The Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Government of Somalia took a major step forward in strengthening the rights of children today by launching the drafting process of its Child Rights Bill, a gesture that the Ministry strongly believes will guarantee a better future for Somali children.
Somalia’s Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, and UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), Leila Pakkala, launched the process in Mogadishu. The Ministry is partnering with UNICEF and Somali Civil Society Organizations in the drafting process and expects wide ranging contributions from Somali society.
The Child Rights Bill, once approved, will be the foundation for the promotion and protection of all child rights in the country. Somalia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in October 2015. “The launch of the drafting process of this comprehensive children’s law today shows the determination of the Federal Government to ensure the Articles in the CRC become a reality in Somalia,” said Minister Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf. “Children here have been seriously affected by armed conflict, drought and many other challenges. We should now focus on guaranteeing their future by strengthening the legal framework which will enable them to enjoy their rights, including the right to development, education, and protection among others.”
The launch comes as the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development prepares to finalize the Federal Government of Somalia’s “Initial State Party Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Children, 1989” to be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, an internationally elected body of independent experts based in Geneva which monitors implementation of the CRC. This report, due two years after ratification, will outline how far the country has performed in the realization of children’s rights.
“Every child in Somalia is entitled – as are all children worldwide – to fully realize their rights,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala. “We trust that the Child Rights Bill will provide the legal foundation to effectively promote and protect all child rights in Somalia, including those of the most marginalized.”
Somalia was the 196th country to become a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, and provides the basis for the realization and protection of all rights for all children. It also lays the foundation for building the capacity of the Government to fulfill its part in protecting and realizing the rights of children.