UN lauds contribution of women in Somalia’s stability

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Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against Al shabab insurgents outside Lido beach in the Somali capital Mogadishu, on January 28, 2016. Al Shebab killed at least 19 people when five gunmen detonated a bomb before storming a restaurant in the at Lido beach on January 22, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against Al shabab insurgents outside Lido beach in the Somali capital Mogadishu, on January 28, 2016. Al Shebab killed at least 19 people when five gunmen detonated a bomb before storming a restaurant in the at Lido beach on January 22, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

The United Nations senior envoy in Somalia on Sunday lauded contribution of women towards peace and stability of the country.

James Swan, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, applauded the role of Somali women in their country’s progress while also encouraging greater efforts to ensure their participation in all spheres of Somali society.”Somali women have made important contributions as Somalia rebuilds and continues on its path to peace and stability,” Swan said in a statement issued on the International Women’s Day in Mogadishu.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.” “They (women) have demonstrated tremendous courage, strength and dedication in the face of many challenges, including protracted conflict, lack of security, natural disaster and political instability,” said Swan. The UN envoy also encouraged renewed attention by national leaders to the draft Sexual Offences Bill and Female Genital Mutilation Bill, as cornerstones for the protection of women’s rights in Somalia.”Women’s equal rights, opportunities and participation are vital ingredients in realizing the Somali national development agenda. Only collective action by all, including people in power, can make it happen,” said Swan.

Ahead of Somalia’s forthcoming “one person, one vote” elections, the UN in Somalia urged all Somali stakeholders, particularly the political leadership, to support women’s representation in politics and decision-making, and to guarantee that equality becomes a living reality for all Somalis, regardless of their gender. Swan said the United Nations strongly supports the minimum 30 percent women’s quota for representation in parliament. “Unfortunately, the security discourse around women too often labels them as victims, and rarely as active agents who are vital to improving the security situation for themselves and others. That must change,” he added.

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