News / Africa

UN Denounces 'Privatization' of Violence Against Somali Women

Asha and Muna wait for assistance outside the UNHCR office in Galkayo town. Muna , is sleeping on the floor because she could not withstand the pain in her thigh. She was stabbed by a rapist on Nov. 26 2010.
Asha and Muna wait for assistance outside the UNHCR office in Galkayo town. Muna , is sleeping on the floor because she could not withstand the pain in her thigh. She was stabbed by a rapist on Nov. 26 2010.
TEXT SIZE - +

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo spoke to reporters in Nairobi Friday about her just-concluded mission to Somalia, where she examined the occurrence of gender-based violence there.  

One of the things that struck Manjoo during her 10-day mission was what she called the “privatization” of violence against women and girls in the wider Somali society.

She noted that a lot of attention has been paid to sexual violence occurring within camps for the internally displaced.

UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo
UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo

“But I also know there is rape going on outside the IDP camps in the host communities," Manjoo said. "There might be a culture of silence and denial about it, but it is going on.  Domestic violence is going on.  I think the challenge is, how do we break silence, how do we move away from denial that there is a problem?”

In the rush to publicize the latest political and military machinations of the 20-year-old civil war, Manjoo said most media, agencies, governments and others ignore the lives of women behind closed doors.

For instance, she cited one study that estimates that 98 percent of Somali girls and women undergo female genital mutilation - a cultural practice being increasingly banned across Africa - in the mistaken belief that it is a religious requirement.

Other cultural and traditional beliefs facilitate or even encourage physical, emotional, and sexual violence against women and girls in homes in Somalia and around the world.

But, Manjoo said, in a volatile country where infrastructure and functioning state institutions basically do not exist, finding out the nature and prevalence of different forms of gender-based violence is daunting.

“The Somali government will need data, will need information in terms of its priorities when it comes to laws and policies and programs," she noted. "In the absence of that, how will they develop laws, policies, and programs?  How will they know what they need?”

She added that Somali authorities have taken some measures, such as a draft law against female genital mutilation in the Puntland region, the creation of a task force on gender-based violence by the transitional government, and the appointment of women as ministers and members of parliament.

She said the government and other national and international agencies have a long way to go in assisting women and girls experiencing violence, or even giving them a safe forum in which to express themselves.

Manjoo said the lack of attention being paid to domestic violence, rape, female genital mutilation, and other forms of gender-based violence occurring in homes has lead to impunity, which only perpetuates the problem.

“Let me stress that the current manifestations of violence against women and girls is a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.  Somalia has the opportunity at this crucial time to promote human rights for all, and importantly to place the issue of violence against women on the national agenda,” she said.

Manjoo's Somalia tour ran from December 9 -16 and included consultations with officials from the transitional government, U.N. agencies, international aid groups, African Union peacekeeping troops, and civil society groups.

She is expected to present her findings in a report set to be released in June 2012 to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid