Somalia’s perspectives on Child Rights

May 29th, 2017

Editorial, by Josias Agua Rosada, 24 May 2017

On the 20th of January 2015, Somalia announced to the world that they planned to move forward and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). More than a year later, the IDE and RAJO, a Swiss organisation working in Somalia since 2010, organised a joint Reflection Day on the Rights of the Child in Somalia. Thus, on the 7th of November, in Sion, members of the Somali government, the Somali diaspora and community met to reflect on Somalia’s first report to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. This day allowed for children’s needs in the country to be identified, as well as the need for training programmes to be defined. This is a good first step towards reconstruction.

Today, Somalia, along with Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria are facing what has been called the ‘worst humanitarian crisis since 1945’(Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the UN, March 2017). Indeed, the drought affecting these countries, already torn apart by armed conflicts, is serious and threatens them with another famine like that of 2011. Nevertheless, despite the weight of the situation, a huge movement of solidarity has been observed by the Somalis, both amongst themselves and from the rest of the world, according to Mahamed Abdi, Vice President of the RAJO Association.

Despite the absence of precipitation this rainy season and the urgent need for aid that the situation engenders, Somalia refuses to give up on child rights issues. Following a meeting in November 2016, a task force comprised of State members, members of the community and academia was set up in order to build on proposals for the implementation of the CRC. Somalia thus reaffirmed their determination to concretely ensure the rights of the child in a country where more than 50% of the population is under the age of 18. Unfortunately, there are but a scant few foreign organisations willing to invest in this process, outside of the RAJO Association and the IDE. The flagrant pessimism on behalf of the international community is deplorable in a situation where any help is of value.

While the fight against hunger remains the priority, Somalia must not abandon their efforts for the long-term, for which the foundations were set in 2015. Though the situation is critical, hope remains and by projecting themselves towards a better future, Somalia will no doubt overcome their present troubles.