Somali civil society groups join forces to counter al-Shabaab ideology

11The Centre for Community Dialogue (CCD) on October 19th launched their awareness campaigned aimed at eliminating al-Shabaab’s extremist ideology from recently liberated areas of Somalia. CCD director Iise Ahmed Omar (left) said at the event

MOGADISHU — Somali civil society organisations and religious leaders have joined together to create an awareness campaign aimed at combating extremist ideology in areas liberated from al-Shabaab.

Mogadishu-based Centre for Community Dialogue (CCD), religious leaders from Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa, Benadir Women’s Association and Benadir Youth Organisation jointly developed the plan, which the CCD is facilitating.

The campaign will comprise a series of one-day workshop styled meetings held throughout the country starting with Barawe in January, CCD director Iise Ahmed Omar told Sabahi.

In the meantime, he said, the organisations have been meeting to discuss past achievements, topics to address in the awareness campaign and the logistics of implementing the new initiative.

Six individuals drawn from traditional elders, women’s organisations and other local groups will be selected in each town to lead and moderate the meetings.

“We are preparing six issues to [focus on],” Omar said. “Attendees will be broken into groups of ten to brainstorm and come up with ways to take action on those issues. [Each group] will then present their plans to the rest of the attendees.”

“It is not going to be like a speech people listen to and then leave,” he said, adding that the goal is to engage the public, raise awareness about the dangers of extremism and determine solutions on how to fight extremist ideology at a local level.

The purpose is to leave attendees feeling energised and motivated to share their knowledge with the rest of society once they leave the meeting, he said.

A united front to reverse extremist ideology

“The government demonstrated force, particularly with Operation Indian Ocean, in removing al-Shabaab from the country,” Omar said. “As an organisation, we want to [demonstrate force] to remove the extremist ideology al-Shabaab left behind.”

While the military operation, a joint effort between African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali government troops, is succeeding in liberating many areas from al-Shabaab, it will take a long time to eradicate the militant group’s flawed ideology, he said.

“Over the past six years we dared to warn the public about extremist ideology [and] we believe that today, after al-Shabaab’s defeat, we have a greater opportunity to reach towns where they had strong influence such as Barawe and Bulo Burde,” he said.

“What we want is [to show] a united front to the young person who has been brainwashed,” Omar said. “Everywhere he goes, the well-educated religious scholars should tell him, ‘If you blow yourself up, you are going to hell’, the traditional elder should tell him, ‘Suicide bombing is not part of our culture’ and his mother should say, ‘Do not blow yourself up.'”

“We would also bring in youth to educate the young people who have been misled and have been told that extremist ideology is correct,” he added.

“Every area that Somalia’s enemy is pushed out of is in need of [counter-extremism] awareness programmes in the same way it needs emergency humanitarian aid,” he said. “We will reach these areas liberated from al-Shabaab to carry out our awareness programmes while working with our Somali government.”

The campaign — which was announced during a meeting in Mogadishu on October 19th — has received funding from private business owners and the Somali diaspora, Omar said, declining to disclose the amount received.

22Children participate in a peace rally on September 10, 2014, after the killing of former al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, holding signs that read.

Religious leaders, women and youth play key role

Another key goal of the campaign is to help citizens who had been isolated in former al-Shabaab strongholds to reconnect with the rest of the country by encouraging cross-regional dialogue, Omar said.

In areas under al-Shabaab control, the militant group routinely imposed bans on radio and television, use of the internet and mobile phones, and monitored citizens’ movement in order to control and filter information.

Al-Shabaab also used the pretext of religion to unlawfully tax residents and steal their livestock.

But Sheikh Abdulqadir Mohamed Somow, spokesperson for the Supreme Council of Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa scholars, said Islam directs its followers to disavow extremist ideology.

“Everywhere around the country that was liberated from al-Shabaab needs the provision of medicine, food and clean water, [but] has an even greater need for changing the minds of the people who endured [years] of brainwashing that has allowed an individual to be convinced to kill his mother or father or relatives and blow himself up,” he told Sabahi. “We want to take part in combatting that cancerous ideology that has spread.”

For her part, Jawahir Barqab, director of the Benadir Women’s Association, said that women can play a major role in cleansing the minds of youth brainwashed with extremist ideology.

“When we as women realised that we could play a big role in fighting al-Shabaab’s extremist ideology, we decided to step up to our role,” she told Sabahi. “We are grateful to the people who encouraged us to persist with our goals, whether it is the businesspeople or the diaspora, [and] especially the CCD.”

