News / Africa

UN: Somalia Needs Stronger Judiciary to Fight Sexual Violence

FILE - United Nations special representative for sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura.
FILE - United Nations special representative for sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura.
— Somalia’s new government has to build a stronger and more transparent judicial system in order to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence against women, according to a senior United Nations official.  The call comes as Somali government officials, judges and diplomats deliberate on how to enhance the country’s judiciary.

Speaking in Nairobi Thursday, the United Nations special representative for sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, called on the Somali government to protect and improve security of internally displaced people living in camps in and around Mogadishu.

She said victims of sexual violence need to know they will be safe if they report criminals to the authorities.

“Most important of all is trust in the system," said Bangura. "Once they see they get justice a first example, a second example, a third example, and then they will have faith in the system.”

The government faced international pressure this year following the arrest of a woman who claimed she was raped by soldiers while she was living in a camp in Mogadishu.  A journalist who interviewed her was also arrested.  Both have since been released.

In an 80-page report released last month, Human Rights Watch accused Somali government forces and armed militias of committing widespread abuses against displaced Somalis who have arrived in Mogadishu since 2011 fleeing famine and conflict.

The report said instead of finding a safe haven, many displaced Somalis who came to camps in government-controlled areas have found hostility and abuse.

Bangura says it’s hard to know who is actually abusing these women in the camps since all the civilians, government forces and armed militias live in the same place.

“We have 513 camps, in these camps you have militias living with the people - that’s a big problem," she said. "And then you have military forces and police and everybody else who live in these camps.  Obviously, you never know who is committing the rape.  Because the militias are there, uniforms are literally the same.  People buy them from anywhere.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Somali president opened a conference on judicial reforms, where he called on participants to come up with ways the country can build a full and functioning judicial system that is trusted by all Somalis.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid