New York, 29 April 2013 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Nicholas Kay (United Kingdom) as his Special Representative for Somalia.
Mr. Kay succeeds Augustine Mahiga, who will complete his assignment on 3 June 2013. The Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service for the last three years. His exemplary leadership in helping to steer the end of the eight-year political transition in the summer of 2012 is particularly noteworthy. The Secretary-General recalls with deep appreciation the fact that Mr. Mahiga’s contributions had laid the foundation on which the Federal Government of Somalia with the help of the international community, can now further engage on peacebuilding and the consolidation of security and development initiatives in the country.
Mr. Kay is currently the Africa Director at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), a position he has held since 2012. Prior to this, he served as Ambassador to the Republic of the Democratic of the Congo (DRC) and the Sudan from 2007 to 2010 and 2010 to 2012 respectively. He was also the United Kingdom’s Regional Coordinator for Southern Afghanistan and Head of the Provincial Reconstruction Team for Helmand Province from 2006 to 2007.
In his earlier career with the FCO, Mr. Kay served in policy and country positions in London as well as overseas in Spain and Cuba. He also worked for fourteen years as an English language teacher in Brazil, Cyprus, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and within the United Kingdom.
Born in 1958, Mr. Kay is married with two daughters and a son.
Mogadishu, 14 April 2013 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, is shocked and outraged by today’s deadly attacks in Mogadishu.
While the number of the dead is still unclear, initial reports indicate that many innocent civilians were killed including women and at least one child. Many more were injured in the blasts, which occurred in multiple locations including at the Regional Court House.
“I join the government and the people of Somalia in condemning these senseless acts of terror”, said SRSG Mahiga, “Somalia is making remarkable progress toward stabilization and these great strides will not be overshadowed by the desperate acts of these cowardly terrorists.”
“My thoughts are with families and friends of those killed and injured in the attacks. The international community will continue to support the Federal government in their efforts to ensure a safe and secure Somalia for all its citizens,” the SRSG said.
By Hodan Osman, Liaison Officer for UNMAS
A member of an EOD team wears protective headwear during a demonstration held by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 4. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team partook in a number of excercises, as part of the International Day of Mine Awareness, in order to draw attention to the large number of mines, unexploded ordnances (UXOs), and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) that still exist in the country. Photo Credit: AU UN IST PHOTO / TOBIN JONES.
It may have been the excitement of seeing Mogadishu for the first time or apprehension about starting a new job in what is reputed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, that meant that I could not sleep the night before heading to Mogadishu. It is a city I have only read about in newspapers peddling stories about war and famine. But I have also heard about a very different Mogadishu from my parents and grandparents, a Mogadishu that was thriving before chaos descended. The Mogadishu depicted on postcards, a once picturesque and cosmopolitan city with vibrant trade, universities, beachfront hotels and white villas.
In my short time here I have learned not to attempt to reconcile these images of a past Mogadishu with the horrors of the civil war, but rather to focus on building a Mogadishu that will be. I mentally reassemble the broken pieces of buildings, clear the rubble, remove the plastic bags from the barren tree branches and restore the lights and I root for this jigsaw city that could be. There is a sense of hopefulness and excitement about change in Somalia that beams through every conversation and meeting I have had with both government and non government actors in Somalia. Every meeting and discussion takes place against this backdrop of hope and collective need for change. It is intoxicating.
It is an exciting time to be in Somalia, as the Liaison Officer for UNMAS, working to negate the explosive threat to Somalis and creating conditions for access and recovery. Although the core of our work is focused on humanitarian mine action and supporting the Somali security sector as well as AMISOM on explosive management, our reach is much broader and has a greater impact.
To be able to respond to a single call about a possible explosive threat in Mogadishu, we would need to have established training and mentoring for the Somali police not only on the technical aspect of handling the explosive ordinance, but on all of the logistical and administrative functions required to coordinate and report on the response. We would have raised the awareness of local communities so that they are able to recognise and report potential explosive threats and a level of trust would have been established between the police and communities, as communities become willing to discuss explosive threats and other security and safety issues.
The successful removal of explosive threats would result in further cementing the relationship between the government and communities, as the government is and will be seen as providing a valuable public service. The area will be safe to use once more, allowing local businesses to continue flourishing and for children to play in a safe environment. These are the list of activities leading up to and supporting the Somali Police team’s response to calls.
It is this type of residual and spiraling impact from a series of smaller activities that will lead to greater change in Somalia. The process of the Somali police responding to a single call is demonstrating a key thread for stabilisation – a Somali police force supported by the Somali government providing essential services to Somali communities. This is the change we are all working towards and its optimism is evident and exchanged in every transaction, conversation, school lesson, coffee shop, government meeting and gathering in the streets of a Mogadishu that will be. Today, we are celebrating this as part of International Mine Awareness Day in Mogadishu.
By Bastian Richter, Coordination Officer - UNPOS
There is a new buzz word in town. In almost all the meetings I attended over the past year, it came up again and again: Stabilisation.
I have tried to make sense of what it means. Exploring its many facets and faces, a year later, I have reached the conclusion that there is much more common ground between its definitions and stakeholders than there are differences. Basically the Somali Federal Government, international and regional partners all agree that populations living in central and south Somalia, in areas recently recovered from Al-Shabaab, need to be stabilised. And it is urgently needed.
There is also agreement on what ‘stabilisation’ is not. It is neither live-saving humanitarian aid, nor long-term development. Stabilisation is about enabling the Somali authorities to deliver quick, tangible ‘peace dividends’ to its people so that they can start living with a sense of normality and without fear. After 22 years of conflict in Somalia, the task is monumental. The question is where to start. To begin with, even relatively small projects can make a huge difference in improving people’s everyday lives. For example, last year’s illumination of Maka al-Mukarama Road with solar-powered streetlights immediately brought greater public safety at night and an upsurge of economic activity to one of the main arteries of Mogadishu. Previously feared for its roadside bombs that were planted overnight on the unlit rubbish-strewn pavement, Maka is now lined with roadside cafes that are bustling until long after dark. In Balad town, just north of Mogadishu, the recent refurbishment of the main road and bridge not only provided temporary jobs for several hundred local construction workers, but it also eased commerce and transit of goods between Mogadishu and Middle Shabelle and the Hiraan regions.
