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In Dialogue with Officials from Somalia at the UN Human Rights Committee, CVIA Advocated for Electoral Reform & Security

Samad Quraishi and Hanna Rohde at the United Nations Office of Geneva for the Human Rights Committee, facilitating youth dialogue with global changemakers

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Executive Director Mr. Samad Quraishi, joined by Assistant Director Ms. Hanna Rohde, concluded their dialogue with the 140th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the State of Somalia this past week. The Centre’s dialogue focused on the status of youth empowerment and electoral representation in Somalia, and proposed recommendations to the Committee on improving the status of youth representation and turnout. 

The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, a multilateral treaty guaranteeing the equal protection of civil societies worldwide, was ratified by Somalia in 1990, but never submitted its initial report, due in 1991. The Centre welcomes that Somalia submitted its initial report in 2020, which had been overdue for 34 years.  

The Centre recognises the economic, cultural, social, and political boundaries in Somalia which stifle the ability for meaningful youth participation in the electoral processes. Consequently, the lack of civic engagement in elections weakens representation of Somali civil society and undermines the fundamental principles of democracy. To maintain a strong nation with intergenerational participation, it is vital to educate and engage youth today to create and boost democratic participation tomorrow. 

Currently, Somalia lacks education systems to properly educate young Somalis on democratic engagement. Most education is conducted by civil society organisations and private institutions on the ground, which is of incredible concern to the Centre.

Furthermore, Article 25 of the ICCPR affirms the right of Somalis, and of citizens of other ICCPR-bound States, to take part in the conduct of public affairs, vote universally with equal suffrage, and access public service within their country. Given these issues, CVIA submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Committee before the session to contribute to the information on Somalia with the focus on factors limiting electoral engagement of youth, and solutions the State of Somalia could take.  

As a result of the Centre’s efforts to facilitate dialogue, the Centre was pleased that Committee members took interest on the intersecting limitations of Somalia’s electoral rights amongst youth. Mr. Koji Teraya, Committee Member, affirmed “the participation of [young] voters and the candidates are of significant importance”.  

He further declared “it is imperative to underscore the pivotal role of public awareness and education in facilitating meaningful elections”, also inquiring, “how is [Somalia] addressing the civic education of the next generation in schools, particularly in regions it recently regained controlled of, to contribute to the nation's future development?” Mr. Teraya’s questions towards the Somali delegation reflect the power of youth voices in creating sustainable solutions geared towards the future of Somalia’s stability.  

The Centre’s contributions and efforts in facilitating youth-based dialogue with elected officials allowed for Committee members, and State Parties, to increase their own awareness on electoral issues and youth disengagement and to actively seek solutions addressing these problems.  

CVIA directors Samad Quraishi and Hanna Rohde join Somali Minister Abdihakim Jimaale Aden to discuss the importance of youth representation in developing nations to create a cycle of prosperity

Acting Minister of Women and Human Rights Mr. Abdihakim Jimaale Aden reaffirmed the State’s commitment to pursuing youth engagement, free from cultural and political restraints, and was kind enough to grant the Centre an exclusive interview on the status of Somalia’s political system. The Centre looks forward to continuing engaging with global mechanisms to facilitate youth dialogue and continue bringing awareness to youth-centred issues worldwide. 


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