A welcome verdict for Aisha Ilyas’ family – and a hard prod to push the National Sexual Offences Bill in Somalia

A Joint Statement by CORD and  SIHA NETWORK

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:

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