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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights comments on draft Sexual Law in Somalia

Geneva (SD) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has criticized a sex crimes bill currently before the Somali parliament.

Michelle Bachelet described the law as leading to child marriage, forced marriage and other traumatic practices, and called for scraping it.

“Legislation drafted by parliamentarians in Somalia risks legitimizing child marriage, among other alarming practices, and must be prevented from passing into law. Provisions of the Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes Law constitute serious breaches of international human rights norms and standards.” said the human rights commissioner in a statement.

 She instead recommended a law passed in 2018 by the government of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, which has been before parliament for two years.

“I strongly urge the Somali authorities to swiftly adopt the 2018 Sexual Offenses Bill, unanimously endorsed by the Council of Ministers, and put in place a comprehensive strategy and effective legislation to eliminate practices and harmful gender stereotypes that have a disproportionate negative impact on women and girls.”

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