Human Rights and development are “centre stage” in Somalia, declares Foreign Minister at Brussels summit

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FowsiyaandAliFaqiThe Somali government is putting human rights and development “centre-stage” of its bold reforming agenda, Her Excellency Fawzia Yusuf H. Adam, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister says today.

Speaking at a high-level EU Development summit in Brussels, the Deputy Prime Minister will give an upbeat assessment of progress during the government’s one year in office. As part of its rights-based approach to development and the war against extremists, the administration was prioritising education and youth employment.

“Make no mistake, education and employment are absolutely critical to wean young Somalis away from extremists. My message today is that they must both be seen as part of the war against Al Shabaab,” the Deputy Prime Minister says.

The government has been working closely with the UN, EU and other international partners to develop a Somali-owned Human Rights Road Map with a new Directorate General for Human and Minority Rights and the Rule of Law. Earlier in the year, the UN’s Independent Human Rights Expert on Somalia Dr. Shamsul Bari, visited Mogadishu and gave the new government a vote of confidence, arguing that “the rule of law and justice were taking root” and that there was “a bright future ahead”.

The worst abuser of human rights in Somalia was Al Shabaab, says the Deputy Prime Minister, the group that Somali religious scholars recently issued a fatwa against. “Their wanton violence, their treatment of women and minorities, their blockade of humanitarian aid to the vulnerable populations, and their opposition to schools and clinics in areas that they control are clear indications that Al Shabaab is a force that must be met with unified international resolve to destroy.”

Summarising the situation in Somalia, the Deputy PM says optimism is “the new buzz word. We are now at an exciting time in Somalia where we are rebuilding institutions and government virtually from scratch. We are moving from a period of conflict and anarchy towards peace and the rule of law. No longer a failed state, we are well and truly back on the map.”

The high-level summit includes the President of the European Commission, the Presidents of Liberia and Niger and the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Lithuania and Cape Verde and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.