An independent United Nations expert today hailed the approval by Somalia of a “road map” to help promote and protect human rights in the country, but urged the Government to consult more with civil society and regional administrations before the document is finalized.
“I welcome the endorsement of the post-transition Human Rights Roadmap as a very positive step for the advancement of human rights in Somalia, but unless there is wide ownership by all concerned, implementation of the Roadmap will be very difficult,” said the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari.
In a special session of the Cabinet of Ministers last month convened by Prime Minister Abdi Farash Shirdon, the Government adopted the two-year plan to strengthen its human rights record.
During that session, the Cabinet also agreed to create a Ministry of Human Rights, and declared 27 August as Somalia’s National Human Rights Day.
Somalia has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but has recently made progress towards stability. In 2011, Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgents retreated from Mogadishu and last year new Government institutions emerged, as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.
Mr. Bari, who undertook his 11th field visit to Somalia from 26 to 29 August, met with officials in Mogadishu, as well as non-governmental organizations and the media.
During the visit, he also travelled to Garowe, Puntland, where he met with representatives of the government and civil society.
The Independent Expert will present his next report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 24 September.
He will also take part in a high-level meeting to discuss how to guarantee maximum effectiveness of technical and other assistance to Somalia, as well as ensuring implementation of the Human Rights Roadmap at national and subnational levels in the country.
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.