First Published: 2018-01-10

Somaliland MPs adopt rape law for first time
Law criminalising rape is finally adopted in Hargeisa, has been hailed as victory for women in the conservative breakaway region.
Middle East Online

Major victory for women

MOGADISHU - Lawmakers in the breakaway state of Somaliland have for the first time adopted a law criminalising rape, in what has been hailed as a "victory for women" in the conservative Muslim region.

"This law is the most useful ever passed in Somaliland and it will help eradicate violations against women, specifically, rape and other sexual offences," MP Ibrahim Mahdi Buba said late Tuesday.

After seven years of debate, the law was finally adopted on Monday in Hargeisa, the capital of the semi-autonomous region which declared independence from troubled Somalia in 1991.

Forty-six of the 51 MPs present in the lower house approved the law, which must now go through the upper house before being signed by the president.

"Local traditional law used to reward a rapist with the victim he offended and that was really another humiliation women faced," said Buba, referring to the practice of forcing a woman to marry her rapist.

The rationale was that this would avoid public shame for the victim, who is likely to struggle to find a husband after being raped.

"But with this law, a rapist will be punished harshly," with up to 30 years in prison, Buba said.

Somaliland's Social Affairs Minister Hinda Gani said the legislation was a "victory for women in this country".

"This is really historic and I hope the upper house will adopt the law quickly," she said.

However lawyer Guled Ahmed Jama warned it was too early to celebrate as "the upper house is more conservative than the lower house and I don't think they will pass it without spending more time on debates."

Somaliland's independence has never been recognised internationally, despite regular elections and peaceful changes of government that stand in stark contrast to the decades of anarchy in Somalia.

Somalia -- where Human Rights Watch (HRW) has described rape as "normal" -- has been working on its first sexual offences bill since 2014.

 

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Bitcoin appeal beats ban and warnings in Jordan

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish 'scourges'

Israeli police find missing Briton’s belongings in desert

Algeria gas plant workers mark five years since jihadist siege

UN says over 5000 children killed or injured in Yemen war

European leaders’ response to Iran protests raises questions

Erdogan to visit Pope Francis next month

Iran slams US-backed 'border security force' in Syria

Palestinian suspension of Israel recognition unlikely for now

Jordan to hike fuel, bread prices

Yemen rebels free journalist detained since August

Palestinian reconciliation brings no change for Gazans

Sudan police use force, tear gas against protesters

Both hardliners and moderates have failed Iranians

Erdogan says Turkish military op in Syria's Afrin to be supported by rebels

UAE to lodge complaint over Qatar flight 'interception'

UN says 22 million Yemenis in need of aid

Minorities in north Iraq look to post-jihadist future