Human Rights Council Thirty-third session

Agenda item 10

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 September 2016

33/17. Assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Acknowledging that peace and security, development and human rights are the

pillars of the United Nations system,

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political

independence and unity of Somalia,

Reaffirming also its previous resolutions on Somalia,

Recalling its resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007,

Recognizing the continued urgent need to step up the scale, coherence and quality of

all capacity development in and technical assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights,

and in that regard welcoming the participation of States in the universal periodic review of


Recognizing also the role that women have played and will continue to play in

community mobilization and peacebuilding in Somali society, and the importance of

promoting their economic empowerment and participation in political and public decision-

making processes, including within Parliament and all levels of government, in line with

Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security,

1. Welcomes the commitment of the Federal Government of Somalia to improve

human rights in Somalia, and in that regard also welcomes:

(a) The passing and ratification of the bill to establish a national human rights


(b) The ratification by the Federal Government of the Convention on the Rights

of the Child;

(c) The progress made in adopting a bill on sexual offences;

(d) The agreement and publication of a national plan of action on eradicating

sexual violence in conflict;

(e) The ongoing efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia to produce the

State’s first national development plan in 30 years, and the commitments made therein to

protect human rights and to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment;

(f) The promotion of and adherence to a post-transition human rights road map,

which has included consultations with civil society and existing and emerging regional

administrations, and in this regard encourages support from the international community;

(g) The work undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Human Rights

Development as the lead federal government body to advance the human rights agenda in

Somalia, such as the gender strategy, working alongside the Ministry of Justice and

Religious Affairs and other departments;

(h) The national security policy, as agreed by the National Leadership Forum, as

a further important step on security sector reform, towards the Federal Government of

Somalia being able to provide security to the people of Somalia;

(i) The continuing institutionalization of the promotion and protection of human

rights in Somalia, including efforts to incorporate protection for civilians, internally

displaced persons and returning refugees, and to promote human rights in the reform plans

of the security and justice sectors;

2. Also welcomes the continued commitment of the Federal Government of

Somalia to the universal periodic review process, in this regard welcomes its acceptance of

recommendations made during the review, including to ratify the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the African Charter on

Human and Peoples’ Rights, to establish a national human rights institution in accordance

with the Paris Principles, to extend a standing invitation to special procedure mandate

holders to conduct investigations, to endeavour to protect civilians from attack and to

prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers;

3. Expresses concern at reports of violations and abuses of human rights in

Somalia, and underscores the need to end the culture of impunity, uphold human rights for

all and hold accountable all those who commit any such related crimes;

4. Also expresses concern at the abuses and violations perpetrated against girls

and women, including sexual and gender-based violence, child, early and forced marriage,

and female genital mutilation, and abuses and violations committed against children,

including the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, killing and maiming, rape and

other sexual and gender-based violence, and abductions, and emphasizes the need for

accountability and justice for all such violations and abuses;

5. Further expresses concern that internally displaced persons, and the most

marginalized and vulnerable persons, which may include women, children and persons

belonging to minorities, being the most at risk, bear the brunt of violence, abuses and


6. Expresses concern at the attacks against and harassment of human rights

defenders, including journalists, in Somalia, and urges the authorities to continue efforts to

prohibit, prevent and protect against all kidnapping, killings, attacks, acts of intimidation

and harassment of journalists, in order to promote respect for the freedom of expression and

opinion and to end the culture of impunity, holding accountable those who commit any

such related crimes;

7. Strongly condemns the serious and systematic violations and abuses

perpetrated against members of the civilian population, including women, children,

journalists, parliamentarians and human rights defenders, by Al-Shabaab and its affiliates,

and calls for the immediate cessation of these violations and abuses and for perpetrators to

be held accountable;

8. Recognizes the importance and effectiveness of international assistance to

Somalia, and stresses that the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human

rights in Somalia rests with the Federal Government of Somalia;

9. Underscores the importance of coordinated international assistance to

Somalia in the field of human rights, and in that respect welcomes:

(a) The continued work towards meeting the goals established in the Somali

Compact, recognizing that a new framework will need to be reached between the Federal

Government of Somalia and the international community to provide a coordinated approach

to development, security and political issues with effect from the start of 2017, following

the expiry of current Somali Compact at the end of 2016;

(b) The sustained and vital commitment of the African Union Mission in

Somalia, recognizing the loss and sacrifice of personnel killed in action, and the

Intergovernmental Authority on Development;

10. Encourages international donors to provide timely and tangible assistance to

and to enhance cooperation with the Government of Somalia at the federal, regional State

and subnational levels;

11. Recognizes the efforts of those States hosting Somali refugees, urges all host

States to meet their obligations under international law relating to refugees, and urges the

international community to continue to provide financial support to enable host States to

meet the humanitarian needs of Somali refugees in the region, to support the reintegration

of those returning to Somalia when conditions are suitable, and to support internally

displaced persons;

12. Calls upon the Federal Government of Somalia, with the support of the

international community:

(a) To prepare for and hold a credible, transparent and inclusive election process

in 2016 leading to the establishment of the Upper House, the election of members of the

House of the People, and the subsequent election of a President and a Government in

accordance with the agreed framework and electoral model;

(b) To uphold the commitment of the Federal Government and of regional

authorities to increase participation of women so that at least 30 per cent of Members of

Parliament in both houses are women;

