Human Rights Council Thirty-ninth session

10–28 September 2018

Agenda item 10

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 28 September 2018

39/23. 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 that the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human

rights in Somalia rests with the Federal Government of Somalia and that enhancing the

legal framework, human rights protection systems and the capacity and legitimacy of

institutions is essential to help to combat impunity and to improve accountability for human

rights violations and to encourage reconciliation,

Recognizing also the need for all authorities engaged in security to uphold

international human rights commitments and obligations and to address abuse and the

excessive use of force against civilians,

Recognizing further the importance and effectiveness of international assistance to

Somalia and the continued need to step up the scale, coordination, coherence and quality of

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

the national and federal Member State levels, and in that regard welcoming the Somalia

Partnership Forums held in Mogadishu and Brussels, at which Somalia and international

partners reaffirmed their commitment to the New Partnership for Somalia, which sets out

the terms of international support for Somali priorities, including on human rights, and the

Security Pact to provide Somali-led security and protection in accordance with international

humanitarian law and international human rights law, as appropriate,

Recognizing the sustained and vital commitment of the African Union Mission in

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

the commitments of the Mission and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development are

United Nations A/HRC/RES/39/23

creating the conditions for Somalia to establish political institutions and to extend State

authority, which are key to laying the foundations for a staged transfer of security

responsibility to Somali security forces,

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

community mobilization and peacebuilding in Somali society, the need to take special

measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and all other forms of

violence in situations of armed conflict, to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for

violence against women and girls, and the importance of promoting their economic

empowerment and participation in political and public decision-making processes,

including within Parliament and at all levels of government, in accordance 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

the situation of human rights in Somalia, and in that regard also welcomes:

(a) The progressive improvement in the human rights context in Somalia, not

least through progress towards the ambitious goals set out in the New Partnership for

Somalia and the National Development Framework of Somalia to promote stability and

development with respect for human rights by, inter alia, strengthening the rule of law,

promoting inclusivity in political decision-making, particularly for women, young persons,

minorities and persons with disabilities, delivering a constitutional settlement that

guarantees freedoms of expression and association, and addressing security threats in a

manner that respects human rights obligations and protects civilians;

(b) The landmark political agreement between the Federal Government and

federal Member States, which paves the way for the drafting, consultation and passage of

an electoral law by December 2018 as a first step towards realizing historic one-person,

one-vote elections in 2020 and, in particular, the commitment of the Federal Government,

federal Member States and the National Independent Election Commission to protect

inclusivity in terms of ensuring equal participation and representation of women in

decision-making, as well as of displaced persons, young persons, persons with disabilities,

minorities and all members of disadvantaged groups, at all stages of the electoral cycle;

(c) The cooperation between representatives of the Federal Government and

federal Member States, youth groups, women, civil society organizations, professional

associations, religious scholars, members of the Somali diaspora, persons with disabilities

and traditional elders convention in May 2018 to launch the constitutional review process in

Mogadishu, recognizing the importance of an inclusive and Somali-led process that delivers

a political settlement supporting ongoing efforts in peace, development and the enjoyment

of all human rights in Somalia;

(d) The formulation of the transition plan, which defines transition as the

emergence of effective Somali security institutions and the progressive handover of

responsibility from the African Union Mission in Somalia towards increased Somali

ownership for its citizens’ security, appreciating, in particular, that this approach is

underpinned by a focus on the rule of law, reconciliation, justice, respect for human rights

and the protection of women and girls, and children;

(e) The continued commitment of the Federal Government, federal Member

States and the Banadir Regional Authority to improve representation, inclusion and the

participation of women in public and political affairs and, in particular, in leadership roles;

(f) The Federal Government’s endorsement of the Charter for Change at the

Global Disability Summit in July 2018, and its commitment to entrench the rights of

persons with disabilities in social, educational, political and economic life through the first-

ever bill on national disability for Somalia and other legislative mechanisms, improving the

collection of data on persons with disabilities and by approving the creation of a national

disability agency;

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

Development as the lead body of the Federal Government to advance the human rights

agenda in Somalia, together with the progress in the establishment of a national human

rights commission to monitor and provide accountability for violations and abuses,

including a recruitment process that guarantees the representation of women, marginalized

groups and persons with disabilities;

(h) The development of and agreement on key policies and plans, including a

post-transition human rights road map, a national gender policy and a national plan of

action on eradicating sexual violence in conflict;

(i) Progress on key legislation, including the enactment of the child protection

bill, progress towards the adoption of a bill on sexual offences and the implementation of a

media law, through consultation with media organizations and civil societies, in order to

provide a framework for upholding freedom of expression;

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

universal periodic review process, and in this regard further welcomes its acceptance of the

many recommendations made during the review and encourages their implementation;

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

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

all and to hold accountable all those responsible for such violations and abuses and related


4. Expresses particular concern at the abuses and violations perpetrated against

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

marriage and all forms of female genital mutilation;

5. Also expresses particular concern at the abuses and violations committed

against children, emphasizes the need for accountability and justice for all such violations

and abuses, including the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers and children in

armed conflict, killing and maiming, rape and other sexual and gender-based violence,

abductions, and in the treatment of children recaptured from non-State armed groups, and

also emphasizes the importance that such children be recognized as victims and the need to

establish and implement rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, including by taking

into account the specific needs of girls;

6. Expresses concern that internally displaced persons, including the most

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

minority groups, are the most at risk of violence, abuse and violations;

7. Also expresses concern at the attacks against and harassment of human rights

defenders and the media in Somalia, including journalists, especially in the form of

arbitrary arrest or prolonged detention, and emphasizes the need to promote respect for

freedom of expression and opinion and to end impunity, holding accountable those who

commit any such related crimes;

8. 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 in Somalia;

