In Somalia, conflict has increased many burdens for women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence. However, Somalia's transition from conflict also offers unique windows of opportunity to advance gender equality, while empowering women can in turn strengthen peace and development. These are some of the reasons why the Federal Government of Somalia prioritises gender equality, women's leadership and responses to gender-based violence as central objectives for sustainable peace and development in the current National Development Plan. In this context, the Minister of Women and Human Rights Development has developed and submitted ground-breaking legislation to the Cabinet in Mogadishu: the Somali Sexual Offences Bill, the country's first dedicated legislation on sexual violence.
On 19 June 2018, marking International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Honourable Deqa Yasin, Somalia's Minister for Women and Human Rights Development, and Antonia Mulvey, Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide, will discuss the challenges and opportunities of drafting the Bill and advocating for its passage.
About the speakers
Her Excellency Minister Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf was appointed to serve as Minister of Women and Human Rights Development in the Federal Republic of Somalia in 2017. Under her leadership, the Ministry has provided the much needed leadership on reforms and reforms that seek to advance the rights of women in Somalia including advocating for the adoption of the Sexual Offences Bill. She is also a renowned conflict resolution and crisis management expert with a keen sense of social justice and a belief that diverse communities can co-exist peacefully under a political framework that protects the rights of the vulnerable and minorities.
Antonia Mulvey is the Founder and Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) and Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security. She is a British lawyer with 20 years of experience in international, human rights, refugee and criminal law. Mulvey has established access to justice programmes for the UN and INGOs in Sudan, Somalia and the occupied Palestinian territory. Her experience ranges from advising governments on judicial and legislative reform, to founding of the first Women Lawyers Association in Somalia and establishing the first law faculty in Puntland, Somalia.
Professor Christine Chinkin (chair) is Founding Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security.