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Somalia test

Somalia test

Gender-based violence against women and girls is relatively widespread in So­malia.Decades of ongoing conflict, pervasive violence and insecu­rity compounded by influxesof refugees, massive displacement from draught and flash floods as well as deeply rooted gender inequalities have made wom­en and girls extremely vulnerable to GBV, particularly sexual violence. Female Genital Mutilation is almost universally practiced throughout Somalia with 98% of females in the age group 15 – 49 having been cut. 

Rape, sexual abuse and trafficking are often perpetrated with impunity by a range of actors including security forces, members of armed groups and family. GBV incidents are perceived as being a family matter. And are therefore mostly resolved by interpretations of the Sharia Legal system and/or traditional customary system (Xeer), with the empha­sis on compensation to clans rather than the survivors. Solutions, therefore, are often not in the best interest of women and girls survivors of GBV and can result in further harm to them, for example in instances where they are forced to marry their rapists. The majority of survivors does not report incidents of sexual and gender-based violence because of the associated stigma, fear of reprisal by the perpetrators and a lack of trust in a fragile state protection system.

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Major efforts

GBV prevention and response activities in health services are inconsistent in the Federal Government State, Puntland and Somaliland. Most health services are provided in general hospitals in the main cities in Puntland and Somaliland. Health services are also provided in 21 special­ized multi-sectoral, one-stop GBV centres in the three regions.

The centres provide, at a minimum, ser­vices such as physical examination and urgent medical treatment. In some regions, these centres offer additional services, such as first aid psycho-social support, clinical management of rape, medical care for FGM-related com­plications, and referral to other services. However, mental health assessment and specialized psycho-social services are lacking in all the centres. Collection of forensic evidence is also not available in many areas.

Health services are often difficult to reach for women and girls living in remote rural areas or camps of internally displaced people. Moreover, the majority of survivors are not aware that these services are available and that they are free of charge.

The Ministry of Health’s prevention activities include awareness-rais­ing campaigns that place printed mate­rials in healthcare centres to inform survivors of available services. None of these cam­paigns, however, addressed the deeply entrenched adverse cultural norms that increase the risk of gender-based violence.

Survivors from communities of internally displaced people and minority clans are at risk of further violence and reprisal of perpetra­tors in health facilities. Similarly, service providers operate at their own risk after reporting incidents, as there is no legal framework to protect them. Therefore, the ca­pacity of health service providers to pro­tect women and girls and their own safety is very limited.

Summary of Findings for Somalia

The government’s commitment to address gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, is evi­dent in a number of policy and legislative frameworks developed in the three regions of Somalia. However, implementation in the sectors is inconsistent.