AMISOM Sensitises Somali Women On The Constitution Review Process

Participants attend an awareness event on the Constitutional Review Process organised by the Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The event took place in Mogadishu, Somalia on 13 May 2019. AMISOM Photo / Omar Abdisalan

About 25 women drawn from various Civil Society Organisations across Somalia have been engaged about how they can make meaningful contributions to the ongoing constitutional review process in the country. They included representatives from various youth groups, women associations, sports and the media. At the interactive session organised and facilitated by the Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit of AMISOM, Ms. Mané Ahmed, the Gender Officer for AMISOM, underscored the importance of understanding and making gender provisions in the constitution.

“We are delighted to come together with the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, to see how civil societies can contribute to the constitution review process. It is imperative to hear their voices, challenges, and views on the gender provisions in the constitution,” Mane said. She added, “Somali women are eager to contribute to the constitutional review process to ensure they are adequately represented, particularly in the political process and possibly have fifty percent representation.” Ms. Kafia Abdullahi Naleye, a Gender Advisor at the Federal Ministry of Constitutional Affairs updated participants on the ongoing process to review the country’s 2012 provisional constitution.

The Federal Government of Somalia launched the constitution review process in May 2018. It is expected that by the end of the year, Somalia will have a new constitution, just in time for the 2020 one-person-one-vote elections. At the end of deliberations, Ms. Kafia described the engagement as insightful and useful, “We discussed the role women ought to play to contribute and fulfil their constitutional duties and obligations.”

Ms. Ilhan Mohamed Hassan, a member of the Somali Professional Women’s Union, encouraged women to be conversant with the specific constitution provisions about women. “We are advocating for the inclusion of the thirty per cent quota, protection against sexual violence, and our rights for participation in the three arms of government,” Ilhan said. At the meeting, participants called for an inclusive process that caters for women representation. They appealed for equality in the political process and access to opportunities.

Ms. Zahra Abdi Haji, the chairperson of a local organisation, Somali Youth United, called for proportionate political participation for women and the youth in parliament. “Don’t only grant ten per cent to the youth and thirty per cent quota to women in parliament, we want more seats because we represent the majority of the population,” Zahra noted.