Somaliland takes a stand against rape
2018-01-15 17:25:00 -

The self-declared Republic of Somaliland has passed a law against rape. The introduction of such progressive and necessary legislation, which follows several years in which a victim’s family could settle a rape case by forcing the victim to marry their rapist and avoid social stigma, is not only commendable but should be celebrated by the international community.


The law stipulates a minimum 30-year jail term for people convicted of rape in Somaliland, which proclaimed self-rule from Somalia in 1991 but has not yet been widely recognised as a country internationally. It also raises the bar for its neighbours, including Somalia, which has no law against rape.


Speaking after the new legislation was passed, Somaliland’s speaker of parliament Bashe Mohamed Farah said the law was necessary following a rising number of rape cases. “Nowadays we have seen even people carrying out gang rapes,” he told the BBC. “The main emphasis of the new act is to completely stop rape.”


While the speaker and his colleagues are to be congratulated for their courage to do the right and overdue thing, the real heroes are indeed the members of the Women’s Agenda Forum, children’s rights activists and others who have for years lobbied for legal protection against such grievous sexual assault.


Metro Éireann urges Somaliland’s authorities to ensure that the law is enforced and that the most vulnerable reap the benefits of this unique and positive change, which is hoped will check violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in their society. We also urge Somaliland to ensure that both victims and survivors are provided with services that would enable their recuperation.

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