Consultation meeting for Coalition members, religious leaders, women and youth groups on child rights bill in Somalia

During the meeting, participants expressed concerns about certain articles in the Child Rights Bill that they believed were influenced by Western values and ideologies. They highlighted the importance of ensuring that the bill respects Somali culture and Islamic Sharia principles. Specifically, participants raised concerns about provisions that might be interpreted as encouraging the forced separation of children from their parents, citing examples from the Somali diaspora communities in countries like Sweden and Denmark.

To address these concerns, participants engaged in in-depth discussions on the articles of the bill that were considered problematic. They explored alternative approaches that would align with Somali cultural norms and Islamic principles while still protecting and promoting the rights of children. The discussions were characterized by a spirit of collaboration and a shared commitment to finding solutions that would address the concerns raised by stakeholders.

Throughout the meeting, facilitator Ubaid Hersi Hashi employed various techniques to ensure a participatory and inclusive environment. Brainstorming sessions allowed participants to freely share their perspectives, while storytelling and slide presentations provided additional context and examples. Group discussions promoted dialogue and allowed participants to engage in collective problem-solving.

Ground rules were established at the beginning of the meeting to ensure respectful and constructive interactions among participants. This created a safe space for open and honest discussions, where differing viewpoints could be expressed and debated.

As the meeting progressed, participants actively analyzed and debated specific articles of the Child Rights Bill. Articles such as 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 18, 21, 23, 26, 28, 34, 35, 41, 44, 54, 69, 75, and 80 were specifically discussed, with participants providing insights, perspectives, and recommendations. The discussions revolved around the right of children to practice their religion, the concept of the best interest of the child, children’s right to express their views based on their age, privacy rights for children, child circumcision, and the treatment of children in conflict with the law, among other topics.

The meeting spanned four days, allowing ample time for thorough discussions, deliberations, and negotiations. The participatory approach ensured that all participants had an opportunity to contribute their knowledge and expertise, fostering a sense of ownership and collective responsibility for the outcome of the meeting.

Overall, the meeting provided a platform for stakeholders to address concerns about the Child Rights Bill and work towards finding consensus on the articles in question. The discussions aimed to reconcile the bill with Somali cultural values and Islamic principles, while still upholding the rights and well-being of children in Somalia.

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