Interactive Dialogue on Assistance to Somalia in the Field of Human Rights

Human Rights Council 24th Session - Geneva, Switzerland

Stand-Alone High Level Interactive Dialogue on Assistance to Somalia in the Field of Human Rights

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council,

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister and distinguished panelists, for your focus and dedication to the cause of human rights in Somalia, especially given the challenging political and security environment in which you must work. Today we remember the victims of the tragedy that took place at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi; the United States condemns in the strongest terms possible this horrific and senseless terrorist attack by al-Shabaab. The international community notes and appreciates the difficulties and risks that Somali officials face when they endeavor to improve human rights – be it in the battle to stop sexual violence, the quest for better conditions for IDPs, or the call to hold human rights violators and abusers accountable.

The United States is pleased to be participating in this panel discussion which seeks to illustrate the international community’s partnership with the people of Somalia to improve respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. Robust consultations, both within Somalia and between Somalis and the international community, remain important. Only by including a wide range of voices from Somali civil society groups and regional stakeholders, can we ensure that efforts to build peace and democracy are well informed and have stakeholder buy-in. This holds true for broad political processes such as the adoption of a permanent constitution, 2016 election preparations and building a more effective security sector respectful of human rights.

  1. Human Rights Commission: The United States looks forward to the formation of Somalia’s constitutionally-mandated independent Human Rights Commission. Can the participants please provide an update on their plans help establish this commission through a consultative process?
  2. Security Sector Reform: The United States welcomes Somalia’s efforts to reform its security forces. We would appreciate details from the panelists about Somalia’s efforts to improve their security forces’ ability to protect civilians.
  3. Child Soldiers: The protection of children in Somalia remains a critical human rights and humanitarian priority. What can be done to advance the implementation of Somalia’s action plan to end the unlawful recruitment and use of children in the army? What are the most urgent next steps that should be taken to end this horrific practice?
  4. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): The situation of IDPs in Mogadishu remains grave. Can the panelists describe the steps that are being taken to ensure that IDP’s human rights are respected, particularly with regard to protections against forced displacement and gender-based violence?
  5. Media Freedom: Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism. The United States would appreciate the panelists’ thoughts on how to improve protection for journalists. We would also appreciate an update from the Government of Somalia on its efforts to consult further with civil society on its draft media law.
  6. Elections and the Constitutional Referendum: Elections planning is a long process that requires significant preparations. It is vital that Somalia adopt a permanent constitution and hold 2016 elections on time. What efforts are occurring to ensure elections will be held on time and a permanent constitution will be adopted?
  7. Legislative Framework: As the Parliament looks to improve Somalia’s legal framework, what processes can be put in place so that draft legislation is informed by wide-ranging civil society and regional stakeholder consultations?

- Cross posted from U.S. Mission Geneva

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