DSRSG Serour marks International Human Rights Day in Garowe


Deputy Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (DSRSG) Fatiha Serour today officiated at celebrations in Garowe, capital of the Federal State of Puntland, to mark International Human Rights Day and the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Events on the day included a football match between the internally displaced and host communities, theatrical productions and a public discussion on human rights in Puntland between government officials, NGOs, civil society and the media.

Speaking at the event, DSRSG Serour reminded participants of the origins of International Human Rights Day, which came into existence to bring attention to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. She noted that although there has been progress over the years in developing conventions and instruments to protect human rights, there is much work to be done on the ground.

“We cannot sit back and wait, we must step forward and fight human rights abuses,” she said.

Meeting Asha Mohammud Ahmed, Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Social Affairs, and women’s groups, DSRSG Serour said she was impressed with the vibrant women’s movement in Puntland, but noted that major challenges remained, not least of which is the poor representation of women in the ongoing political process to select a parliament and president.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with UNSOM to advance women’s rights in Puntland, and recognize that to achieve this, we need to have one vision and one goal,” said Minister Mohammud.

While in Garowe, Ms Serour also met with Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire, and reiterated UNSOM’s support for a free, fair and inclusive electoral process.