But stabilisation cannot be brought about with bricks and mortar alone. It essentially builds on improved safety and security for Somalis at the community level. The removal of land mines and explosives, community policing, and the establishment of district peace and security committees are equally important measures. The establishment of legitimate and trusted local civil authorities through a transparent and consultative process is another priority for the Government – not least in order to lay the groundwork for longer-term reconciliation and for the re-building of Somalia. But stabilisation crucially also includes the provision of essential social services such as health and education. The plan by Mariam Qasim, the Minister for Human Development and Public Services, to enroll one million children and youth in the course of the upcoming school year, is as ambitious as it is critical to give teenagers an alternative to joining militias or pirate gangs.
Stabilisation requires a coherent policy that sets out the Government’s priorities and that enables international partners to align their support accordingly. The Government is currently working to develop a national stabilization plan, starting with a focus on needs of local populations and building on what has already been achieved in areas that have emerged from Al-Shabaab’s control.
There is also great international goodwill towards the Somali Federal Government in its stabilisation efforts. A number of donors are already funding initiatives in Somalia that promote stability. UNPOS and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office are currently supporting the Office of the Prime Minister in collecting this crucial information from UN and international partners and from the Somali population. This will empower the Government to take the lead in planning and coordinating stabilization efforts. 2013 is a crucial year for the Federal Government to show the Somalis that it is committed to improving their lives, step by step. With all these changes taking place in Somalia as the nation enters an era of transformation, a new expanded political mission would replace UNPOS in the coming months, we will continue to walk alongside the Somali people on their path to stabilising their country.
By Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga - the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia.
Mogadishu, 8 March 2013 - International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, is a global day held on 8 March every year to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women throughout history and across nations.
This year the United Nations is calling for action to end violence against women and girls, using concerts, seminars and song releases to raise awareness. Violence against women is universal, and is prevalent in all countries and all settings. The IWD aims to create institutional awareness and assist nations worldwide to eliminate discrimination against women and focuses on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development.
This year we celebrate great strides in empowering Somali women, particularly following the selection of 35 female legislators in the nation’s new Parliament (15% of the allocated quota). At the same time, we must not forget those women who remain powerless in Somalia and those who are subjected to violence and discrimination. Violence against women is still a reality in Somalia; it is imperative that all allegations of sexual violence and violence against women are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice.
Women, traditionally marginalised in Somalia, are a tremendous source of energy, creativity, determination and courage. Preventing women from fully enjoying their political and civil rights is a serious discrimination and a violation of their rights. The fact that women still continue to suffer in Somalia and have restricted access to decision making process is not only a violation of human rights but also a lost opportunity for them as partners in developing Somalia. Somali women have clearly demonstrated their potential in participating, resolving conflict, building and bringing prosperity to the nation. This natural resource must be fully tapped in the new Somalia.
It is a new era in Somali politics. There is now a chance for the women of Somalia to make their mark and influence the rehabilitation and transformation of their nation. As the Government undertakes a review of the Provisional Constitution, there is another golden opportunity to increase the female profile by fulfilling the commitment of a 30% quota of women’s representation in Parliament to enable them to participate in state-building and representation in political institutions. With this, I wish to congratulate all Somali women and girls for their tireless efforts and wish them a peaceful and fruitful International Women’s Day.
By Dr Augustine P Mahiga - the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia.
On February 5, 2013, a court in Mogadishu handed down a one year imprisonment sentence to a Somali journalist and a woman he had interviewed who claimed she had been raped by members of the Somali security forces.
The case itself is most troubling on many levels. Human rights and women’s groups, international legal organisations, media outlets and the donor community at large pointed to a number of irregularities including lengthy pre-trial detention without charge, gaps in access to legal assistance even during interrogation and reliance on Sharia law for sentencing but not for charging the suspects. Monitoring groups also suggested that the trial judge rejected hearing the evidence of three witnesses who were due to testify for the defence of the journalist. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said the trial was an attack on press freedom in the country and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement stating that the sentence risked seriously undermining the fight against sexual violence.
The UN Secretary-General was among the first leaders of the international community to express his deep disappointment over the one-year sentences handed down in Mogadishu. He also expressed the organisation’s alarm over reports of pervasive sexual violence in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in and around Mogadishu, saying “These crimes are under reported because of risks to victims, witnesses and family members, as well as of intense stigmatisation. It takes extraordinary courage for survivors to come forward.”
“Somalia is emerging from a long and difficult period of instability, with representative institutions and a new government that has made a commendable commitment to uphold human right and the rule of law for all. This journey must begin with a solid foundation based on respect for human rights, freedom of expression and fair judicial process,” said the UN Secretary-General in his statement on the trial and sentencing.
The Somali government has also reacted. A human rights task force has been established to investigate human rights abuses in the last 12 months and the Somali Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, has publically reiterated the Somali government’s commitment to upholding human rights and freedom of expression, reiterated the government’s support for press freedom and stressed his commitment to security sector reform. The Prime Minister and President Hassan Sheikh Mahamoud also pointed out the criticality of an effective, independent, transparent and well-resourced judiciary.
These are all positive signs, but a first step is to ensure that all allegations of sexual violence are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice. Likewise, freedom of expression is a keystone of a democratic state and as Somalia continues its journey towards democratic elections in the next four years, it will be critical to ensure that Somalis can voice their opinion without fear of reprisals. Somalia has made remarkable progress in a short period of time and the UN Political Office remains committed to working with the government of Somalia to strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights, even as we work to facilitate the strengthening of the security sector and promote accountable and transparent governance and promote the dignity of the Somali people. Somalia’s long suffering people deserve nothing less.
By Colonel Stuart Roberts - Outgoing Chief of the Joint Security Committee Secretariat and Principal Military Advisor to SRSG, UNPOS
When I arrived in the mission in October 2011, Al-Shabaab had only recently announced a so-called ‘tactical withdrawal’ from Mogadishu and the Somali Government had embarked on the Roadmap to ‘End the Transition’ which had been negotiated a few months earlier in Kampala.
