Somalia needs international support to sustain human rights gains

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Ivan Šimonović. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Somalia's international partners are being urged to increase their support to the country as it works to advance human rights.

The call comes from Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for human rights, who concluded a five-day visit to the Horn of Africa country on Tuesday.

Somalia's federal government took office in 2012.

Prior to that, the country had been without a functioning government following the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.

Dianne Penn reports.

Without increased international support, Somalia's human rights gains would be at risk, according to Mr Šimonović.

He said the country had made "meaningful progress" in implementing a Human Rights Road Map, in reforming its justice and security sectors, and in processes and consultations related to elections next year.

Somalia is also battling the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and despite persistent challenges, the UN official noted there has been significant improvement in security.

However, the country still faces serious human rights challenges such as allegations of violations committed during military operations.

Mr Šimonović called on the Government and all security forces in the country, including those serving under the UN-backed African Union mission there, to prevent and address abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.

He said terrorism cannot be defeated solely through military means, and highlighted the need to address its root causes which include poverty, corruption, lack of good governance, unemployment and social exclusion.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'09"

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