8601st Security Council Meeting: Situation in Somalia

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21-Aug-2019 02:35:04
Inclusive elections, combating terrorism critical to stabilizing Somalia, speakers underline in Security Council at 8601st meeting.

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Amid a fragile security landscape marred by terrorist attacks and a drought leaving more than 2 million people facing acute food insecurity in Somalia, officials told the Security Council today that the success of forthcoming elections and enhanced stability across the country hinges on genuine, dedicated cooperation and coordination among all parties.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), describing recent developments, raised concerns about the latest al-Shabaab attack and expressed alarm that 2.2 million Somalis are facing acute food insecurity. Cautioning that political progress may be delayed without renewed dialogue and cooperation among all stakeholders, he called for consensus and compromise among Somalia’s leaders at the national level and particularly between the central Government and Federal member states.

Indeed, Somalia’s national electoral cycle in 2020 and 2021 offers an opportunity to advance the process of democratization, building on such gains as the Galmudug state electoral process, he said. This type of engagement is needed for a single and consensual electoral process in Jubaland in their forthcoming elections. More broadly, he expected the Federal Constitution, once adopted, to provide a common vision for all Somalis.

Also briefing the Council, via videoconference from Mogadishu, were the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who outlined operations and challenges in enhancing security nationwide and halting the spread of al-Shabaab, and the Executive Director of the Somali Women Development Center, who called on the 15-member organ to urge the Federal Government to take action to guarantee women’s participation in all spheres of State-building, stressing that “talking about sexual and gender-based violence is the first step towards eliminating it”.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, briefing on her recent visit, elaborated on this challenge, saying the Federal Government has committed to developing an action plan, improving protection measures and ending impunity for perpetrators. Indeed, a major obstruction to justice is that local customs compel victims to marry assailants or accept livestock as compensation, with recent concerns raised about the safety of a 9-year-old girl raped by a twenty-seventh brigadier soldier in Adale a few days before her visit. Key messages she gave the Government included the importance of engaging a broad range of stakeholders, strengthened state participation, tackling conflict-related sexual violence as a matter of peace and security and of addressing its root causes.

Delegates agreed that including women in all processes will enhance security, development and well-being throughout the country, with the Dominican Republic’s representative saying that investing in women and girls has a domino effect triggering numerous benefits.

South Africa’s representative underscored the need for broad-based and inclusive reconciliation and for boosting efforts towards addressing inter-clan and intercommunal clashes. Echoing a common call to halt the rising number of attacks by al-Shabaab, he said efforts must go beyond military operations and include the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of defectors. In this vein, he said that if the country is to be able to take ownership of its own security challenges, the international community must provide capacity-building and coordinated support.

Council members also emphasized a need to overcome the political impasse to effectively handle pressing challenges. France’s representative called on all parties to use dialogue to resolve differences. Many commended the work of UNSOM and AMISOM in helping authorities to ensure progress continues on hard-won gains.

Somalia’s representative, encouraging the Council to see the current challenges in the context of his country’s continued upward trajectory and steady path towards the rebuilding process, said steps are being taken to improve relations among the states, combat sexual violence, enhance security and tackle humanitarian challenges. “A State can only be as strong as the people within it,” he said, noting that efforts are also under way to ensure women’s participation in all aspects of life and to establish free, fair and credible elections.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Kuwait, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, China, Indonesia, Peru, Belgium, Russian Federation, Germany and Poland.

The meeting began at 9:32 a.m. and ended at 12:07 p.m.

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