Despite, Al-Shabaab’s withdrawal, AMISOM was still locked into operations in Mogadishu and routinely engaged in some bloody encounters with Al-Shabaab. At the same time, many observers suggested that the Transitional Federal Government had little reach beyond the capital, Mogadishu, if not beyond the walls of Villa Somalia. UNPOS was attempting to deliver the Roadmap To End The Transition - hugely ambitious and, to many, an undeliverable plan.
Following detailed planning and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2036, AMISOM has now almost doubled in size and is operating throughout South-Central Somalia making significant territorial gains. Afgoye, Marka, Afmadow, Kismayo, Jowhar have all ‘fallen’ and other key regional towns such as Baidoa and Beledweyne are under the control of AMISOM and Somali forces and their allies. While it is still far too soon to dismiss as a credible threat, the insurgents capability and influence are on the wane.
These military gains provided the space for improved security sector reform and allowed UNPOS’ Security Sector Development Office to begin genuinely supporting the Somali authorities in rebuilding and strengthening their security institutions. Over the past year, and through the auspices of the Joint Security Committee and its subordinate technical working groups, there has been significant training provided to both the police and army. Key equipment has been delivered, enhancing the capability of both forces. Stipend payments have been paid and secured for the immediate future. Force restructuring has taken place and infrastructure has been improved.
Importantly, with the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, the selection of Parliament , the appointment of the President, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet we have seen the end of the transitional period, coupled with the military gains we have, I think, set the conditions for success. And driving through Mogadishu these days there is a real sense of optimism: there is rapid rehabilitation and occupation of buildings which were derelicts when I first visited in October 2011. Businesses are opening up and people are on the streets going about their lives with a sense of purpose. While risks do still exist, this would not have been possible without the improved security environment.
There is a similar sense of optimism outside of the capital with local authorities looking towards the future. But there is still a long way to go - an incredibly long way to go. It will require vision and commitment which the current Government is clearly starting to actively demonstrate. But such vision and commitment will need to be supported by detailed and strategic planning, beyond Somalia’s immediate needs. It will require the capacity of the Somali institutions to be built rapidly and supported by the sustained commitment of the International Community.
Looking back on the past 16 months, it’s been an interesting time and hugely historic and what has been achieved in a relatively short period of time has, I believe, exceeded many people’s expectations. remain hugely optimistic for the future and, as I leave the mission, will follow Somalia with interest.
By Peter de Clercq - Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia
I just returned from a highly inspiring mission to my home country, the Netherlands. In addition to meeting with the Dutch Parliament, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense and a Foreign Affairs think tank, I had the privilege to meet with the Somali diaspora. The latter turned out to be a group of highly talented and educated Dutch Somalis (or Somali Dutchmen) people both young and old who, in spite of being separated from their beloved original home country (or never even having set foot there) were strongly engaged with what was happening in Somalia.
Some 30 of them had braved the Dutch cold weather to meet with me and share their thoughts on the “new Somalia”. I explained to them that I had brought a simple message to the Netherlands’ authorities: without underestimating the challenges ahead, Somalia now has a once in a lifetime opportunity to shed its image as the archetypal proverbial “failed state” and move towards becoming a viable and functioning stable country once again. This was completely echoed by all those I met with and I met no cynicism or doubt as to the feasibility of the new direction the country has taken. We agreed that this positive spirit and eagerness, particularly of the young generation of Somalis abroad should be harnessed.
I encouraged the Dutch diaspora to team up with Somali diaspora all over the world and make a proposal on how they could best contribute to the recovery process. I must say that I was challenged to argue in Dutch with young Somalis who spoke the language better than I could, having been abroad now for 28 years, but then again my Somali is even worse than my Dutch. But my countrymen and I had one thing in common: a belief that the time to engage is now and not doing so would constitute us collectively missing the best opportunity to fulfill the legitimate hope of the Somali people.
By Leonardo Hoy Carrasco, Associate Hostage Release and Repatriation Officer - UNPOS
“It was truly like being born again. We had given up hope and suddenly we were brought back to life,” one of the surviving crew members of the MV ICEBERG 1 said as he was released on his birthday after being held hostage for over 1000 days by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
After almost three years in captivity, the hostages of the ship were set free in December 2012 and the UNPOS Counter Piracy Unit arranged for the repatriation of the crew members and flew to Bossaso on 30 December to receive them.
For two years and nine months the 22 surviving hostages endured terrible treatment. Part of the crew had just joined the vessel two days prior to the hijacking, not knowing they would remain there for almost three years under miserable conditions. The crew was tortured and beaten on a regular basis. At times they had to resort to drinking salt water in order to survive and they were forced to work in life threatening conditions. One crew members had his ears cut off, another lost vision in one eye due to ruthless beatings and all had to endure the death of one of their fellow crew members and the disappearance of another.
While preparing medical aid for the repatriation flight, I asked myself: What state would a human being be in after surviving these atrocities for so long? I was astonished to see the answer. All hostages were strong and ready to go home. They were smiling and thanking the people who had released them; quiet at times but determined and forward looking. The strength, determination and perseverance of the crew of the MV ICEBERG 1 was a truly remarkable example of what human beings can overcome.
After an emotional goodbye with the Puntland Maritime Police Force, which had freed the hostages from captivity, everyone boarded a plane headed for Nairobi.
As Kenyan immigration rules require, we landed in Wajir on the border between Somalia and Kenya to go through procedures. I was slightly nervous as the crew members of many different nationalities were travelling on emergency travel documents and there was not much time to get everyone through before the next plane departed for Nairobi.
Thankfully, clearing papers and visas went smoothly. The Kenyan immigration authorities were helpful and sympathetic after hearing the crew’s story. But a problem arose: The security officers found bullet fragments on one of the crew members and were not happy. Seeing this reaction another crew member asked if having bullets is a problem, because he had six with him. The crew members quickly realise that having bullets in an airport is a security breach. They explained that the bullets and fragments had been shot at them in exchanges of fire throughout their time in captivity, some of them wounding them and stopping short of killing them.
