Statement by Ms. Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF Representative in Somalia, on the endorsement of the Child Rights and Juvenile Justice Bills by the Council of Ministers
MOGADISHU, 21 August 2023 - “UNICEF welcomes the positive steps taken by the Council of Ministers of the Federal Government of Somalia, under the leadership of the Prime Minister His Excellency Hamza Abdi Barre, to endorse the Child Rights Bill on 10th August and the Juvenile Justice Bill on 17th August 2023.
“The new bills reflect Somalia’s commitment to align its laws with international standards set by the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which Somalia ratified in 2015.
“The Child Rights Bill will ensure that every child has access to education, healthcare, protection from exploitation, and a nurturing environment.
“The Juvenile Justice Bill provides for fair and child-sensitive treatment of children that come into conflict with the law by offering them protection, rehabilitation, and a pathway to reintegrate into society. The law establishes a clear legal framework and processes for arrest, custody, prosecution, rehabilitation, and penalties for juvenile offenders.
“UNICEF acknowledges the long journey and enormous effort put into drafting these bills and urges the Government and both Houses of Parliament to timeously shepherd these bills into law.
“UNICEF extends its gratitude to the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development for its leadership on the Child Rights Bill and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for leading the collaboration on the Juvenile Justice Bill.
“The collaboration of the UN Mission in Somalia and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the generous financial contributions of donors, such as the Government of Denmark, to Phase II of the Joint Programme on Human Rights, administered through the Somali Joint Fund, is turning the dream of a fairer and just legal framework for children in Somalia into reality.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 when its first office opened in Mogadishu. Today UNICEF has over 300 staff working in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Dollow, Garowe, Hargeisa and also Nairobi, Kenya. Together with 200 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, and responds to emergencies and supports peace-building and development.