Traditional elders fuel sexual violations in Somalia
This is due to the absence of a fully functioning criminal justice system in many parts of the country.
The Xeer traditional dispute resolution system continues to play a key role in the country given that rule of law institutions are still being established.
The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Nyanduga, has thus called on the Government to enhance the capacity of the judiciary and police force in handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence, and to prohibit the handling of such cases by
the traditional clan elders.
“There is also a crucial need to create human rights awareness among clan elders and religious leaders about women’s rights, as one way of facilitating change within communities,” said Nyanduga.
The Independent Expert also called for the adoption of the Sexual Offences Bill during the forthcoming session of Parliament to further guarantee the protection of women’s rights.
Rights groups have expressed concern perpetrators were getting off lightly in the traditional Xeer system.
Xeer, is the polycentric legal system of Somalia.
Under this system, elders serve as judges and help mediate cases using precedents.
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