Benadir Youth Organisation deputy chairman Hassan Sheikh Abdi Abukar said his organisation has always sought to protect youth against adopting flawed ideology, and will now play a significant role in raising awareness on this issue.

“Our role is to educate the youth about flawed extremist ideology, especially those who still have extremist views and are part of al-Shabaab, by conducting major awareness events,” he said, adding that the new awareness campaign seeks to connect all the youth of Somalia.

Source   Sabahi

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Haweeney Garaarad ah oo lagu caleemo saaray Magaalada Muqdisho

Waxaa Magaalada Muqdisho lagu caleemo saaray haweeney Garaarad ah, markii ugu horeysay, taariikhda inta ay xuseyso, iyadoo ay sheegtay inay ka shaqayn doonto xuquuqda haweenka, ee dhanka Siyaasada.

Garaadada oo lagu magacaabo Rooda Maxamed Xuseen, ayaa waxay sheegtay in fikirkaan uu ku dhaliyay, markii ay aragtay caqabadaha dhanka Siyaasada ka heysata haweenka Geeska Afrika, gaar ahaan haweenka ku nool deegaanada afka Somaliga looga hadlo.

Sidoo kale waxay sheegtay inay ku qanci weyday habka ay wax u soo xulaan Odayaasha Dhaqanka ee Somalida, iyadoo ku eedeysay inaanay inta badan Siyaasada u soo xulan dumarka, oo ay soo magacaabaan ragga oo kaliya.

Garaadada waxay ku andacooneysaa in haweenku ay aad uga maqan yihiin saaxada Siyaasada, isla-markaana ay isku hawli doonto, sidii dumarka Somaliyeed ay kaalin ugu yeelan lahaayeen Siyaasada.

Mar wax laga weydiiyay qaabka loogu caleemo saaray Magaalada Muqdisho, ayay ka dhawaajisay in lagu caleemo saaray qaabkii soo jireenka ahaa, ee Odayaasha Dhaqanka lagu caleemo saari jiray, isla-markaana lagu shubay caanihii dhaqanka ahaa.

Rooda waxay kaloo sheegtay in caleemo saarkeedu ay ka soo qaybgaleen Odayaal Dhaqameedyo iyo  Siyaasiyiinba, isla-markaana ay aad iyo aad ugu faraxsan tahay inay noqoto Garaarad.

Rooda, ayaa xustay inay dad badani soo dhaweeyeen tallaabada ay horey u qaaday, halka dad kalana ay ka horyimaadeen, isla-markaana waxay walaac ka muujisay dadka saluugaaya Garaadnimadeeda.

Garaadada, ayaa waxay qurbo joogta ku ammaantay inay iyagu ku dhaliyeen fikirkaan ah inay Garaarad noqoto, ayna taageero u muujiyeen.

Dhacdadaan, ayaa waxay noqoneysaa mid cusub oo ku soo korortay saaxada dalka, waxayna u muuqataa in ay reebi doonto dood adag, maadaama ay dhinac mareyso dhaqankii soo jireenka ahaa ee Soomaalida.

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Take action to Orange your day

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"Orange your Journey" – Bangkok, Thailand

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day” – a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.

Dos personas saltando con pantalones naranjos #orangeurworld

Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

2014 Orange Day themes

25 October – Ensuring safe and empowering public spaces with and for women and girls
25 September – Engaging artists in efforts to end violence against women and girls
25 August – Eliminating violence against the girl child
25 July – Addressing violence against women and girls in the informal economy
25 June – Engaging sport communities and addressing violence against women and girls in sport
25 May – Working with the corporate sector to end violence against women and girls
25 April – End conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls
25 March – End female genital mutilation
25 February – Ending violence against women and girls must be part of new development framework
25 January – Access to justice for survivors

Sign up for news and action alerts here! Follow @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter. Likehttps://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE on Facebook.

2014

Orange your neighbourhood logo

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

This year, the UN Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women invites you to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood.” Take the UNiTE campaign to local streets, shops and businesses, and organize “Orange Events” in your own neighbourhoods between 25 November and 10 December 2014.

COMMIT and SayNO–UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaigns

United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women”

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Somalia’s al Shabaab says stones man to death for rape

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MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Somalia’s al Shabaab militants said on Wednesday they had stoned an 18-year-old man to death for raping a woman at gunpoint in one of their strongholds in the southern Lower Shabelle region.

The group, which pledges loyalty to al Qaeda, has been losing territory in an offensive by African and Somali troops, but has been determined to demonstrate its authority over areas it still controls.

Al Shabaab said the man raped a 28-year-old woman at gunpoint in the outskirts of her village three days before he was killed on Tuesday.

