The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called upon the Federal Parliament of Somalia to speed up the approval of key bills to curb gender-based violence in the country.
UNFPA said sexual offenses and FGM bills are vital in preventing and criminalizing all sexual offenses and while eradicating FGM.
“UNFPA calls for the speedy passage of the Sexual Offences Bill and FGM Bill in Somalia. These are vital in preventing and criminalizing all sexual offenses and eradicating FGM.”
In a statement released on Saturday to mark World Population Day which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues, UNFPA said there is a need to advance the advocacy against harmful practices targeting women and girls mainly during COVID -19 lockdown in the country.
“The unprecedented fight against gender-based violence and harmful practices; including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage should be prioritized as part of the wider efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among the Somali population.”
According to the recently published Somali Health and Demographic Survey (SHDS), one in ten ever-married women experiences physical violence.
“Lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 and the resultant economic impacts are associated with increasing household tensions, which are likely to result in an upward surge in the cases of spousal violence.”
The report also shows that 33 percent of women are married by age 18 and 140 per 1000 women aged 15 to 19 years have given birth.