(c) To continue to strengthen the important work related to constitutional review

after the 2016 electoral process as part of the process towards “one person one vote”

elections in 2020, and urges all parties to work together to achieve this while recognizing

the importance of respect for human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and

association, the rule of law and the role of a constitution in protecting the rights of

individuals and promoting national cohesion;

(d) To promote reconciliation and dialogue at the federal, regional State and

subnational levels, recognizing the importance of the valuable assistance provided by the

Intergovernmental Authority on Development;

(e) To continue work to establish independent, accountable and efficient judicial

institutions, and to seek tangible and timely assistance from, inter alia, regional bodies, to

reform the Somali judicial system and to enhance the capacity of Somali judges, with a

particular focus on the promotion and protection of human rights and combating corruption;

(f) To initiate timely, effective, impartial and transparent investigations into

killings of journalists and to prosecute all those responsible for unlawful acts, in a manner

in line with provisions in the media law and in a manner that is equally consistent with

other applicable domestic and international legal obligations, to create security and space

for a free press to operate, and to take measures to protect and support, in law and in

practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society and human rights defenders

can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, in particular in view of the forthcoming

election process;

(g) To bring an end, in a clear and accessible manner, to the prevailing culture of

impunity and to impose a zero-tolerance policy on sexual and gender-based violence,

particularly sexual violence in conflict, ensuring that perpetrators of sexual violence,

exploitation and abuse, regardless of their status or rank, are held to account;

(h) To ensure the equitable participation of women, youth, members of minority

groups and other marginalized groups in national political processes;

(i) To implement effectively the State’s obligations under the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

(j) To publish a plan to demonstrate how the media law will be implemented in

accordance with its international human rights obligations and commitments;

(k) To harmonize national, regional, subregional and subnational political

policies and legal frameworks with applicable human rights obligations and other

commitments, including those referenced in the provisional Constitution and the migration

and human rights agenda at the federal, regional State and subnational levels;

(l) To ensure the accountability of State institutions and security forces and

those serving within them, and in so doing to increase awareness of and training on human

rights among the Somali security forces at the national and subnational levels, including on

the protection of civilians from, inter alia, sexual and gender-based violence, and on the

prevention of extrajudicial killings, with the timely and tangible support of the international

community; to ensure that comprehensive vetting procedures are put in place for personnel

in the security forces and in security institutions; and to issue clear and public orders that

the Somali national armed forces, the Somali national police force and allied militias should

comply with applicable national and international law;

(m) To work with regional leaders towards comprehensive security sector reform;

(n) To treat former combatants, including children under 18 years of age, in

accordance with applicable obligations under domestic and international law, in particular

international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable;

(o) To continue measures to implement the plans of action to end the unlawful

recruitment and use of children in the Somalia national armed forces;

(p) To work with specialist agencies, such as the United Nations Children’s

Fund, to ensure that former child soldiers under 18 years of age are rehabilitated in

accordance with international standards;

(q) To ensure the well-being and protection of all internally displaced persons,

including from sexual and gender-based violence, and also from exploitation and abuse

committed by State or international military or civilian personnel; to seek durable solutions

for all internally displaced persons, including the most vulnerable; to ensure a fully

consultative process and best practice for relocations, and safe, sanitary new sites that have

basic services; to ensure unfettered access for humanitarian organizations; to recognize the

acute vulnerability of internally displaced persons; to facilitate full, rapid and unimpeded

humanitarian access to people in need, wherever they are in Somalia; and to safeguard the

neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian actors from political, economic

and military interference, while paying particular attention to the rights, freedoms and

needs of persons belonging to ethnic minorities requiring humanitarian assistance;

(r) To continue to engage constructively in the universal periodic review

process, including through follow-up to commitments made during the review of the State

in 2016;

13. Strongly commends the engagement of the Independent Expert on the

situation of human rights in Somalia;

14. Stresses the importance of technical assistance in building credible and

impartial domestic capacity to undertake monitoring, investigations and public reporting to

identify human rights concerns and inform appropriate remedies by duty-bearers;

15. Also stresses the important role of joint monitoring and reporting on the

situation of human rights in Somalia by domestic and international experts and the Federal

Government of Somalia, and the vital role that those monitoring human rights can play in

evaluating and ensuring the success of technical assistance projects, which in turn must be

for the benefit of all Somalis;

16. Underlines the importance of the realization by the United Nations

Assistance Mission in Somalia of its mandate throughout Somalia and the need to ensure

synergy with the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human


17. Decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of

human rights in Somalia, under agenda item 10, for a period of one year;

18. Requests the Independent Expert to continue his engagement with the

Government of Somalia at the national and subnational levels, civil society and the United

Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia with a view to assisting Somalia in the

implementation of:

(a) Its domestic and international human rights obligations;

(b) Human Rights Council resolutions, other human rights instruments and

associated routine reporting;

(c) The recommendations accepted during the universal periodic review;

(d) Other human rights commitments, including the post-transition human rights

road map and particularly the process to implement the establishment of an independent

human rights commission, and to uphold human rights during the election process and the

political transition to a new Government;

19. Also requests the Independent Expert to report to the Human Rights Council

at its thirty-sixth session;

20. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner and other relevant United

Nations agencies to provide the Independent Expert with all the human, technical and

financial assistance necessary to carry out his mandate;

21. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

39th meeting

29 September 2016

[Adopted without a vote.]