Somalia: The outdated legal system and the lack of reparations for victims of gender-based violence.

During its 75th session, on 8 and 9 November 2022, the CAT considered Somalia's first periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Mr Huawen Liu and Ms Naoko Maeda.

The country delegation was led by the Director-General at the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development.

Main issues discussed:

The Committee expressed its appreciation to the State party for accepting the simplified reporting procedure, as this allows for a more focused dialogue between the State party and the Committee, and for submitting its first report. However, it regretted that the State party’s report was submitted 28 years late.

The Committee expressed concern about reports alleging that federal forces, particularly the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), practise arrests without warrants, detain persons for prolonged periods, mistreat suspects during interrogations, keep high-profile prisoners associated with al-Shabaab in “safe houses” before officially charging them and don’t inform detainees of their right for bail. While taking note that torture is prohibited by article 15 (2) of Somalia’s Provisional Federal Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the Committee is seriously concerned that the State party has yet to establish a definition of torture as a specific offence.

The CAT was also concerned about the use of female genital mutilation (FGM). Somalia has one of the highest FGM rates in the world, with 92% per cent of girls and women having been subjected to the practice as of 2021. Additionally, the Committee urged the State to ratify the Sexual Offences Bill to protect the rights of girls and women. The experts remained concerned about insufficient efforts to investigate, penalise and prevent human trafficking.

Committee members also expressed their deep concern about the conditions of detention in the country, with particularly dire conditions reported in urban prisons following mass arrests, as well as in Jubaland. The Committee recommended important legal reforms for the fulfilment of human rights, especially the adoption of a moratorium on the death penalty.

Please find the CAT’s recommendations here.

Follow-up recommendations

The State party should provide by 25th November 2023 information on the implementation of the recommendations related to:

  • Definition and criminalization of torture
  • The establishment of a national human rights institution
  • Investigations into alleged acts of torture

Watch here Part One and here Part Two of the dialogue with the Committee.