“This shows we have the power to sentence anyone who breaks Islamic law,” Sheikh Mohammed Abu Abdalla, the self-styled al Shabaab governor for the region, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Al Shabaab said the woman would receive a two-year-old heifer – the price of a dowry payment in the area.

In September, Al Shabaab militants said they stoned a woman to death in the southern town of Barawe after a court they had set up declared her guilty of adultery.

The rebels emerged as a fighting force in 2006, waging an armed campaign to impose their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Somalia has been mired in chaos and conflict since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.

 

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Efua Dorkenoo OBE, the ‘incredible African female warrior’, has died

Efua DorkenooEfua DorkenooEfua Dorkenoo OBE, whose many achievements include co-founding FORWARD in 1983, writing the key text on FGM in 1994 and campaigning on the issue through her time at the WHO and Equality Now. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Dorkenoo’s lifelong dream of a global, Africa-led movement against FGM was realised just a week before her death

Efua Dorkenoo, widely seen as the mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation, has died after undergoing treatment for cancer, her family have confirmed. She was 65. Dorkenoo – known affectionately to many as “mama Efua” – was a leading light in the movement to bring an end to FGM for more than 30 years, campaigning against the practice since the 1980s.

The girls’ and women’s rights campaigner saw the progression of the movement to end FGM go from a minority, often ignored, issue to a key policy priority for governments across the world. Proof of this arrived with the launch of The Girl Generation on October 10 – a major Africa-led campaign to tackle FGM across the globe, run by a consortium of charities and organisations and funded by the department for international development. Dorkenoo – the natural choice to lead the consortium, wrote simply on the day of its launch: “ Finally, The Girl Generation: Together to End FGM is here, and I hope you like it.” A week later she died in hospital.

Dorkenoo was born on 6 September 1949 in Ghana, but moved to London when she was 19 and became a staff nurse in various London hospitals from 1977. Working with African women in the UK, she became aware of the health and mental complications that result from FGM and began campaigning against the practice with the human rights organisation Minority Rights Group.

She went on to gain a masters degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was an honorary senior research fellow at the School of Health Sciences at City University, London.

In 1983 she co-founded FORWARD (The Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development), which became a leading organisation in the battle to raise awareness about FGM. The procedure, which still affects more than 125 million girls and women worldwide and is widely practised in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, was outlawed in the UK in 1985. She published a seminal text on FGM – Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation: The Practice and Prevention, in 1994.

Dorkenoo was instrumental in getting FGM on the agenda in ministries of health while working at the World Health Organisation from 1995-2001, and went on to become the advocacy director and then senior advisor on FGM at the human rights organisation Equality Now. She was awarded an OBE in recognition of her campaigning work against FGM.

End FGM campaigner Nimko Ali – who worked closely with Dorkenoo at the Girl Generation and is an FGM survivor – said the veteran campaigner had been the inspiration for much of her own work against the practice.

“Efua was an amazing woman – that term is used lightly but her passion and commitment to the cause were truly amazing,” she said. “She started campaigning so that girls like me would not be cut in future, and thanks to her generations of girls in the future will not have to go through FGM.”

Dorkenoo had not only changed policy in the UK and overseas, she had made a personal difference to many survivors’ lives, she added. “She was a giant on whose shoulders we stand, she prepared the way for us, and even though she did not see the end of FGM in her generation, it will end – and that is thanks to her.”

Leyla Hussein, co-founder of Daughters of Eve with Ali, said the formation of an African-led movement against FGM was Dorkenoo’s lifelong dream and despite ill-health her last months were spent visiting everyone from politicians to village leaders across the world. “The Girl Generation was Efua’s baby and she had been trying to make it happen for 30 years,” she said. “Last week Efua gave birth to it, with every last breath she had she worked to make that happen. She was an incredible African female warrior and she never gave up.”

Brendan Wynne, media manager at Equality Now said: “Efua literally changed the course of history, but she made you feel like you could do so too. She banged on doors for decades – usually by herself – but never gave up. She was the most amazing friend you could hope for and now has a dedicated network of inspired and driven people to take her work on and finish the job she started.” Dorkenoo leaves behind her husband Freddie and sons Kobina and Ebow

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FGM: more than 1,700 women and girls treated by NHS since April

9 FGM campaigner Jaha Dukureh at this year’s Girl Summit in London. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi/Guardian

More than 1,700 women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation have been treated by the NHS since April, according to the first official figures to be published on the numbers of FGM cases seen by hospitals in England.

The data, part of a wide-ranging government package to eradicate FGM on British soil, reveals that 467 previously unknown genital mutilation survivors were treated at acute NHS trusts in England in September alone.

