GENDER ALERT: Criminalizing rape in Somaliland – Good reasons to celebrate

Over the years, the spiraling prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence and the accompanying victimization of women and girls have warranted attention across the Horn of Africa region and the rest of the world.

Following Somali-land’s notable passing of the first law against rape, early this year – in a drive to combat gender-based violence by the Parliament’s upper house after a long period in waiting, the bill was further approved by the House of Representatives – rejecting the amendments that were previously made to the initial bill by the “Guurti” – House of Elders. Subsequently, the initial bill that was tabled in April 2018 was finally endorsed by the Senators in the House of Representatives.

The bill, now awaiting Somali-land’s President, Muse Bihi Abdi’s signature will be a significant legislative move to deterring rape and all gender-based violations against women in the state.

It is important to note that with an increasing number of reported cases related to gang rape, the original penal code had no mention of gang rape; however the new bill now has a specific provision for gang rape punishable by incarceration of up to 25 years.

SIHA applauds civil society and the women’s movement in Somali-land who have pulled efforts tirelessly for a milestone achieved.

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