Mogadishu, 03 April 2013 – The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, arrived in Mogadishu to raise awareness and discuss ways of addressing sexual violence in Somalia.
SRSG Bangura met with UN officials, civil society partners and a range of stakeholders to listen and learn about the challenges faced in tackling sexual violence. SRSG Bangura’s first trip to Somalia is intended to focus on information gathering to help inform future conversations with the government.
“I decided to make a trip to Somalia because I believe the country is embarking on an important and exciting journey after many years of conflict. I want to offer the support of my office in helping the government achieve its stated goals of building an equitable society in which human rights are respected and communities are free from sexual and gender-based violence,” SRSG Bangura said.
“The government has been engaged in this discussion and has expressed openness to developing a framework of cooperation to address sexual violence,” SRSG Bangura added.
At a press briefing in Mogadishu on Wednesday morning, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict also praised Somali journalists covering the subject, stating that they had an important role to play in raising awareness:
“Journalists who research, write and report these stories are an integral part of achieving this goal. Without a free press to investigate and shine a light on these issues so that people know what a devastating problem this is worldwide, we can never hope to eradicate this scourge”.
SRSG Bangura said a team of experts from her office would be deployed to Somalia in July 2013 to work alongside the Police Commissioner and the military to carry out a needs assessment for training and prosecution and would provide assistance as requested.