The federal government will enact strict laws to curb cases of gender-based violence in Somalia.
Attorney General, Ahmed Ali Dahir, said the government was in the process of reviewing the Penal Code to include harsher penalties on crimes such as gender-based violence.
“The laws have to be constantly reviewed and amended to make them relevant with the times. We are now reviewing the Penal Code Act and the process is going on well. We are in the process of reviewing and amending many sections and this will create appropriate penalties,” the Attorney General said during a symposium on gender-based violence held in Mogadishu, Saturday.
He said the amendments will, among others, criminalize female genital mutilation (FGM), which is rife in Somalia, and help tackle other vices such as cybercrime.
Mr. Dahir urged the public to cooperate with the government to make the process successful by obeying the new laws once they come into force.
The symposium, which is part of the Safe Cities Campaign, was attended by youths, federal and regional administration officials and members of the civil society. It was organized by IFRAH Foundation in collaboration with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Banaadir Youth Association, Somali Youth Cluster and the Ministry of Information.
Speaking at the same function, Ahmed Mane, AMISOM Gender Officer, thanked participants for turning up in large numbers, noting that their presence signified the interest many residents had on human rights issues.
“Let us discuss and explore avenues of how we can eradicate violence against women. Let us fight and eradicate sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia, especially abuses that target the Somali woman. Let us know the various roles that the government, the community and the youth can play in order to curb this vice,” Ms. Mane said.
The District Commissioner of Dayniil, Ahmed Abdi Siyaad, called for greater community participation in combating crimes like sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), noting that security was not a preserve of the government.
Abdikafi Mohamud Makaraan, the Banadiir Youth Chairman, described the campaign as timely, adding that it provided a conducive atmosphere for key partners, the youth included, to engage on issues of human rights and gender violence.
“The campaign is extremely important because it helped facilitate dialogue between the leadership of the 17 districts of Mogadishu and the members of community. Members of the public have a huge role to play in the reduction of these abuses. They have the duty to report to authorities and security institutions and that relation is vital,” Mr. Makaraan explained.
Halimo Bashir Mohamed, one of the participants, noted that the campaign was informative and would help curb cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
“I learnt today that the prevalence rate of female genital mutilation in Somalia is reducing because of the awareness campaigns carried out by organizations. I was delighted to hear the Attorney General speak out against the abuse of women in Somalia,” Ms. Halimo observed.
Women and girls in Somalia, like in other parts of the world, are often subjected to various types of violence, a problem that prompted AMISOM, the federal government and members of the civil society to initiate programmes to educate the public on the importance of protecting the rights of women and children.