Somalia : Promoting Women in Legal Profession and Judiciary
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020
UN Women partnered with the Ministry of Justice to organize a 3-day training for women lawyers in Puntland on 16, 17 and 18 September 2020 which brought together 40 women lawyers from the Puntland women lawyers association and representatives from Women associations in Puntland.
Equal participation of women in the legal profession reflects gender equality in public institutions and builds trust among all sections. The Constitution of Somalia specifically and expressly address women’s right to equal participation in public life. While there are female prosecutors, Director Generals (DGs), lawyers and court registrars, there is a limited number of women judges in Somalia. Despite being as professionally qualified as men for the job women are denied opportunities. This is largely the result of social prejudice and negative perceptions of the role of women in leadership and judiciary. Adding to this, women continues to face challenges in many parts of Somalia due to negative social norms, limited access, societal and institutional support and impunity.
Judge Ismail Hajji Abdi, DG MoJRACR in his address appreciated UN Women for the partnership and support to the ministry to ensure strengthening of women’s access to justice. He noted the need to maintain such training to overcome some of the challenges that impede women from participation in the judiciary institutions.
“ I am very confident that women will soon join the judiciary and the ministry will continue to enhance their knowledge and capacity so that they can hold positions in the judiciary. The Ministry of Justice is committed to strengthening women’s representation in the justice sector so that there is gender parity and the women access to justice specifically for violence against women survivors a reality in Somalia”, added Mr Abdi stated.
Dr Syed Sadiq, Country Program Manager, UN Women highlighted and appreciated the role of women judges and lawyers in prevention and response to violence against women through effective oversight and implementation of the laws.
In 2020, the Ministries of Justice in Puntland, Jubaland, South West and the Attorney General Office (AGO) in Puntland and UN Women have signed letters of agreement (LOAs) under the Joint Justice Programme for Somalia funded by the European Union, Netherland and Swede. This, to enhance women’s access to justice through institutional strengthening and capacity building for justice and traditional institutions, women lawyers associations to strength gender empowerment in the judiciary, end violence against women and girls and promote effective prosecution and trial of cases to promote gender justice.