Campaigners say such information is a crucial tool in preventing FGM in the UK and in ensuring that victims receive the treatment and support they need.

The public health minister, Jane Ellison, who pushed for the data to be collected, hailed the move. “We know FGM devastates lives but understanding the scale of the problem is essential to tackling it effectively,” she said.

“That is why, for the first time ever, hospitals are reporting information on FGM – a major milestone on the road to ending FGM in one generation here in the UK. This data will help us care for women who have had FGM, and prevent more girls from having to suffer this traumatic experience.”

In recent months there has been a major push to end FGM in the UK, with high-profile campaigns capturing public attention. In February, a Guardian-backed petition launched by a 17-year-old schoolgirl, Fahma Mohamed, was launched on Change.org. It called for more information about FGM to be taught at schools and attracted more than 230,000 signatures as well as the backing of the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel peace prize recipient.

At the international Girl Summit in July, the British government promised more aid to help countries combat FGM, while announcing plans to prosecute parents who allowed their daughters to be mutilated as well as the creation of an FGM unit.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales are affected by FGM, according to a study by Equality Now and City University, released in July.

The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 140 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM, a traditional practice designed to curb sexuality that involves the partial or total removal of the outer sexual organs. The procedure can cause lifelong physical and psychological complications.

“Having accurate data about this crime is an important step in helping prevent its occurrence,” said Kingsley Manning, chair of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which published the data.

“The information will support the Department of Health in its FGM prevention programme, and we hope to expand the data set over time, so that it provides a more complete picture across a wider variety of care settings.”

Of the 160 acute hospital trusts in England, 125 returned data for September. An HSCIC spokeswoman said the information was mandatory and it expected that all trusts would soon be providing regular data on FGM prevalence.

Mary Wandia, FGM programme manager at Equality Now, described the data collection as a step in the right direction. “It is great news that the NHS is starting to gather this much-needed information,” she said. “What we need now is for healthcare professionals to receive adequate training to ensure that girls at risk are protected and for care and support to be given to girls and women who are living with the consequences of FGM”

Tanya Barron, chief executive of Plan UK, a global children’s charity, said ending FGM in the UK would only be possible if it was also tackled worldwide. “While ensuring protection and prevention policies are in place in the UK is vital, it is the long-term, grassroots work in communities around the world which will prevent FGM happening in the first place,” she said. “Which means that in the battle to end harmful practices like FGM, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, teachers, nurses – everyone has a part to play.”

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The AU Establishes a Team to Investigate Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the AMISOM

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Mogadishu – The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has today authorized the deployment of an Investigation Team to look into allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) leveled against personnel of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report titled “The Power these Men Have Over Us – Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia” which was issued in Nairobi, Kenya on 8 September, 2014.

The Investigation Team of four, including two women, are from Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and have the requisite training, qualifications, expertise and experience at national, regional and international levels which they would bring to bear in the discharge of this very important responsibility.

The Investigation Team is to conduct investigations into the specific allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse made against AMISOM personnel, particularly the Ugandan and Burundian Contingents as well as AMISOM civilian personnel with a view to:

  • Establishing the facts with respect to these allegations so that a determination can be made on whether the allegations of SEA occurred or not; and,
  • Establishing, if they occurred, the duration that such actions have been taking place and the actions taken by the AMISOM Leadership that either contributed to, or deterred the alleged actions from occurring.

The Investigation Team will conduct its assignment in an independent, professional and transparent manner. The Investigation Team will be responsive to the needs of alleged victims and potential witnesses as well as to the wishes of all concerned to find out the truth about these allegations.

The Chairperson requests the full cooperation of all relevant parties to these investigations, including unfettered access to all persons and sites that will facilitate the conduct of these investigations.

The Chairperson would like to reiterate that the AU’s commitment and determination to reinforce its efforts in combating sexual exploitation and abuse in all its ramifications, especially its impact on victims, survivors and their families. In this regard therefore, The Chairperson has also constituted an Assessment Team consisting of Academics and Women Activists with special expertise on victim of sexual violence, protection and law enforcement and peace and security that will concurrently conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the extent, nature, patterns and trends of SEA in AMISOM, if at all, so as to inform and guide its policy and response mechanisms not only for AMISOM but for all its Peace Support Operations (PSOs).

The Investigation and Assessment Teams are expected to complete their assignments by 30 November, 2014after which the teams will submit their reports to The Chairperson. The findings and recommendations will be made public, using the appropriate AU channels and with due regards to victim protection, the rights of alleged perpetrators as well as the operational imperatives of AMISOM.

Source: AMISOM

 

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