Thursday, 15 August 2013

Somali Federal Government shifts blame of gang-rape case onto AMISOM

   Somali Federal Government shifts blame of gang-rape case onto AMISOM 

4 days after Somali Federal Govt. soldiers along with AMISOM troops were accused of kidnapping, and gang raping a mother in Mogadishu, the government in Mogadishu decides to issue a response;

"The Federal Government of Somalia has strongly responded an alleged rape of a Somali woman involving a number of personnel from AMISOM at Maslah Military Camp in Mogadishu on the 8 August 2013.
“The Somali government will not tolerate violation of human rights, in particular sexual violence towards the most vulnerable members of our society and perpetrators will be dealt with the fullest extent of the law”. Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said at a meeting with his Senior Cabinet members.
The Prime Minister has launched an investigation into this incident and confirmed that the Somali Government will be closely working with AMISOM senior officials to investigate this matter and take all necessary steps to bring justice to those who committed this incident and ensure that such crimes do not occur again." - Radio Bar-kulan 

Conveniently, the government's mouthpiece, Radio Bar-kulan avoids any mention of the involvement of Federal government soldiers in this horrific case. The United Nations has recorded over 1,700 camps in Mogadishu's camps for the Internally Displaced; according to the report government forces commit most of these sexual assaults. Despite this rape epidemic, the government has yet to carry out any concrete actions, instead, they continue recruiting former child soldiers, militiamen and war criminals to fill the army's ranks. 

Somali Federal Government soldiers all over Southern Somalia are notorious for their criminal activities, South of Mogadishu; locals have accused them of land grabbing, and setting up illegal checkpoints. According to analysts, President Mohamud refrains from dealing with the poor conduct of the Somali Federal army because he fears reprisals from clans loyal to his government. Under his Presidency, gender-based violence cases have skyrocketed. Judging from the distasteful way the infamous January rape scandal was dealt with; there is not much hope this case will be dealt with accordingly. So far, the President has not commented, instead his Prime Minister has set up an "investigation committee", spearheaded by the female education minister. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Somali National Army Soldiers Kidnap and Pimp Somali women to AMISOM troops

Somali National Army soldiers are being accused of kidnapping and pimping Somali woman to AMISOM troops. Somali Channel has conducted an interview with one of the many victims of this horrifying crime, the lady in the video posted below has chosen to keep her identity secret for obvious reasons. Gender-based violence against women in Mogadishu is a common occurrence, most of the attackers tend to be the same people who are supposed to uphold law and order.

The security situation is so dire that women in Mogadishu are forced to carry machetes and axes to protect themselves from Soldiers. 
Earlier this year, a Somali woman was jailed for reporting a rape by government forces. Why does the Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu continue to turn a blind eye against the rampant abuse committed by their security forces? 


Women in Mogadishu forced to carry machetes to ward off attacks

Women in Mogadishu are forced to carry machetes to ward off attacks by marauding thugs, according to women who frequent Liido beach, rape and molestation are a regular occurrence, and they don't trust the local authorities to provide security so they've taken matters into their own hands. 

Liido Beach, Mogadishu
Whilst Mogadishu's safety spirals out of control, President Mohamud spends most of his time mired in self-created political tiffs with administrations to the North and South of his power-base. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Puntland Women’s quota ranging 26% to 29% in district councils

Somalia: Meeting held over women’s participation in Puntland elections
GAROWE, Somalia May 22, 2013 (Garowe Online) A meeting was held Tuesday in Puntland state, northern Somalia, over the women’s participation in the upcoming Local Council elections, Garowe Online reports.
Participants at PDRC meeting May 21, 2013
The meeting was held at Puntland Development and Research Center (PDRC)compound in Garowe, capital of Puntland, and attended by Puntland government officials, Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) officials, representatives of registered political associations in Puntland, U.N. officers, and PWCN, a women’s association group.

Mr. Ali Farah Farmieri, deputy head of PDRC, opened the meeting and stated that the aim is strategize on the role and participation of women in the upcoming Local Elections, slated for July 2013.

TPEC Commissioner Ms. Abshiro Muse, May 21, 201
Ms. Abshiro Muse, an official with the 9-member TPEC, commended the meeting’s participants for “agreeing to set a quota for women” and for recognizing a special role for women in the Puntland elections.

Puntland Deputy Minister for Women and Family Affairs, Ms. Asho Ahmed Mohamed, emphasized that women are “ready to participate in the [Puntland] elections”, while expressing her hope that women in Puntland will receive the allocated quota agreed among registered political associations.
Ms. Asho Ahmed Mohamed, Puntland Deputy Minister for Women and Family Affairs, May 21, 2013
“The Ministry of Women and Family Affairs will not tire of encouraging women to play their rightful political role here in Puntland,” said Deputy Minister Asho Ahmed Mohamed.

Mr. Koen Toonen, head of UNDP office in Garowe, said the U.N. agencies are ready to support women’s participation in the upcoming elections, while noting that U.N. agencies will continue to support ongoing projects in security, justice, social development sectors.

Ms. Asho Abdi Hussein, a representative of PWCN group, said it is a “victory” for women receiving a quota to participate in the upcoming elections and thanked all the meeting’s participants.
Participants at PDRC meeting May 21, 2013
At the meeting’s conclusion, Mr. Abdullahi Hashi Warsame, a representative of UDAD political association, read the agreed upon points to the media.

