A welcome verdict for Aisha Ilyas’ family – and a hard prod to push the National Sexual Offences Bill in Somalia
This week has been momentous for the justice system of Puntland state with a plausible ruling in the case of Aisha Ilyas where three men were found guilty of gang-raping and murdering the 12 year old after she was kidnapped in Galkaayo – Puntland, Somalia on Monday 25th February 2019. With a case that sparked a huge public outcry – this Sunday 12th May 2019, the three men were sentenced to death by Judge Abdinur Jama Hussein after forensic evidence incriminated them.
In a daring statement to the media by the father of the deceased, he explained that he had faith in the justice system and the government, especially that the men behind the killing of his daughter would be served a deserving justice. He went on to share that the family were very happy and content with the verdict in hopes that this outcome will prevent similar cases to occurring in the region.
Justice for Aisha may well be served within the provisions of the Puntland State justice structure and the enactment of the state Sexual Offences Act – however this provides a platform for a stronger push for the enactment of the national Sexual Offences Bill by the Parliament of Somalia. On 30th May 2018, the Cabinet of the Federal Government of Somalia unanimously approved the Sexual Offences Bill however the same bill is before the Parliament. The bill, stands as the most progressive legislation of its kind, which has gone through different consultative stages with civil society, line ministries and other traditional and non-traditional actors.
We strongly denounce the heinous crimes of sexual violence that continue to taint the revitalization of the Somali society. We can no longer watch from the sidelines – women and girls should never be subjected to all forms of violence, not limited to physical, emotional and psychological violence.
We must reverse the violence against women trend that has captured the eyes of the entire country. Communities must face the problem and eradicate it with the help of the law. There shall be no hindrance to achieve justice.
SIHA and CORD’s demands:
- The immediate fulfillment of the court’s ruling as we continue to advocate that the full enactment of the Sexual Offences Bill must be upheld with an iron fist. It is vital that any would-be sexual violence offender sees it wide and clear, that they shall not escape the rule of law and will consequently be punished according to the law.
- The state authority must develop reporting methods that encourage timely reporting of any sort of violence against women and girls which is safe andsecure for the survivor;
- We urge communities in Puntland and rest of Federal Somalia, to stay alert, inform female relatives of the scourge of rape; take appropriate measures of protection as a community, most importantly, encouraging the reporting of all crimes of sexual violence;
- We reiterate that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety of women and girls, making it clear to the entire population that women and girls are not inferior and their bodily integrity must be respected and protected in society;
- We demand the full enactment, implementation and localization of the Sexual Offences Bill, and a direct testimony that it shall not be abused in any form or way possible to hinder it from achieving justice for its victims and survivors;
- A 2018 Gender Briefing on Somalia, published by SIHA Network;