After a brief discussion with security officers, we are allowed to board our plane, provided that the bullets were left behind. In the final hours of the flight to Nairobi the crew members seemed happy, sharing some of their experiences. But they also were somewhat anxious. For almost three years they had been each other’s family and helped each other stay alive and sane through the nightmare they all endured. Only they know and fully understand what these three years had been like and in an hour’s time they would be parting company – perhaps never to see each other again. But they were re-joining society and their families after such a long time.
I had asked the diplomatic representations to arrange repatriation flights as soon as possible both because the crew of course wanted to go home immediately, but also because I believed that getting home before the start of new year would allow them to start fresh with their families and hope for a better future.
Once we landed in Nairobi, we handed the released hostages over to the care of their government representatives. They thanked us for our help, and I thanked them for the privilege of being part of bringing an end to their terrible story and for teaching me about human strength. They hugged each other and said goodbye.
Watch video of hostages following their release: http://vimeo.com/56538458
See photos of hostages released: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unpos/sets/72157632694518776/
By Hasmik Egian, Chief of Staff - United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS)
January 24th, 2013
No amount of hearing and reading about the “paradigm shift” in Somalia, could have prepared me for the incredible reality of the change that unfolded in front of my eyes as we were driven last week from southern to northern Mogadishu to witness the transformation of the city. These were my first sightings of life outside the “UN wire”.
The skeleton symbols of the past war were everywhere, standing next to the newly rising constructions of residential houses, shopping centres, small businesses, restaurants and cafes, new streets being built and old ones cleared of debris.
As I continued the journey with my UN colleagues, we saw what real change meant in Mogadishu. It was an eye opener to see how the bullet-ridden city has changed for the better. It was also confirmation that the successful end of the transition in August 2012, leading to the establishment of Federal Government, is truly benefiting the country. In the past, the streets of Mogadishu had been deserted, but as we drove we saw a vibrant residential area around Lido Beach, the ghosts of once elegant villas and former embassies, juxtaposed with the ever-present tented IDP camps. Still, it was all reminiscent of a place that must have been beautiful once.
The lighthouse near the fish market, was picture-perfect, with fishing boats floating in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, while holed-out edifices of Ottoman and Italian architecture line the road close to the market area. We witnessed a stunning beachfront of cafes and restaurants serving delicious fresh juices and an array of hot drinks - from traditional tea to cappuccinos, as well as an assortment of local dishes, with families enjoying a peaceful afternoon of togetherness. Had it not been for the armed guards on the beach, it would have been a perfect place of peace and harmony in any other part of the world. Even more surprising was to see a group of young boys and girls playing football on the beach, full of laughter.
Amidst all the destruction, there was so much vibrancy, life and hope … no one would have believed that this would have been possible a year ago in a city/country which had become the quintessential “failed state”. It was a place where hope was the last thing on people’s minds and yet, there it was hope being materialised right in front of our eyes. Seeing “inside” Mogadishu and “feeling” the vibrancy was also a reminder of the great strides made by the Somalis, with support from the international community, including UNPOS, in bringing about a successful political transition which has helped, in turn, to herald these changes on the streets of Mogadishu.
Now that Somalia has a new President, Prime Minister and Parliament, there is a new sense of hope, hope that is paving the way to a brighter future for the people of Somalia.
See scenes of change in Mogadishu on the UNPOS FLICKR site: http://bit.ly/Won9rF and on @UNPOSomalia.
From Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia Augustine P. Mahiga
We have come to the end of an historic year for Somalia, for the region and for the rest of the international community. On 10 September 2012 a new Somali Parliament, sitting in Mogadishu, elected a President—the first such democratic exercise in over twenty years. Holding such an election in the Somali capital would have been unthinkable just months before, and it sent an unambiguous signal to Somalis, to the region and to the international community that the winds of change were blowing. In Mogadishu, the sound of gunfire and explosions has been replaced with the noise of construction and the hum of commerce. Flights into the city are booked solid months in advance. New restaurants and hotels open every day and the city’s building boom produces frequent concrete shortages. Fresh produce from the countryside and fish from the ocean spill from the city’s bustling markets and scores of Somalis from the diaspora return to Mogadishu each day. Similar stories are being played out in other cities recently recovered from the insurgents. Hope and progress have returned to Somalia.
After several failed attempts to end of the Transition in Somalia, we succeeded this past year because the process was inclusive, transparent, legitimate, participatory and Somalia-owned. This underpinned the integrity of the change process, which was enabled on the security front by the determined efforts of the Somali National Forces and the AU Peacekeeping Mission (AMISOM). Throughout this remarkable year, the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other international partners worked together to overcome challenges as they arose. Above all, it was the desire of the Somali people for peace and change that moved the process forward. Patience and persistence pays.
In August 2012 we celebrated the first anniversary since Al-Shabaab was forced out of Mogadishu. This followed a watershed moment in Somalia’s political history when the Signatories to the Roadmap and leaders of all major clans selected a Council of traditional elders who in turn selected delegates from a broad cross-section of Somali Society; to a National Constituent Assembly (NCA) that adopted a Provisional Constitution. The provisional constitution will eventually be ratified through a referendum and it will serve as the supreme law of the country and constitutionally guarantee the rights and freedoms of the Somali people while maintaining a system of checks and balances between the different branches of government.
The Council of Elders also proposed names representing all of Somalia’s clans to comprise a new Federal Parliament. After a painstaking vetting exercise by a Technical Selection Committee the hard work paid off and on 20 August the most competent and qualified Parliament in Somalia’s history was selected and seated. A new speaker of Parliament was chosen on 28 August, paving the way for the election by Parliament of a President. On 10 September the new Parliament overwhelmingly and transparently voted for change, replacing the incumbent, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in a globally acclaimed moment that was witnessed on live radio, TV and Internet broadcast, by Somalis all over the world as it unfolded.
And progress continued. On 17 October the President selected Abdi Farah Shirdon as Somalia’s new Prime Minister. After extensive consultations, Prime Minister Shirdon submitted names to comprise a streamlined Council of Ministers, representing both all clans and a cross section of political interests. The slate was overwhelmingly ratified by Parliament on 13 November, officially ending the eight-year long Transition and ushering in a new era for Somalia.
