Statement by UNICEF Representative Wafaa Saeed on the death of Hon. Khadija Mohamed Diriye, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development

20 December 2023

"UNICEF Somalia has received with deep sadness the passing of Minister Khadija Mohamed Diriye, a dedicated advocate for the rights of women and children. Her service as Minister of Women and Human Rights Development was characterised by a passionate commitment to enhancing women's rights, particularly through her support for Somalia's ratification of CEDAW and other vital women’s rights protocols.

“Minister Khadija's efforts in establishing the women’s caucus and advocating for a 30 per cent quota for women in Parliament underscored her dedication to gender equality. Her prioritisation of children's rights has been crucial, especially in her role in advancing significant legislations such as the Child Rights Bill, the FGM Bill, the Sexual Offences Bill, and the Disability Bill. Under her guidance, the National Plan of Action for Children was approved, a significant achievement, though she will not see its final realisation. 

“Minister Khadija was not only a friend to UNICEF and to me personally, more importantly, she has been a relentless champion for children in Somalia. Her absence will leave a significant void, and she will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and all those who were touched by her extraordinary work and life."

Media contacts

Victor Chinyama
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Somalia
Tel: +252613375885

About UNICEF

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.

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