Somalia takes human rights steps

Sept. 3, 2013 at 10:23 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A decision by the Somali government to embrace human rights is a welcome measure that needs comprehensive support to succeed, a U.N. envoy said.

The government adopted a two-year plan to strengthen its human rights record.

Last week, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon created the country's first Ministry for Human Rights during a special parliamentary session.

Shamsul Bari, an independent expert working on Somali rights for the United Nations, hailed the government's forward momentum on human rights.

"I welcome the endorsement of the post-transition human rights roadmap as a very positive step for the advancement of human rights in Somalia," he said in a statement Tuesday from Geneva. "But unless there is wide ownership by all concerned, implementation of the roadmap will be very difficult."

Last year, Somalia established its first functioning central government in Mogadishu since 1991. The government has struggled to extend its influence around the country amid separatist campaigns and terrorist activity tied to al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab.

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