Somali government to tackle rape cases

xasanNewly-appointed president and PM say they will address the cases of rape in the capital, but within confines of the law.

Leaders of the five-month-old government in Somalia have said that authorities will do more to protect victims of rape in the Horn of African nation.

Sunday’s comments by the newly appointed prime minister and president, come after foreign donors and human rights groups criticised the arrests of a woman allegedly gang-raped by soldiers and the journalist who conducted an interview with her about the sexual abuse.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from London, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president, said though his government “is the only government that has proven” it is dedicated to improving the lives of women in the nation, he will not directly interfere in the ongoing court case.

The trial of an unidentified 27-year-old woman, her husband, and the freelance journalist on charges of insulting a government body, making false accusations, and seeking to profit from the allegations, has sparked international concerns over sexual violence and press freedom in the country.

“I don’t have the right to interfere in the judicary system … My interference into the judiciary system, will never help the rule of law in Somalia”, Mohamud told Al Jazeera.

Human rights groups say the trial is politically motivated, designed to cover up rampant sexual abuse of women by Somali security forces.

The journalist’s trial, which was to take place on Sunday, has been postponed to Tuesday.

International concerns

The United Nations and the US, who recently acknowledged Mogadishu’s new government, have also voiced concerns about the treatment of rape victims.

Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, prime minister, promised to reform Somali armed forces and the judiciary once the trial has concluded, acknowledging “deep-seated problems” with both institutions.

“We recognise the concerns of our international partners and we are only too aware of the enormous challenges our nation faces,” Saaid said in a statement.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, on Saturday called for the Somali government to deal with the country’s rape problems, saying the UN had evidence around 1,700 women were raped between January and November last year in camps for internally displaced people around Mogadishu.

Saaid, a former businessman who is married to an influential Somali peace activist, said the government has launched public campaigns designed to bring down instances of rape. However, he concedes more can be done.

“I have since urged the government in the strongest terms to be much more responsive on this question, to take proactive measures, prosecute any such crimes and provide all appropriate care to the victims,” he said.

Journalism organisations and human rights groups say arresting a journalist and putting him on trial for interviewing a rape victim is an attack on media freedoms and free speech.

Somalia is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with killings of reporters reaching and all-time high in 2012 when 18 media workers were killed, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

But Saaid stressed the government’s support for press freedom, saying “journalists perform a critical role and we want them to be able to work without fear or favour”.

Saaid said the government will soon form a new and independent task force on human rights which will investigate attacks against women and violence against journalists.


Al Jazeera and agencies

Shabakada Kala Soco Wararkii Ugu Danbeeyay

Nagala Xiriir E-mail

Fikradaha Akhristayaasha (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Wararkii U Danbeeyay

10612693_715442771865721_2901066207255700960_n Daawo..Safiirka dowlada Ingiriiska u fadhiya Soomaaliya oo Baydhaba tagay
- Aug 27, 2014
              Wafdi balaaran oo uu hogaaminayay danjiraha dowladda Britain u fadhiya Soomaaliya Neil Wigan ayaa ...
haji Dhegayso..Xaaji Gaaboow”Maamulka Afgooye awood uma lahan inay qaadaan Isbaarooyinka yaalla Wadada”
- Aug 26, 2014
Gudoomiyaha degmada Afgooye gobolka Shabeelaha hoose Xaaji Gaabow Cusmaan ayaa qaylo dhaan ka keenay ...
mardaaaa Dhegayso..Siyaasiga Mardaadi”Dowladu waa inay Maxkamad soo taagtaa kuwa Baydhabo shacabka ku laayay”
- Aug 26, 2014
Siyaasiga Abuukar Mardaadi oo ka hadlay banaanbixii dhiiga shacabka lagu daadiyay ee shalay ka ...
afaraale Dhegayso…Xildhibaan Afaraale”Ibraahin Yarow looga hari maayo dhiiga uu Baydhabo ku daadiyay”
- Aug 26, 2014
              Xildhibaan Maxamed Xuseen Afaraale ayaa ayaa maanta waxa uu ka dhawaajiyay in mas'uuliyada khasaarihii ...
ninii Daawo:- Barnaamij Ey Aljazeera kaga Hadleyso Hub Ka dhigista Maleeshiyaadka
- Aug 26, 2014
Barnaamijkan ayaa waxa ka wada hadlaya qaar ka tisan dowlada federlaka iyo wariyeyaal Source Aljezeera Daafeet.Com