The end of transition provided an opportunity for unprecedented female participation in Somali politics and dramatically advanced the cause of gender equality in Somalia. In February Principals of the Roadmap endorsed a requirement that women hold a minimum 30 per cent of the positions in the National Constituency Assembly and the New Federal Parliament. Of the 825 members of the NCA, 24% were women. The New Federal Parliament and the New Cabinet have 14 and 20 per cent respectively and for the first time, a woman has been appointed to the position of Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs. This bold and progressive decision has opened the gates for women’s empowerment in the years to come and sets the stage for more gender parity in leadership roles.
In the security and justice sector, UNPOS continued to coordinate international donor support through the auspices of the Joint Security Committee (JSC) with its subordinate technical working groups, covering the military, police, justice and corrections, as well as Maritime Security and Counter-Piracy. Human rights violations, including wide spread targeted killings of journalists and endemic sexual violence remain a concern, however, important and tangible steps were taken to recognize the importance of human rights and justice in the context of the political transition. These fundamental values were eloquently underscored by President Hassan Sheikh in his inaugural statement. UNPOS supported the development of the justice system through training of judges and lawyers, technical cooperation on policies and legislation and to promote human rights in the military justice system.
Throughout this momentous year, UNPOS walked side by side with the people of Somalia. The country now has a new committed government and we will continue to work with its partners to consolidate international assistance and coordinate activities in order to assist the government to deliver on its priorities of: Full stabilization – supremacy of the law and good governance; Economic recovery – livelihoods and economic infrastructure; Peacebuilding – social reconciliation through building bridges of trust; Service delivery – health, education and environment; International relations – building collaborative relations and polishing the national image and; Unity and Integrity of the country – striving together for a better future.
However, the road to stabilization will not be easy. Somalia remains a state in need of support from international community, which will need to re-invest comprehensively and generously if it is to capitalize on its massive investment of time and resources. At the beginning of the year, my office and half of its staff relocated to Somalia and continued to work alongside key Somali partners in a variety of sectors. UNPOS closely cooperated with key regional interlocutors to ensure a unified and coordinated approach on important political issues. A joint framework was established between The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the UN and the African Union (AU) ensuring close collaboration on issues affecting the Somali peace process. This harmonized international and regional response to challenges within Somalia played a critical role in enabling the international community to speak with one voice in support of the process. The center of gravity has shifted to Mogadishu, and UNPOS completing a major strategic review to ensure full alignment of its policies and programs with the goals and aims of the new government. The mission is also increasing staff presence there by 100% in the coming weeks and I urge other members of the international community to come to Mogadishu. For the first time in a generation, a safe, secure and prosperous Somalia at peace with itself and its neighbors seems more like a reasonable aspiration than a distant dream. We will work with our Somali brothers and sisters to harness this unique opportunity to transform Somalia. I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year—a new year that dawns brightly and full of promise and hope.
By Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Peter de Clercq
06 December 2012
Following the euphoria surrounding the end of the Roadmap process and the creation of a new and credible government in Somalia, the United Nations has just completed a “Strategic Review” that aims to create a new architecture that will enable the World Body to respond to the changing realities in Somalia. Simultaneously, the African Union is undertaking a review of its own, to align AMISOM with the evolving situation on the ground. The two reviews will be closely coordinated and discussions between the senior management of the two entities, in which I participated over the past few weeks, have been highly constructive.
Some of the key challenges for which the Government is seeking UN and AU support include: Security, Rule of Law, Rebuilding a credible judiciary, Decentralisation and local/regional administrations as well as comprehensive capacity building of Somali Institutions (including the Somali National Army and Police Forces). The UN has committed to align itself along the “six pillars” plan announced by the President. The new mission will concentrate on State- and Peace Building. This will mean a new way of engaging with the Somali authorities, leaving behind us an era when we dealt with Somalia as the archetypical “Failed State”. As the President told the UN Review Mission: “If you don’t start treating us as a viable State, we will never become one”.
The new shape of the UN Mission for Somalia will ultimately be decided by UN Principals in New York after receiving the review report and after their recommendations find their way into a Security Council Resolution early next year. Close consultations have taken place with the African Union to ensure complementarities and avoid overlap between the two Organisations.
One clear feature of the new presence of the UN will be the immediate move of senior management from Nairobi into Somalia. The UN will also reinforce its presence (including political presence) in the regions. Most importantly, however, is that the UN will heed the President’s call to “come out of the bunker” and adjust its security management in a way that allows for much more intensive interaction with the government and civil society and reducing its dependence on highly visible security convoys.
No one denies that the road ahead will be complex, arduous and long. But the International Community — including the donors— are convinced that we cannot afford to miss the best opportunity in decades to help set Somalia back on track. The ambitions of the new administration match the challenges ahead, and they are well aware of the risk that all gains are reversible. What they ask for is space to think through and implement the new strategy laid out by the President in his “six pillars.” The President himself has admitted that “mistakes may be made” in the process, but that this is a normal part of the growing pains of a new administration. Peace building is a complex business, but not giving this important initiative a chance brings even bigger risks.
DSRSG Peter de Clercq addresses staff in Mogadishu during the Strategic Review Mission. Photo Credit UNPOS PIU
by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga
Mogadishu, 15 November 2012
A few days ago, an important meeting was held in Villa Somalia. This time the guests were not high profile visitors and VIPs from across the world. It was a group of representatives of Somali journalists who were called by President Hassan Sheikh to discuss a burning issue with him in an open, consultative manner. What the Somali Government announced after this meeting is very significant; President Hassan Sheikh called on Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon to urgently set up a Task Force to thoroughly investigate all cases involving the killing of Somali journalists with a view to bring those responsible to justice. This is a great step forward in ending this cycle of unacceptable violence.
Over the past two years, Mogadishu has been a symbol of progress and development. The sound of guns has been replaced by the sound of hammers. Notwithstanding the improved security situation in the capital and the boom in business — including within the media industry — there were still reminders of the violent past. The systematic attack against journalists was one of the cruelest.
