Delegation of the European Union to Somalia

Press Statement from the European Union on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Brussels, 25/11/2019 - 08:51, UNIQUE ID: 191125_6
Local Statements

Nairobi, Monday 25 November 2019. On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Delegation of the European Union to Somalia reaffirms its engagement to ending sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia, and expresses its support to the commitments made by the Government of Somalia to end gender-based violence.

At the Nairobi International Conference on Population and Development (12 to 14 November 2019), co-hosted by Kenya, Denmark and the United Nations, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed presented Somalia's national commitments of:

  • zero tolerance for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV),
  • zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and
  • the reduction of maternal deaths.

A key factor to achieve this will be to strengthen the legal frameworks, such as the Sexual Offences Bill and the FGM Elimination Bill. It is crucial that victims of gender-based violence and female genital mutilation are protected by the law, can speak out and seek medical help, and have access to a justice system that ensures perpetrators are punished. It has been more than a year since the Sexual Offences Bill moved to the parliament and we note that it has not yet been passed. In addition, the Anti-FGM Bill is yet to be tabled at cabinet level.

The delegation of the European Union is ready to support Somalia to put these initiatives into action. We invite the Government of Somalia to undertake all necessary steps to pass the Sexual Offences Bill without any further delay, and to table the Anti-FGM Bill as a priority.

Background

Somalia has the highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the world at 98 per cent of the female population, and practices its most severe form. FGM has no known health benefits; on the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women and it interferes with the natural functioning of the body. FGM can cause immediate and long-term health consequences that range from excessive bleeding, problems urinating, severe infections and complications in childbirth, to death. Mostly carried out on minors, FGM is a violation of the rights of the child. The practice also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture, and the right to life when the procedure results in death (WHO, 2019).

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations in the world. It manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms and encompasses domestic, sexual violence and harassment (rape, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, stalking), human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and child marriage (UN, 2019). Insecurity, weak rule of law, gender inequality and displacement contribute to the widespread prevalence of SGBV in Somalia, although there is no reliable data and abuses are likely underreported. According to UNICEF, Somalia has the tenth highest rate of child marriage in the world.

Contact

EU Delegation to Somalia: DELEGATION-SOMALIA-PPI@eeas.europa.eu

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