Country Governance

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Skip Navigation LinksPOGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Human Rights: Somalia
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International Conventions

Somalia acceded to four of the seven major United Nations conventions concerned with human rights, namely: the two Covenants on Civil and Political Rights; on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1990), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1975), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1990). Somalia also signed the convention on the Rights of the Child (2002) but did not ratify it. Somalia also acceded to the first optional protocol of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concerning the ability of individuals to file complaints (1990), and signed the optional protocol of the Child Rights Convention concerning the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts (2005), but did not ratify it.

Somalia also has acceded to three of the eight International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions on human rights, namely: the two conventions (29 and 105) on Forced or Compulsory Labour (1990 and 1961 respectively), and convention (111) concerning the Prevention of Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (1961).

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Regional Charters

Somalia has agreed to the "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" issued in 1990 by foreign ministers of Muslim countries. The declaration is a guiding document that does not require ratification. Somalia also acceded to the "Arab Charter of Human Rights/Amended" prepared by the Arab Summit in Tunisia in May 2004, but did not ratify it like most Arab states.

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Human Rights Institutions

Somalia has several types of human rights institutions. At the official level a ministry for gender and family affairs was established in 2004 to advance women's condition. An independent national institution for human rights was also established in the republic of Somalia Land with the assistance of the "sovereignty of law and security program" of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Moreover, a parliamentary committee for human rights was established within the House of Lords of Somalia Land Republic. There are also a few human rights NGOs, such as: Human Rights Network in Somalia Land. Other NGOs work in partnership with international relief organizations and United Nations agencies operating in Somalia, such as, The Somalia Women's Union for Families Reunion" which is an NGO that has been cooperating with UNDP and UN Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1992; and the Human Rights Clinic affiliated with the University of Hergisa. This NGO was established in 2001 with the assistance of UNDP. It trains students and provides free of charge legal services to the needy.
In the context of their efforts to promote a Human Rights strategy, United Nations agencies are working on establishing a network for monitoring and protecting Human Rights in Somalia. The network would consist of UN agencies and Somali Human Rights groups. The main focus would be observing Human Rights violations and defining responses for protecting and enhancing Human Rights.

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Achievements on the Road to Good Governance

1. The project for establishing peace and reconciliation in the provinces was launched in April 2006. Supported by the Italian government and United Nations Development Program, the project aims at enabling local communities to choose their administrations, taking an initiative towards reconciliation at the provincial level, and establishing relief councils in all provinces, starting with BAI district in the middle of Somalia.
2. The prime minister of the transitional federal government decided on December 9, 2006 to allocate a 30% share for women in all governmental institutions. On the same day, the President of Punt Land issued a similar decree allocating 20% of all jobs in governmental institutions to women. Punt Land government immediately began appointing women in existing local councils.
3. Somali Land is currently living in a state of relative peace and it has achieved good progress in the areas of development and reconstruction.

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