Somaliland: President Inaugurates New Office to Combat Violence Against Women

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The President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi, today attended a large-scale event organized by the Nagaad Network, inaugurating the new office for monitoring violence against women. 

Upon arrival, the President thanked the participants and said, “I am very grateful to all the distinguished guests who attended today’s inauguration of the Office for the Monitoring of Violence Against Women and I am very pleased to be here today.”

“Today we are here to discuss violence against women, an issue that has existed for thirty years now in Somaliland. I have not seen a place where a meeting has been held or any action taken regarding this issue. Although it was brought up in the hall of the Ministry of Information at the time Waran Adde was the Minister, and many women, some of who are present here, spoke up about how women are being discriminated against and often violently attacked. I believe we are all united in our fight against the abuse of women because what Muslim would willingly let another human being suffer like this. After all, our religion and customs are both against such practices but the dilemma lies more in what punishment would be fit in such cases? Needless to say, we have to do better or risk facing Allah’s wrath. I will personally continue to raise awareness on the issue and as the government, we will continue to fight against violence on women in Somaliland,” said President Bihi. 

Once again, the President spoke about the severe drought in the country and the need to provide relief to all those affected. In his remarks, he said, “There is a severe drought in the country and rainfall is to be expected in April. Thus we pray to Allah to send us rain soon as April is a long way. Today, Somali pastoralists are concentrated between Borama, Erigavo and Las Anod with many more seeking refuge in other areas as well. I urge all Somalilanders to stand with all those seeking refuge with us in these hard times and welcome them with open arms. And to those of us in the cities, we have a responsibility to open up our homes and share our food with them.”  

Meanwhile, international agencies have not responded to the call for drought. President Bihi said, For the past thirty years we have gotten comfortable with organizations reaching out to help us in times like this. It is a tragedy that we resort to begging every time instead of standing on our own two legs. Today, I am telling the people of Somaliland and those from emerging governments that in early January we sent a distress call to those who claimed to be donors, and would often come to our villages claiming that they wanted to help. Sadly, two or three agencies that brought in less than $ 300,000 have reached out to us. The rest have ignored our call and refused to come to our aid.” 

Finally, the President of the Republic of Somaliland in response to statements from the Mogadishu administration said, “You are all aware of the social media campaign that those who run Mogadishu have waged on us which seems to be a habit of theirs whenever we make progress here in Somaliland. I want to tell the people of Mogadishu that their Chinese friends, led by their deputy minister, came to us and we politely sent them away. We don’t want anyone who is going to strong-arm us or tell us who we should and shouldn’t form relations with. As the Foreign Minister’s delegation told Taiwan, it is not a personal decision made by a minister or even a committee, it is made by Somalilanders everywhere. Somaliland is a sovereign country and will not be easily swayed by threats.”