GENEVA, May 6, 2021 — Country speakers taking the floor today at the UN Human Rights Council showered praise on Somalia during a mandatory human rights review that all UN member states undergo every five years. (See quotes below).
While the UN procedure known as Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens, according to a UN Watch count, 78 out of 100 countries that spoke today at the UNHRC—78 percent—praised Somalia for its human rights achievements.
This includes 36 countries that glowingly praised the abusive Somali regime for their human rights record, and another 42 that expressed some praise for the country’s alleged achievements.
“It is shameful that only a very small minority of 22 countries used their allotted one minute of speaking time to apply scrutiny to Somalia’s human rights record,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights organization in Geneva.
“In Somalia, 95% of girls aged 4 to 11 face genital mutilation. Women are at constant risk of getting shot or raped. Somalia is described as ‘a living hell’ for women. Yet this shameful record was whitewashed today at the UN’s top human rights body,” said Neuer.
Below is a selection of the praise expressed by 78% of the UNHRC delegates:
China: “We welcome constructive engagement and appreciate Somalia’s efforts in promoting and protecting human rights.”
Iraq: “We are pleased to see the efforts made in Somalia’s report.”
Ghana: “We commend Somalia for steps to address key human rights challenges.”
Namibia: “We commend Somalia for efforts to end conflict and to ensure protection of women.”
Palestine: “We read the national report and would like to commend Somalia for their efforts to improve the human rights situation by acceding to international human rights conventions.”
Saudi Arabia: “We appreciate Somalia’s efforts at the institutional level which reflect the extent of the positive developments despite the challenges.”
Turkey: “We praise the progress Somalia made in combating use of child soldiers, which is also recognized by UNICEF.”
Yemen: “We support their efforts and encourage Somalia to continue advancing the fight against poverty, human trafficking, and ensuring capacity-building.”
Venezuela: “International community needs to provide [to Somalia] all resources necessary to protect human rights.”