Somali youths have been challenged to play an active role in fighting discrimination against women and minorities.
The plea was made at a workshop attended by youths, members of the civil society and representatives from regional administrations among others.
Speaking at the meeting, Galmudug Minister for Public Works, Mohamed Mohamud Gure, said discrimination and violence was not only confined to women and children but also targeted minorities and other members of society.
“It’s very true that they (women and children) are the most vulnerable group subjected to violence. But violence is not confined to them (women). Sometimes you face abuse and discrimination because you’re a minority,” said Mr. Gure.
He cautioned the youth not to be misled by individuals out to cause disunity among Somali’s by discriminating others because of their age, gender, colour or status.
His sentiments were supported by the deputy Mayor of Mogadishu, Iman Ikar, and the Secretary General of the Banaadir Regional Administration, Amin Sheikh Elmi, who asked the youth to use their numbers to advocate for peace.
In his address, the Deputy Mayor acknowledged that sexual and gender-based violence was still a problem in the country but noted that it involved a minority in society.
Mr Elmi said the youth had the potential to move Somalia to the next level of development but cautioned that young people need to direct their energies in the right direction.
“It’s the youth who will develop the country. They are the future of the country today and tomorrow. We have a lot of expectations in you. You need to develop the country. You need to bring to an end sexual and gender-based violence. You’re the key players in this,” he noted.
Participants in a group discussion during a workshop on 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in Mogadishu, Somalia on December 11, 2016. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed
Mr Elmi called for cooperation among the youth, elders, parents, religious leaders, security officers and judiciary in dealing with discrimination and gender-based violence.
Fartun Ahmed Omar, a participant from Banaadir region, noted that youths have a major role to play in combating discrimination and gender-based violence.
“Currently, violence against women is high in Somalia. Youth have been victims and also used to perpetuate this vice. We are advocating for change of this,” Ms. Omar said.
Banaadir Regional Administration Program Manager, Hassan Sheikh Abdi, concurred saying young people had a central role to play in fighting the vice and unifying Somalis.
Mr. Abdi, however, noted that progress has been made in addressing gender-based violence in the region through advocacy and awareness programmes.
“Before 2015, sexual and gender-based violence directed at women was very high. However, after creating awareness and working together, this rate dropped drastically”, he said.
Participants attend a workshop on 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in Mogadishu, Somalia on December 11, 2016. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed