20 January 2015, Mogadishu: Today, HE The President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, signed the Convention for the Rights of the Child. Attending the ceremony at Hamar Jab Jab School were Mr Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, Mr Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Representative for Somalia, Interim Minister for Justice Hon Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, Interim Minister for Women and Human Rights Hon Khadijo Mohamed Diriye, Interim Minister for Information Hon Mustaf Sheikh Ali Dhuhulow, Interim Minister for Agriculture, Abdi Mohamed Bafo and several serving Members of Parliament.
The Convention of the Rights of the Child was ratified by the Federal Parliament of Somalia on 13 December 2014. The Convention outlines the rights of and means to protect children and provides the basis for the Federal Government of Somalia to realise the rights of all Somali children. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. South Sudan and the United States of America have still to sign the Convention.
Speaking at the signing, the President said, ‘The ratification and signing of the Convention of the Rights of the Child means that as President, and together with the Parliament, we have agreed that the Federal Government will protect your rights as a child through our legal system. We have promised you full and equal access before the law. We have promised to make sure that you never have to become a soldier until you are old enough to make that decision for yourself. We have promised to support your families to love and care for you and not to abandon you, or try to profit from you. We have promised to protect you from people who may have bad intentions. We have promised that regardless of whether you are a boy or a girl, you will have equal access to all the opportunities that life will bring you: to have a good education and to get a good job. We have promised to respect your right to thinking independently and to express those thoughts.”
The Federal Government will now work on drafting and adopting child friendly policies and systems, and implement measures to target child survival, development, participation and protection, and provide regular reports on its progress to The Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The President concluded his speech saying, “Any agreement has two sides. With rights come responsibilities. I want to remind you of your responsibilities. You are Somali. This is the first thing and it is the most important thing. You are part of one people, one nation, and together we are creating one future.
“Look to the future. We cannot allow the past to bind us. If and when you hear stories about Somalia in the past, you must not be held captive to that. You must think of the Somalia you want in the future, and then you must make that happen.”