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Sexual violence in Somalia

Afrique en Ligue-
Thursday, April 04, 2013

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UN envoy happy with Somalia's efforts to combat sexual violence - The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Zainab Bangura, has praised the Somali government's efforts to enhance the protection of women against sexual violence.

Addressing journalists in Mogadishu, she said the Somali government was engaged in discussions to develop a framework of cooperation with other entities to address sexual violence.

Bangura, who arrived in the Somali capital to raise awareness and discuss ways of addressing sexual violence in the country, also praised Somali journalists covering the subject, saying they had an important role to play in raising awareness.

She met with UN officials, civil society partners and a range of stakeholders to listen and learn about the challenges faced in tackling sexual violence.

Her first trip to Somalia is intended to focus on information gathering to help inform future conversations with the government.

“I decided to make a trip to Somalia because I believe the country is embarking on an important and exciting journey after many years of conflict. I want to offer the support of my office in helping the government achieve its stated goals of building an equitable society in which human rights are respected and communities are free from sexual and gender-based violence,” Bangura said.

The Special Representative said a team of experts from her office would be deployed to Somalia in July 2013 to work alongside the police and the military to carry out a needs assessment for training and prosecution.

On the role of Somali journalists, she said: “Journalists who research, write and report these stories are an integral part of achieving this goal.

'Without a free press to investigate and shine a light on these issues so that people know what a devastating problem this is worldwide, we can never hope to eradicate this scourge,' Bangura said.

The Sierra Leonean was appointed to her current post in September 2012.

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