The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has held a four-days training workshop to sensitize youth on their role in advocacy, safeguarding human rights and promoting peace-building in the country.
The workshop was jointly organized by UNSOM Human Rights Section and the African Development Trust (ADT) which is a non-governmental organization working for communities in Somalia.
Participants included out-of-school youth and students from different tertiary institutions including Mogadishu University and Simad University.
Ms. Muna Abuagla, the UNSOM Human Rights Officer said, that UNSOM is keen to continue supporting the youth, enhancing their civic awareness as well as their empowerment.
“I am very happy to work closely with students and with youth. They are very enthusiastic about this workshop. They have expressed their will and concern to learn and they are asking a lot of questions and are willing to also communicate the knowledge and experience to others. These young people are fully aware of what they are doing and have an idea about what they want. The students in the universities are very young, nevertheless they have good conception and realization and know exactly what their role will be in either college or university,” she said.
Ms. Khadro Dahir Hassan, one of the female participants said, that they had acquired a lot of knowledge from the training workshop.
“A workshop like this one enable us to discuss issues about human rights that are beneficial to us in many ways. The youth will be people who can speak out, will have the power to negotiate for their rights and they are going to understand a lot of things that they currently don’t understand,” said Ms. Khadro Dahir Hassan
Mr. Mubashir Mohamed Ahmed, another participant added, that it is important for Somali youth to know their role and to speak out on issues of human rights and freedom because they are currently vulnerable to human rights abuses.
“Youth in Somalia have rights, like any other. These rights disappeared with the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre’s Government. UNSOM Human Rights Section and African Development Trust (ADT) are supporting us to know more about human rights, to know more about peace-building and to give us more opportunities to speak out on issues of human rights and peace-building,” he noted.
Mr. Ahmed Abdihayi Muse from the African Development Trust program coordinator said, that the decision to partner with UNSOM to train youth in human rights arose from an assessment, which established that awareness of human rights issues is low among the youth.
Areas covered during the training workshop include human rights principles and mechanisms, the Somali Constitution and the stipulated Bill of Rights in the Constitution; the national laws enshrining the principle of human rights, as well as the intersection between Somali traditions, the Sharia law and international human rights law in respect to advancing equality and upholding human dignity.