office. Tel:  +254 734500439. Email: semu-banda@unfpa.org

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