LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, comments on yesterday’s convictions in a rape case in Somalia.
Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said:
“The UK is very concerned by the conviction yesterday of a woman in Somalia who alleged that she was raped, and of the journalist who investigated her case.
“The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about this case during the Somali President’s visit to the UK this week. The President gave the Foreign Secretary assurances that his government takes a zero-tolerance approach to the perpetrators of sexual violence.
“We will be following up the case with the Somali Government. It is vital that the rights of both the individuals involved in this case are respected, including the right to a fair and transparent judicial process and the right of appeal. And it is essential that victims of rape or sexual violence are able to report such crimes without recrimination.
“We welcome the Somali Government’s plans to strengthen their police and justice system so that the rule of law can be established throughout Somalia. This case demonstrates the necessity to reform the judicial system. We have pledged to support their efforts, and have agreed with the Somali Government both to challenge impunity of perpetrators of sexual violence and to develop pilot programmes under the Foreign Secretary’s Prevent Sexual Violence Initiative. Both of these themes will be important components of the Somalia Conference in May.”