UN human rights expert calls for stepping up stabilization efforts in Somalia

United Nations Headquarters In New York
Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2020 shows the outside view of the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The United Nations independent expert on the human rights situation in Somalia, Isha Dyfan wrapped up a five-day visit on Saturday by calling on international community to step up its stabilization efforts in the country.

“I urge the international community not to relent in its support, at this last stage, when stability is increasingly becoming a reality in Somalia,” Dyfan urged the world to help strengthen federal and federal member state institutions in particular the security and justice institutions as well as the health systems.

Dyfan told journalists in the capital, Mogadishu that the world should also help Somalia address adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights, by ensuring access to basic social services including drinking water, sanitation facilities, housing, health care education for all children, in particular the girl child.

The UN rights expert said Somalia continues to suffer from insecurity, conflict and recurring drought due to climate change, leading to additional internally displaced people (IDPs) and severe food and water shortages. She added that the government and humanitarian partners are implementing the emergency Response and Preparedness Plan of 2021 and pre-positioning food items, water and non-food items to support the IDP populations in Baidoa and other areas in the country.

Dyfan was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to assess, monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Somalia, with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights. She was appointed to this mandate by the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 8, 2020, but was unable to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions.

Dyfan, who chose to focus her first visit on economic, social and cultural rights, as they relate to the benchmarks and indicators of her second report to the UN Human Rights Council said access to health care remains dangerously low in the country.

“There is only one government hospital in the capital, Mogadishu, and people often have to seek health care services at a private health facility and pay out of their own pocket very high amounts for their own treatment,” Dyfan said.

She thus urged the government to expand the delivery of public health services, in light of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and increase funding for its health system.

The UN expert also raised concerns relating to high rates of youth unemployment and early and forced marriages, which she said contribute to extraordinarily high population growth and result in negative health consequences. Enditem

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