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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 11th Session
Universal Periodic Review of Somalia
Statement by Australia
3 May 2011
Australia warmly welcomes Minister Zahra Mohamed Ali Samantar, Minister Maryan Qasim Ahmed, and Minister Asha Gelle Dirie; and appreciates Somalia’s commitment to engaging in the UPR process. We commend Ambassador Bari-Bari for his significant leadership role in drawing the Council’s attention to the situation in Somalia and in galvanising support from the international community. We thank OHCHR for its role in facilitating Somalia’s participation in the UPR process.
Australia condemns indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the course of the conflict in Somalia. In particular, we strongly condemn the actions of insurgent groups, notably Al-Shabaab, that are responsible for human rights violations including the recruitment of child soldiers; serious acts of torture; and abuses of media freedoms including the forced closure of a number of media outlets.
Australia recognises the constraints under which the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) operates, and that many serious human rights violations are perpetrated by militant groups in areas not controlled by the TFG. At the same time, we urge the TFG to ensure that its forces are mindful of international human rights and humanitarian law obligations, and to take a more active role in protecting human rights more broadly.
Australia recommends Somalia:
1. Do its utmost to allow safe, timely and unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance;
2. Provide training in human rights and international humanitarian law to TFG and AMISOM security and law enforcement forces;
3. Strive to deliver basic services to the local population, protect freedom of expression and raise awareness of gender-based violence;
4. Accede to the core human rights instruments to which it is not yet a party, particularly CRC and CEDAW;
5. Establish a national human rights institution that is compliant with the Paris Principles; and
6. Criminalise the practice of female genital mutilation.