9. Calls upon the Federal Government, with the support of the international


(a) To continue progress towards settling outstanding constitutional issues and

completing the constitutional review process in an inclusive manner that promotes the

building of peace and the rule of law, protects the freedoms of expression and association

and includes targeted provisions that enable and facilitate the advancement of women,

children, young persons, persons with disabilities, minorities and all members of

disadvantaged groups in the areas of access to justice, education, health, security and

economic recovery;

(b) To secure constitutional provisions for the equal representation, participation

and inclusion of women, particularly in leadership and decision-making roles in public and

elected offices and the civil service through the constitutional review and other ongoing

political and legislative processes;

(c) To meet commitments to deliver legislation by December 2018 that will pave

the way for historic one-person, one-vote elections in 2020, and to ensure that this and other

measures promote the inclusivity of these elections, particularly by ensuring the equal

participation and representation of women in decision-making and in leadership positions,

as well as of internally displaced persons, young persons, persons with disabilities,

minorities and all members of disadvantaged groups at all stages of the electoral cycle;

(d) To realize commitments to security sector reform, including by ensuring the

active participation of women in the implementation of the national security architecture, to

ensure that Somali security forces and institutions comply with applicable national and

international law, together with international human rights law, including on the protection

of individuals from, inter alia, sexual and gender-based violence, and on the prevention of

extrajudicial killings, and the strengthening of internal and external accountability of all

relevant security forces and institutions;

(e) To continue measures to implement the plans of action to prevent the

unlawful recruitment and use of children in the national armed forces, and to work with

specialist agencies, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, to ensure that former child

soldiers and children under 18 years of age used in armed conflict are treated as victims and

rehabilitated in accordance with international standards;

(f) To realize commitments to ending the prevailing culture of impunity, to hold

accountable those who commit human rights violations and abuses, ensuring prompt,

independent, impartial, thorough and effective investigations into human rights violations

by urgently concluding the establishment of a resourced and independent national human

rights commission and by reforming State and traditional justice mechanisms to increase

the representation of women in the judiciary, and to improve access to justice for women

and children;

(g) To prioritize the enactment of legislation and undertake reforms that respect,

protect and promote women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights and to allow for

the response to and the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence and

discrimination against women and girls, including by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to

sexual and gender-based violence, child, early and forced marriage and all forms of female

genital mutilation, ensuring that those responsible for sexual and gender-based violence,

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

(h) To meet commitments to complete the national reconciliation plan by the end

of 2018 in order to promote reconciliation and dialogue at the federal, federal Member State

and subnational levels, while recognizing the importance of the valuable assistance

provided by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development;

(i) To increase the support and resources allocated to the ministries and

institutions responsible for the administration of justice and the protection of human rights,

particularly the Ministry for Women and Human Rights Development at the federal and

State levels, the judiciary, the police and correctional services;

(j) To implement fully the media protection law, to protect and uphold freedom

of expression and a free media, to create a safe and enabling environment in which

journalists and human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, to

continue efforts to prohibit, prevent and protect against all kidnappings, killings, attacks,

acts of intimidation and harassment of journalists, to initiate timely, effective, impartial and

transparent investigations into the killings of journalists, and to prosecute all those

responsible for unlawful acts in a manner that is in accordance with the provisions in the

media protection law and is consistent with other applicable national and international legal


(k) To consider acceding to and ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of

All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with

Disabilities and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of


(l) To realize commitments made at the Global Disability Summit, particularly

by enacting a national disability bill in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of

Persons with Disabilities and in consultation with organizations of disabled persons, and by

establishing a national disability agency;

(m) To finalize the review of and raise awareness about the new sexual offences

bill, to ensure that any bill passed into law reflects international obligations and

commitments on the protection of children, women and girls, and to implement it and other

laws as necessary to prevent sexual and gender-based violence;

(n) To harmonize national and federal Member State-level political policies and

legal frameworks with applicable human rights obligations and other commitments;

(o) To treat former combatants in accordance with applicable obligations under

national and international law, in particular international human rights law and international

humanitarian law;

(p) To implement the Declaration on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and

the Reintegration of Returnees in Somalia, adopted in Nairobi on 25 March 2017;

(q) To promote 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 facilitate the voluntary

reintegration or return of all internally displaced persons, including the most vulnerable, in

safety and with dignity, to ensure a fully consultative process and best practice for

relocations, to provide sites that provide safe access to essential food and potable water,

basic shelter and housing, appropriate clothing and essential medical services and


(r) To ensure unhindered 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 remaining sensitive to the needs of

persons belonging to ethnic minorities requiring humanitarian assistance;

10. Stresses the important role of joint monitoring and reporting on the situation

of human rights in Somalia by national and international experts and the Federal

Government, 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;

11. 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


12. Commends the engagement of the Independent Expert on the situation of

human rights in Somalia;1

13. Decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert, under agenda item

10, for a period of one year to assess, monitor and report on the situation of human rights in

Somalia with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-

building in the field of human rights;

14. Requests the Independent Expert to continue to work closely with the Federal

Government at the national and subnational levels, with all United Nations bodies,

including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, with the African Union, the

Intergovernmental Authority on Development and other relevant international

organizations, civil society and all relevant human rights mechanisms, and to assist Somalia

in the implementation of:

1 See A/HRC/39/72.

(a) Its national and international human rights obligations;

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

including associated routine reporting;

(c) Recommendations accepted in the context of the universal periodic review;

(d) Other human rights commitments, policies and legislation to promote the

empowerment of women, young people and marginalized groups, freedom of expression

and assembly, the protection of the media, access to justice for women, and increasing the

capacity of ministries and institutions responsible for the administration of justice and the

protection of human rights;

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

at its forty-second session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session;

16. 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 fully;

17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

41st meeting

28 September 2018

[Adopted without a vote.]