In this year alone, 18 Somali journalists were killed as a result of targeted attacks all over the country, the majority in Mogadishu. All the killings had something in common: seeming impunity for the perpetrators. Although a few arrests were made by the authorities, they seemingly never led to conviction and punishment. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are still at large. I have visited wounded journalists in the hospital and I have listened to their concerns. Fear and insecurity was growing in the media community. Some of them were fleeing the country but the majority have stayed and continued to perform their profession undeterred.
I have consistently spoken out on this issue, in condemning these attacks, and offering my office’s help in support of the Somali authorities. My frustration only grew as the number of attacks increased and the perpetrators enjoyed complete impunity. Recently, I had an opportunity to share my concerns with President Hassan Sheikh. He was most responsive and demonstrated a profound incisive understanding of this serious problem. And now he has taken the first step.
Freedom of speech provides the basis for the creation of a democratic society. Every attack against the media is an attack against transparent governance. The armed opposition in Somalia thrives on targeting journalists to inspire fear and generate publicity.
This is why the President’s decision is so important. It represents a major initiative that all of us in the international community have to support. It is time to move away from words and take decisive action.
Somali journalists killed in 2012:
Hassan Osman Abdi ‘Fantastic’, Abukar Mohamed Kadaf, Ali Ahmed Abdi, Mahad Salad Adan ‘Jarmal’, Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, Ahmed Addow Anshur, Abdi Malaq Jeylani ‘Marshale’, Yusuf Ali Osman, Mohamoud Ali Yare ‘Buneyste’, Liibaan Ali Nor, Abdisatar Dahir Sabriye, Abdirahman Yasin Ali, Hassan Yusuf Absuge, Abdirahman Mohamed Ali, Ahmed Abdullahi Fanah, Ahmed Saakin Farah Ilyas, Mohamed Mohamud Tuuryare, Warsame Shire Awale.
Sunday, 4 November - Two hostages from the Seychelles were released today from captivity after strenuous efforts by the Seychelles Government for over a year. The two hostages, Rony Tambara and Marc Songoire, were captured on 30th October 2011 when their fishing vessel FV Aride ship was attacked by Somali pirates 65 miles west of the Seychelles. The Hostage Relief Programme run by UNPOS and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assisted the Seychelles Government with links on the ground. While we welcome with relief the release of the two Seychelles nationals, our thoughts remain with the 147 crew still held on ships and the 41 other victims held on land. The Hostage Relief Programme will continue its efforts in providing its specialised knowledge and expertise on Somalia to help bring people home when it’s possible and put an end on the ordeal endured by the victims of piracy.
23 October 2012 - Over the last two weeks we have seen the release of two ships held by Somali pirates [one for over two years]. For the crews and their families a terrible ordeal has ended. Somali pirates continue to this date to hold five ships and four Dhows and 112 crews at sea.
However, this story is not a happy ending as it masks a hidden tragedy that is often untold and ignored not just by the world at large but even by employers of crews kidnapped. The fact is that there remains, as well as the ships mentioned above and their crews an almost unknown group of crewman whose ship has sunk or the ransom paid and part of the crew retained by pirates for further ransom. A case in point is the recently released MV Orna captured in December 2010. After nearly two years in captivity the ship owner negotiated a ransom for the ship which was released last Friday but with only 13 of the crew on board. The other six (Syria and Sri Lanka nationals) have been taken ashore by pirate groups to extract further ransom as the amount paid by the owner was insufficient.
There are 29 hostages currently held by pirate groups on shore in Somalia enduring the most horrendous conditions and often tortured and threatened over the phone or on video in an effort to extract a ransom often from a ship owner whose ship has already been ransomed or sunk. The incentive for ship owners is often low in these cases and in one instance the ship owner has gone broke and is out of business, as a result the ransom negotiations were left to families, friends and well wishers. UNPOS through its new Hostage Release program attempts to track these hostages and when and if released, recover them and safely return them home to their families. However, the UN does not engage in the negotiation of ransoms. We should also not forget a further 13 other hostages taken by Al Shabaab and held by them or pirate groups who endure similar if not more severe trauma as a ransom is not necessarily the objective.
Somali piracy remains at a low level currently and this is because the Industry Best Management Practice is being observed including the provision of armed guards on ships together with increased naval action at sea by European Union Naval Force, NATO, Combined Maritime Forces and others. But the lull is also due to an extended monsoon season, which has now ended. Again, we are seeing attacks beginning, so far without success.
As everyone involved in Somalia knows the solution to piracy lies on the land. The UN and other partners now seek to assist the new government in Mogadishu and regional states with capacity to fight this problem themselves so that pirates never get to the sea. Somalia has a rich maritime environment, which if properly managed and protected will become a major income generator to the economy as it recovers. To do this a maritime strategy is required with a proper legal framework of laws and treaties (including the difficult issue of an Exclusive Economic Zone), with a maritime law enforcement capability at national and regional level and capacity to Somali ministries so that they can manage the maritime environment for the benefit of all Somalia. In this way piracy, illegal fishing, toxic waste dumping and other crimes from the sea will be eliminated. But this must be a Somali owned process. The UN and the international community provide assistance support and knowledge to make it happen.
22 October 2012
Over the past few weeks the people of Somalia’s southern port city of Kismayo have witnessed the story of profound transformation, following the capture of the local seaport, airport and other key installations by the Somali National Army with support from AMISOM troops.
A former stronghold of the extremist insurgents, Kismayo has for years been robbed of its potential wealth to fund Al-Shabaab, but the new reality means that people in the city have a chance to start re-building Kismayo into a prosperous place once again.
President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud is consulting local stakeholders on the formation of a local administration in Kismayo, to create a governing representative body to secure the area. Co-operation with regional actors and the African Union in this regard is in full swing. It is now imperative that a power vacuum is avoided in order to ensure the continuation of a peaceful transformation and to facilitate access for humanitarian and recovery actors.
The recent appointment of Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and the impending formation of a Somali cabinet will help accelerate plans for security improvement to prevent chaos from re-emerging and work towards creating a nation free of violence.
With Kismayo, one of the most strategic cities in Somalia, now out of the hands of insurgents, time is of the essence. Authorities in Mogadishu must move quickly to establish local and district administrations and rule of law in order to ensure stability in this key city.
