MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – The African Union envoy on Women, Peace and Security Ms Benita Diop has concluded her 4-day official visit to Somalia, where she made a pledge to continue pushing for women’s rights.
This was her first visit to Somalia since her appointment in January 2014.
Ms Diop was accompanied by three prominent African women, Namibian ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union who is also a member of the Peace and Security Commission H.E. Anne Mutelo, Ms. Julienne Lusenge, an award-winning woman activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ms. Mumbi Mathangani, the Conduct and Discipline Advisor for Peace Operations at the African Union.
During her visit, she met with various stakeholders, including President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud and First Lady Sahra Hassan.
She also met with 5 key Somalia government ministers, women groups, NGOs, traditional elders, religious leaders and the leadership of AMISOM and the United Nations in Somalia.
Speaking to the media after her visit, Ms Diop said Somali women have endured a lot of suffering but noted that they had bravely soldiered on and risen above the challenges to take active roles in the political, social and economic status of their society.
“We also listened to the women groups because many of them said how could they contribute because without them we will not find Somalia as it is right now. They have been the backbone of the society and they need a contribution from us but also from the world so that they can in a meaningful way to continue to sustain this country. They also wanted to contribute in the rebuilding of governance mechanism, they wanted to be in the reform of the constitution, they wanted to be in the elections, they wanted to be leaders on this governance mechanism, they wanted to be in parliament and they wanted also to have laws that can protect them as well,” Ms Diop said.
Ms Diop is a renowned woman activist with over 35 years of experience in human rights and developments issues. She has also served in the UN Women International Civil Society Group and is best remembered for co-chairing Resolution 1325, in March 2012, with H.E. Mary Robinson, Former Irish President.