According to the published statement, the three levels of Puntland district councils will each have women’s quota ranging 26% to 29%. For districts with 27 Councilors, women are to receive 7 Councilors; for districts with 21 Councilors, women are to receive 6 Councilors; and for districts with 17, women are to receive 5 Councilors.

It is the first meeting on women’s participation in elections to be held in Puntland since the elections process began in 2012.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dr Hawa Abdi & Daughter, "keeping hope alive"

As the twin bombings hit the Boston Marathon, deadlier blasts also ripped through the densely populated Somali capital of Mogadishu. Hours after car bombs and suicide bombers killed at least 16 people outside a court complex on Sunday, another car bomb detonated and killed Turkish nationals. In Somalia, unlike Boston, there were no highly trained emergency personnel on the scene or top-notch hospitals to treat victims. Since 1991, when the Somali government collapsed, aid groups fled the country, and violence routinely interrupts everyday life. However, one Somali physician has made it her life mission to care for those worst hit by violence, poverty and sickness. Dr. Hawa Abdi is known as "the Mother Teresa of Somalia." In her new memoir, "Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman—90,000 Lives Changed," Dr. Abdi explains why she established a hospital, school and shelter for internally displaced people just outside the war-torn capital of Mogadishu. Tens of thousands of displaced Somalis still live there today. She also recounts the difficulties she has encountered as one of the few female physicians in Somalia and her harrowing experience of being kidnapped by militants. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Puntland: Training Women Journalists

07 February 2013 - During the last two decades, the Puntland media have undergone a remarkable change. A growing number of radio stations, local and satellite television channels, newspapers and countless websites are all positive signs of a dynamic culture of expression. However, this vibrant media landscape still remains relatively inaccessible to women. In fact, with more than 87% male staff, the media are the most male-dominated business in Puntland. But in early 2012, a group of young women who had just completed their training as journalists formed the Nugal Women Journalists (NUWOJO) to advocate for better female representation in this sector.
Sharing the expertise
Recognizing the commitment and potential of NUWOJO, Interpeace’s local partner, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), decided to support this association through a training workshop. PDRC shared its expertise in capacity-building and gender mainstreaming, as well as its experience with the use of audio-visual tools with the 30 young women journalist who attended the workshop.
Journalists attending training workshop
 Photo Credit: PDRC
PDRC’s mobile Audio-Visual Unit (AVU), which reaches out to remote communities through film projections, provided technical training in filming and camerawork, including practical exercises. This module was particularly popular with the participants, as one of them explains: “This is something we had not been exposed to before, and no girls are working in these areas, so we really appreciated the training.” The workshop provided the young women with a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience, as most of them had received chiefly theoretical training. They also showed a strong interest in the mobile AVU’s experience in documentary-making and its work in local peacebuilding, democratization and gender development.
A major social responsibility
In addition to the more technical aspects related to reporting and editing, the training also put a strong emphasis on the social responsibility journalists have to assume. It highlighted the role of the media in conflict resolution and their potential for peacebuilding, through providing accurate and unbiased information, fostering open communication, building confidence and correcting misconceptions.
Another major component of the workshop was devoted to gender mainstreaming. The aim of this module was to build the capacities of these young women by providing them with a better understanding of issues surrounding gender equality and with the tools to assert their rights. Due to their high visibility, the media have a crucial role to play in defining the way women are perceived by the society.
A long-term impact
Journalists at PDRC training workshop
 Photo Credit: PDRC
Despite its dynamic image, the media sector in Puntland is actually characterized by entrenched gender inequality. But by giving motivated women such as these young journalists the opportunity and the means to make their mark, there is a strong potential to improve the standards. “I was really happy to have this training,” shared one of the participants. “It has given me the basis and motivation to keep studying independently even after the workshop. We are very grateful to PDRC for seeing this need and helping us address it.”
The workshop is a part of Interpeace’s effort to support the development of the media in the Somali Region, which also includes the recent publication of a journalists handbook. PDRC’s work has already highlighted the important role of women in peacebuilding in the Somali Region; bearing this in mind, a more significant female presence in the media could have a very positive impact.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Mogadishu's rape culture

Mogadishu's rape culture 

Today, a 27 year old Somali woman was sentenced for one year for reporting a rape committed by a Somali soldiers, the journalist that interviewed her was also sentenced for one year. 

Most of the rapes and other serious crimes committed in Somalia are concentrated in the capital city, Mogadishu. This is no surprise when you consider the fact that the Somali National Army in Mogadishu regularly recruits former child soldiers, war criminals and other unsavory people to become soldiers. 

Amin Arts Illustration 
Anyone can become a member of the SNA in Mogadishu, there are no background checks or mental evaluations, and training is non-existent. Therefore, it is to be expected that that these "soldiers" revert to looting, harassing and raping the very citizens they have sworn to protect.

Areas not under the control of the Somali National Army, such as Somaliland and Puntland, have far less cases of rape and other crimes. And when a rape case is reported to the authorities in these regions, the victim is not the one that is thrown in jail, the perpetrator of the crime is.
The fragile "peace" that exists in Mogadishu is thanks to AMISOM troops, as soon as they leave, Mogadishu will return to anarchy. That is, unless the Somali government stops recruiting criminals to join the army.