Residents of Kismayo watch as a convoy of the Kenyan Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) makes its way through the city’s streets. AU-UN IST PHOTO/STUART PRICE - 2 October 2012
4 October 2012
When I look back at the year that has passed, I feel really energized as it has been a very prolific year in Somalia.
I joined UNPOS in December 2010 as the Senior Constitution Adviser and at that time the Consultative Draft Constitution (CDC) was only just published. This was a milestone but it still had many gaps on key issues and it seemed difficult to gain the political support required to make progress on filling those gaps. The process seemed stuck.
The Kampala Accord was signed and paved the way for the Principals, the Somali stakeholders and the International Community including the regional states to unite around the Road Map to End the Transition. The finalization of the constitution was a central pillar to the Road Map.
Despite initial skepticism, the Somali stakeholders with the support of the international community threw their energies into this process and through a series of political consultations (in Garowe, Galkayo, Addis Ababa and Nairobi) and experts’ inputs, the Draft Provisional Constitution was shaped and submitted for provisional adoption by the National Constitution Assembly (NCA) in August 2012.
I met active young women and men in civil society, returning members of the Diaspora who became a part of this process, as members of these various committees, as part of the NCA and the NFP and as contributors of ideas.
I remember at the Garowe II meeting there was a tense moment during the discussions where people had polarizing views. An old Somali woman shouted out that women had been shut out for too long and wanted to be part of the political process. She described the sufferings of the women and she then broke out into song and all those present joined in. It was clearly a song that resonated of a happier era and it created a moment where people came together and the tension eased. It was also at Garowe that the commitment was made to provide a baseline representation for women of 30%. This was a defining moment.
At the NCA session where poets were reading out the constitution to members, discussions took place in committees and there was overwhelming support for the provisional adoption of the constitution. Even the unfortunate suicide bombing did not detract the NCA from its task. There is now a Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia and until a referendum is held, there is the opportunity to implement it and to improve it and review it through broader consultations.
One of my most enduring memories was observing the swearing in of the New Federal Parliament at the Mogadishu International Airport. The Somalis were totally committed to meeting the symbolic deadline for the end of transition (20 August). It was an open-air ceremony and half way through the proceedings the members broke for prayers, worshiped and the ceremony resumed. As the evening grew darker, the lights of the AMISOM and UN vehicles illuminated the site. It ended as peacefully as it began. It was a most serene evening.
*Experts from the Independent Federal Constitution Commission, Committee of Experts, Technical Harmonization Committee and Technical Review committee contributed to the finalization of the Constitution
Mogadishu, 21 September 2012
Today the world observes the international day of peace, established for the first time in 1981 by the General Assembly and observed since 2011 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. Peace has been a long time coming in Somalia. It is still fragile and with a lot of enemies.
However, the recent achievements in the political process give one clear message to all of us; that Somalis have embraced change and are longing for long-term peace and stability. The situation is still tenuous and unfortunately many individuals and groups would like to see the country pushed back into chaos and violence. Sometimes they demonstrate it in the most atrocious ways, as it happened yesterday with the deadly suicide bomb attacks on a popular restaurant in Mogadishu that claimed so many innocent lives. Today we remember the victims of this attack as well as all that lost their lives during the 20 years of Civil War and those who have survived and deal with their trauma every day.
Over recent months the Somali people have taken great steps towards peace and stability in their country and demonstrated to the world that they are determined to move forward. With a new constitution, federal parliament and president the people of Somalia are now more ready than ever before.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”. Our duty is to support the Somalis in building a system based on institutions instead of individuals that can ensure sustainable peace for a sustainable future. Let us all observe one-minute of silence for those who lost their lives in the quest for peace and for a brighter future for Somalia.
Mogadishu, 16 September 2012
The SRSG for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, congratulates His Excellency President Hassan Sheikh on the occasion of his inauguration as President of Somalia.
“This is another great day for Somalia and the Somali people. Today in Mogadishu I was honored to bear witness as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was inaugurated as his country’s President. This marks the end of the transitional period and the beginning of a new era for Somalia. The change that was envisioned in the Roadmap on Ending the Transition has arrived. The process was transparent, representative and Somali-owned and led,” said SRSG Mahiga.
“As the process moves forward,” Dr. Mahiga stated, “the UN Political Office for Somalia will continue to stand with the President in addressing key immediate tasks including stabilization of newly recovered areas, ensuring the integration and stability of the security services, delivering basic services to the Somali people and building a viable judiciary system.”
SRSG Mahiga’s statement on today’s attack on the Jazeera Hotel in which President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was giving a press conference.
Mogadishu, 11 September 2012 - This morning, SRSG Mahiga and I met with the new President of Somalia H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
I had the good fortune, on election day, to meet with all the Presidential Candidates and he certainly stood out. He came across as a highly modest but determined man, and that image was reinforced when we met again today. He has a firm grasp of the issues confronting him, but he seems undaunted by the challenges. He stressed the need to ensure the cohesion of the security forces at this critical juncture and interestingly, he highlighted the need to focus on the basic issues that impact the day-to-day lives of Somalis—the practical matters that put food on their plates and basic services in their lives. President Hassan Sheikh considers this important at this early stage rather than embarking on the immediate on large-scale and complex development programmes. He also stressed the importance of replacing the prevalent clan dynamics by true national and forward-looking politics. The fact that his vision is derived from a political party programme, rather than clan support, is also a positive sign of progress and hope.
Yesterday was a day of change. We are all filled with the hope that, finally, we have crossed a point of no return. That we are moving away from corruption, clan-based violence and opaque political machinations. That we are moving towards accountability and transparency. The new man in the high seat has a vision of a new Somalia and symbolizes the best chance we have had for two generations to put the country back on track. I am proud to be a part of this process.
SRSG Augustine Mahiga
Mogadishu, 10 September 2012
Read the full statement on the UNPOS website
SRSG Augustine Mahiga
Mogadishu, 10 September 2012
- Watch live video stream of of Somalia’s Presidential elections
- Listen to the live radio broadcast of Somalia’s Presidential elections, in Somali, on Radio Bar Kulan.
