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UN expert urges world to help stabilise Somalia ahead of 2021 elections

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The UN human rights expert on Thursday called on the international community to help Somalia strengthen its institutions, the justice and security sector, ahead of the next elections in 2021.

Bahame Tom Nyanduga, UN’s independent expert on the human rights situation in Somalia said the Horn of African nation had made tremendous progress.

The progress has been made so far in the political, economic, social and human rights situation over the past six years, but a lot still needs to be done.

“Somalia also faces many other challenges, including the continuing conflict, inequality, discrimination and youth unemployment as well as delivering economic, social and cultural rights,’’ Nyanduga said in a statement at the end of a 12-day visit to Somalia.

According to analysts, proper preparations are crucial to restore political stability in Somalia, ahead of the 2021 universal suffrage vote, the one man, one vote.

During the visit, Nyanduga went to Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Nairobi, and held talks with government and Somaliland officials, and representatives of the UN, AMISOM, the donor community and civil society.

Nyanduga noted the progress in several areas, including the recovery of territory by Somalia’s security institutions, AMISOM troops and bilateral forces.

He lauded the increased number of women in parliament and cabinet, saying it highlighted the importance of women participating in public affairs, in peace and reconciliation and in decision making on matters that affected them directly.

The UN human rights expert urged parliament to include within the proposed electoral law specific mechanism to ensure representation of women.

Minority clans and other vulnerable groups in Parliament, rather than leaving this task to the election commission.

“If it doesn’t do so, it risks losing the gains made in 2016,” he warned.

Nyanduga called on the world and Somali government to address the negative effects of climate change on the population.

And  to ensure access to basic human rights such as water supply, health services, and education for all children,  particular girls.

He lauded Somalis for their resilience in the face of conflict, terrorist bomb attacks, natural disasters, grave violations of human rights and other challenges, such as poverty and lack of basic necessities for their livelihoods.

He also expressed concern at the delay in the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, and the lack of progress on a Sexual Offences Bill.

The expert also called for action to end the endemic problem of sexual and gender-based violence, particular allegations of gang rapes across the country.

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