International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

UN Celebrates 16 days of activism in Mogadishu, Somalia

Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Jebbeh Forster, of UN Women  (left) and Resident Coordinator of Somalia, Peter de Clerq during the joint press conference. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo
Jebbeh Forster, of UN Women  (left) and Resident Coordinator of Somalia, Peter de Clerq during the joint press conference. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo

To emphasize the need for gender equality and eradication of violence against women and girls, the UN country team in Somalia held a joint press briefing to launch the 2018 16 days of activism. The event was hosted by the Resident Coordinator and included members from the civil society and the media.

The #HearMeToo campaign sought raise awareness, to listen to and believe survivors, to end the culture of silencing and to put the survivors at the centre of the response. UN Women Africa’s Regional Women, Peace Security and Humanitarian Action Advisor, Jebbeh Forster emphasized the importance of working together to address violence against women by listening to voices of survivors of violence. She asked for the focus to change from questioning the credibility of the victim, to pursuing the accountability of the perpetrator.

According to UNICEF, 98% of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years have undergone Female Genital Mutilation /Cutting in Somalia, with 45% of women aged 20 to 24 years being first married or in union before age 18.

Speaking at the press briefing, Peter de Clerq, Resident and Humanitarian coordinator for Somalia highlighted on the responsibilities that lay on various actors in the country stating that ‘…to establish a society free from violence against women and girls, Somalia needs to prioritize social, economic and political empowerment of women and girls. It has to improve the enrollment and retention of girls in formal education, eliminate female genital mutilation, stop early and forced marriage, and promote women’s equal participation in governance….’

Also present at the meeting was Amina Haji Elmi, of Save Somali Women and Children who reassured the women of Somalia, on the commitment that both local and international players had made in fighting for the rights of women and girls.

The global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls aims to highlight support to survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the world: #HearMeTOO’ with orange as the unifying color of solidarity, sending a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play.

At the end of the event, the general statement was that UN in Somalia recommits itself and assures the government and the people of Somalia of its full collaboration and support to ensure that Somali women and girls will realize their full potential and live a life free from violence of all forms.