- Follow additional coverage of Somalia’s Presidential elections, including live coverage, images, video clips and interviews, on Dastuurkeena.
Wakiilka gaarka ah ee xoghaya guud Augustine Mahiga
Muqdisho, bisha sagaalaad 2012
Waxaa jirta neecaw iyo farxad iyo raynrayn anagoo galayna mid ka mid ah maalmaha ugu qiimaha badan ee taariikhda siyaasadda Soomaaliya. Inkastoo ay jiraan caqabado badan oo hortaagan waddada dhammeynta xilliga ku-meelgaarka, waxaa wax aad loogu farxo ah in kuwo badan oo ka mid ah dadka ugu aqoonta fiican ee dalka ay ka midyihiin laanta sharcidejinta ee dowladda Soomaaliya.
Ku dhowaad boqolkiiba 60 ee Xubnaha Baarlamaanku waxay haystaan shahaado jaamacadeed. Guddoomiyaha Baarlamaanka, Professor Maxamed Cusmaan Jawaari, waa qareen guulo farabadan ka soo hooyay waxbarashada wuxuuna si wanaagsan ugu hadlaa shan luqadood oo kala ah: Af Soomaali, Af Carabi, Af Ingiriis, Af Talyaani iyo Af Noorwiijiyaan. Xubin kale oo ka tirsan Baarlamaanka, Md. Axmed Samatar, wuxuu ahaa Profesoorka Diraasaadka Caalamiga ee Kulliyadda Macalester eek u taalla magaalada St. Paul, ee Minnesota. Md. Samatar wuxuu bare jaamacadeed ka soo noqday jaamacado badan oo waaweyn, oo ay ka midyihiin Cornell, Harvard iyo Dugsiga Dhaqaalaha ee London. Xubinta Baarlamaanka, Mw. Caasha Xaaji Cilmi, oo si weyn loogu yaqaano inay u ololeyso nabadda, waxay shahaado Dhaqaalaha ah ka haysataa Jaamacadda Qaranka Soomaaliyeed, iyo weliba Shahaadada Master-ka ee Maamulka Ganacsiga ee ka qaadatay Jaamacadda Maraykanka ee Caalamiga ee Kenya.
Waxaa jira tusaalooyin dhowr ah ee dad aad u qiimo badan oo ka tirsan Baarlamaanka Federaalka cusub oo muujiyay dadaal ay u hureen adeegga dalkooda iyadoo lagu jiro waqtigan xiisaha oo isbedelka leh ee taariikhda Soomaaliya.
Baarlaamkan cusub waxaa ku jira dad kaloo badan oo leh hawlkarnimo, sharaf iyo adkaysi kartina u leh inay dhowrka sanno ee soo socda ku soo saaraan Soomaaliya cusub. Waxqabadkooda oo wadajir ah ayaa keeni doona isbedelka loo baahanyahay. Dadka Soomaaliyeed ka dhursugayaan oo wax badan ka filayaan xildhibaanada Baarlamaanka.
Iyadoo loo dabaaldegay Maalinta Waxqoridda Caalamiga ah, oo halkudhigeedu ahaa “Waxqorid iyo Nabad”, aan ka fikirno wuxuu soo kordhin karo Baarlamaankan cusub ee aadka u aqoonta fiican iyo kaalinta uu ka cayaari karo geeddi-socodka nabadda Soomaaliyeed. Sida ay waxqoriddu uga qaybqaadato nabadda , dadkana ugu soo dhoweyso inay gaaraan xorriyadda shakhsiga una xoojiso in adduunka si wanaagsan loo fahmo, waxay sidoo kale kaalin muhim ah ka cayaartaa ka hortagga iyo xallinta khilaafaadka. Soomaaliya, waxqoridda iyo hanaanka dimuqraadigaba waxay iska kaashanayaan abuuridda asaas adag ee lagu yagleelo nabadda iyo xasilloonida.
Inkastoo ay weli caqabado jiraan, haddana doorashada Madaxweynaha ee Isniinta waa calaamad kale oo wax ku ool ah ee hanaanka Siyaasadda dalka. Sidaa darteed, waxaan xildhibaanada codeynaya ugu baaqayaa inay xaqiijiyaan inay dhowraan mabaadi’da horey loo dejiyay markay xulanayaa musharaxa ugu wanaagsan si uu u noqdo hogaamiyaha ummaddooda.
SRSG Augustine Mahiga
Mogadishu, 9 September 2012
There is an air of excitement as we draw closer to one of the most important dates in the history of Somali politics. Despite the many challenges mleading up to the end of the transitional period, there is great pleasure in knowing that the legislative arm of Somalia’s new goverment sits many of the country’s most highly qualified people.
Approximately 60 percent of the Members of Parliament hold university degrees. The Speaker, Professor Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, is an attorney by trade with numerous educational achievements and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, English, Italian and Norwegian. Another Member of Parliament, Mr. Ahmed Samatar, was the James Wallace Professor of International Studies at Macalester college in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Samatar has lectured at many leading universities including Cornell, Harvard and the London School of Economics. Member of Parliament, Ms. Asha Haji Elmi, a well-known peace activist, holds a degree in Economics from Somalia National University as well as a Master of Business Administration from the United States International University in Kenya.
These are a few examples of the remarkable individuals who comprise the new Somali Parliament and who demonstrate dedication to the service of their country in this exciting and transformative chapter of Somalia’s history.
In this new Parliament, there are many other people of action, integrity and determination; capable of delivering a new Somalia in the next four years. Their collective action will make the needed difference Somali people are expecting from the Parliamentarians.
As International Literacy Day, themed “Literacy and Peace,” was marked, let us reflect on the potential of this new, highly qualified Parliament and its potential to play an invaluable role in the Somali peace process. Just as literacy contributes to peace, bringing people closer to attaining
individual freedoms and fostering better understanding of the world, it also plays a key role in the prevention and resolution of conflict. In Somalia, both literacy and democratic processes go hand in hand to create a solid foundation for peace and stability.
While obstacles remain, Monday’s Presidential election will mark another milestone in the country’s political process, and so I call on legislators who are voting to ensure they uphold the standards already set while selecting the best candidate as the leader for their nation.