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More Than 200 Somali MPs Accept UN Invitation For Training On Federalism And Constitutional Affairs
Nairobi, May 3, 2006 – Some 250 Somali Members of Parliament will attend a six-day training seminar in Baidoa this week (3-8 May) to prepare the ground for a new Federal Constitution.
The seminar on Federalism and Constitutional Affairs has been organized by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to stimulate a dialogue on the Transitional Federal Charter, to help members understand how federal government works and to enhance their legislative and policymaking capacity.
Somalia has been without a central government and supporting public institutions for 15 years. During this time, civil war and humanitarian crises have taken a heavy toll on the population.
A National Reconciliation Conference resulted in the establishment of Somali Transitional Federal Institutions and a Transitional Federal Charter with a five year mandate ending in (2009). The Charter indicates that a new Constitution is to be drafted within two and half years and to be adopted by popular referendum during the last year of the transitional period (2009). The new Federal Constitution is to be based on the Charter.
On 26 February of this year, the first extraordinary session of the Transitional Federal Parliament opened in Baidoa where the Transitional Federal Institutions and Government leaders are working together to establish judicial institutions, including the Supreme Court, and other key state structures. On 22 April the Parliament endorsed Baidoa as the interim seat of government and parliament.
UNPOS has commissioned experts to make a comparative analysis of federal systems and explain to the Somali parliamentarians how legitimate power is shared in constituent political units.
This week’s seminar is one of six Trust Fund projects recently approved by the United Nations Department of Political Affairs to back peace-building and reconciliation efforts in Somalia by: supporting civil and political leadership; demobilizing militias, notably child soldiers; preventing the re-emergence of large scale conflict among militia groups; and resuming commercial and income generating opportunities. The peace building projects involve UN agencies, Somali authorities and civil society organizations and fall under the broad headings of: security, reconciliation, economic recovery, the judiciary; and state-building.
Security: Efforts in this area include the establishment of a National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission and the creation of youth centers for the rehabilitation of ex-combatants. (In the pipeline for implementation)
Reconciliation: The goal is to resolve grievances related to past abuses and injustices. Efforts include: the establishment of a National Reconciliation Commission, now underway with UNDP support; and the encouragement of dialogue for peace and reconciliation among many Somali stakeholders, now in the pipeline for implementation.
Economic Recovery: Currently planned, are efforts to restore basic social services by creating income-earning activities, especially for women, unemployed youth, and especially former militia members.
Judicial System: Activities are under way to develop an impartial and accountable legal system and to improve access to justice. These activities, implemented by UNDP, include the establishment of the Supreme Court and National Judiciary Commission, as well as training for judges and lawyers.
State-building: Somalia needs effective political and administrative government institutions. This week’s seminar (above) will address the role of parliamentarians and involve them in a review of the Transitional Federal Charter.
The Trust Fund accepts contributions in support of peace-building in Somalia from governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and private institutions and individuals.
For more information on the Trust Fund please contact: Ms. Kamar Yousuf, Peace-building Projects Officer email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: PRESS RELEASE United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS)