Somali women parliamentarians are attending a three-day workshop to discuss their legislative roles in relation to women and child rights.
The workshop, organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with the support of the British Embassy in Mogadishu, is being attended by women parliamentarians from both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Federal Parliament.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, yesterday, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, lauded the MPs for attending the training noting that the legislators from both chambers of parliament have a crucial role to play in promoting human rights, gender equality and child protection.
“What you have come to do here is fundamental in ensuring that you anchor issues of governance in our good country of Somalia on the issues of gender equality, observance of human rights and observance of child protection,” Mr. Mulongo stated.
The DSRCC said understanding of human rights will also ensure that young people are protected from exploitation and raised in a manner that will guarantee a peaceful and stable Somalia that respects equality.
Mr. Mulongo urged the MPs not be complacent but instead join hands in the fight for the protection of the rights of the vulnerable.
“These tenets that we are talking about on issues of gender, child protection and ensuring that the government integrates them into their policies and development plans, will not come on a silver plate. You will have to stand up and fight for them and ensure that they are integrated,” the DSRCC noted.
The workshop is taking place a year after the conclusion of the electoral process that increased the number of women federal MPs from 14 percent in the 2012-2016 parliament to 24 per cent in the current parliament.
The Deputy Speaker of the Upper House, Abshir Mohamed Ahmed, hailed AMISOM for organizing the workshop, noting that women can play an important role in the advancement and observance of human rights.
“When you want to expand the enjoyment of human rights, women are best placed to do this. The Somali woman can play a very important role. We all know the critical role the Somali woman played during the civil war,” Mr. Ahmed explained.
His remarks were echoed by the Chairperson of the Women Caucus of the Lower House, Dr. Mina Mohamed, who noted that though a lot has been achieved with regard to the political representation of women in Somalia, a lot still remains to be done.
“We still need support, like this training so that we can achieve our goals. This will help us discharge our duties. When you empower women politically, the country develops fast and people live in peace,” Ms. Mohamed explained.
For her part, the Chairperson of the Women Caucus of the Upper House, Shukri Aden Mohamed, urged the women MPs to harness their skills and expertise to achieve greater representation of women in politics and enhance their role in decision making.
“We have different skills. There are some of us who are educated while others are experienced but we are law makers and we need to know our job description, what it means, how to execute it and who will help us achieve our goals,” Ms. Mohamed stated.
Ms. Shipra Bose, a Senior Gender Advisor with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), urged the women MPs to fully grasp the parliamentary rules to enable them better advocate for the rights of women and children.