United Nations (UN) has warned that Somali women and girls are facing widespread discrimination and numerous obstacles to the professional and educational advancement as the world marks International Women’s Day on Thursday.
In a statement on Thursday by UN assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Special representative of Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating said young Somali women have far less access to resources and opportunities than their male counterparts.
Mr. Keating pointed out that an estimated 98% of all Somali women and girls have been subjected to female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The statement comes on the heel of the religious Fatwa banning the FGM which was issued last month by the breakaway the ministry of religious affairs of Somaliland.
Victims of FGM will be allowed to receive compensation for the first time in the country’s history, according to the ministry.
“The ministry forbids any circumcision that is contrary to the religion which involves cutting and sewing up of some part of the genital, like Fircooni (Pharaoh) one, any girl who suffers from such circumcision will be eligible for compensation depending on the extent of the wound and the violation committed,” the statement was indicating.
The ministry did not clarify whether compensation will be paid to those passed through the process before the Fatwa was issued and who will pay the compensation to the victims.
Calling for action
The UN’s statement said sexual and gender violence is a harsh reality for millions of women across the country.
Mr. Keating has called for national action plan to fight the practice and other violations against women.
” These challenges must be addressed and overcome through vigorous legislation, government policies and effective programmes. Increased participation of Somali women in decision-making and leadership is essential,’ Mr. Keating said.
The UN envoy commended Somali women for achieving significant progress in the recent years.
“Women kept Somali families together during their country’s long years of chaos and armed conflict,” Keating lauded.