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Outrage as Somali parliament drafts law permitting child, forced marriages

Jyotish

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Outrage as Somali parliament drafts law permitting child, forced marriages

Nita Bhalla, Mohammed Omer

AUGUST 11, 2020

NAIROBI/GAROWE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Somalia’s parliament has sparked outrage by replacing long-awaited legislation to protect women and girls from violence with a new bill permitting child and forced marriage.

The east African nation has high rates of child marriage and violence against women, including rape and female genital mutilation (FGM). The United Nations says 45% of women are married before 18, while 98% have undergone FGM.

In 2018, Somalia’s cabinet approved the landmark Sexual Offences bill aimed at criminalising a wide range of forms of gender-based violence including rape, child marriage and sex trafficking.

The bill sets out clear duties for police, investigators and prosecutors and provides specific protections for vulnerable groups such as children, people with disabilities and internally displaced people.

It had been pending before the lower house of parliament for over two years until Saturday, when a new bill, the Sexual Intercourse bill, which allows for girls who reach puberty to be married, was introduced before legislators.

“This bill is about discussion. Every MP has his/her own saying on it. We want it passed after discussion,” Abdiwali Sheikh Ibrahim, deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ibrahim did not comment on why the new bill was drafted, but said it was a move taken by the ministries of justice, women and human development in consultation with Islamic scholars.

Ari Gaitanis, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said it would be a “step backwards” for the rights of women and girls in Somalia. UNSOM has expressed its concern to the parliament speaker, he said.

“This proposed new bill, the Law on Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes, is deeply flawed and in serious breach of international standards,” Gaitanis said in a statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The original Sexual Offences bill, which the U.N. and so many others are calling for to be reintroduced, is a comprehensive bill which is more in conformity with internationally accepted standards.”

International donors to Somalia also expressed concerns. Ben Fender, Britain’s ambassador to Somalia, tweeted this was “a big moment for MPs to decide Somalia’s future values.”

“Govt submitted a modern Sexual Offences bill after consulting imams, scholars. Never debated. New draft allows marriage at puberty + says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”

More than 16,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Somali parliament to throw out the Sexual Intercourse bill and pass the Sexual Offences bill.

“We are deeply concerned with the amended Sexual Offences Bill as it sets a dangerous precedent in a country already marred by gender-based sexual violence,” said petitioner Jabril Mohamed.

“This amended bill is harmful in nature to all Somalis but especially to women, girls and children as it does not protect from child marriage, forced marriage, rape and other forms of sexual abuse.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...rmitting-child-forced-marriages-idUSKCN257200
 

EpiiC

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The result of religious indoctrination. This will turn of investors, plus Somalia has less than $400 Gdp per capita.
 
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Pan-Islamic-Pakistan

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OP is wrong, where does it say anything about forced marriages?

You are expecting a nation like Somalia to apply Western laws? As for their culture and Islamic law, puberty is indeed the acceptable age of marriage.

These kinds of sensationalist heading so nothing but promote lies.
 

Jyotish

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OP is wrong, where does it say anything about forced marriages?
This quote:

“Govt submitted a modern Sexual Offences bill after consulting imams, scholars. Never debated. New draft allows marriage at puberty + says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”

This implies that marriage is allowed with the consent of the family, but that does not mean that the person who is to be married, has given his or her consent. If the person has not given his or her consent, this is then a forced marriage, even though it is legal.

You are expecting a nation like Somalia to apply Western laws?
I do not expect them to apply Western laws.

I only expect them to think critically and ask themselves if children should be married.

As for their culture and Islamic law, puberty is indeed the acceptable age of marriage.
It is not. When a child reaches puberty, this is only the beginning of their physical development.

It makes more sense that marriage should only be allowed when a person's physical development is complete.

These kinds of sensationalist heading so nothing but promote lies.
The heading comes from journalists who work for the Reuters news agency.

I do not find the heading sensationalist nor promoting any lies.

The heading reflects the content of the article well.
 

-blitzkrieg-

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The result of religious indoctrination. This will turn of investors, plus Somalia has less than $400 Gdp per capita.
says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”
FGM, marrying someone before puberty or without his/her consent all this has nothing to do with islam...cultural stuff people use religion as a cover..
 
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Indos

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OP is wrong, where does it say anything about forced marriages?

You are expecting a nation like Somalia to apply Western laws? As for their culture and Islamic law, puberty is indeed the acceptable age of marriage.

These kinds of sensationalist heading so nothing but promote lies.
Thats true, I am actually sexually capable to marry any women starting at 14 years old, while women is even younger in getting their puberty.
 

Pan-Islamic-Pakistan

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“Govt submitted a modern Sexual Offences bill after consulting imams, scholars. Never debated. New draft allows marriage at puberty + says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”

This implies that marriage is allowed with the consent of the family, but that does not mean that the person who is to be married, has given his or her consent. If the person has not given his or her consent, this is then a forced marriage, even though it is legal.
I will need a neutral source from an actual Somalian before passing blame on a whole country. I find it unbelievable.
 

Hack-Hook

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Ibrahim did not comment on why the new bill was drafted, but said it was a move taken by the ministries of justice, women and human development in consultation with Islamic scholars.
“Govt submitted a modern Sexual Offences bill after consulting imams, scholars. Never debated. New draft allows marriage at puberty + says a forced marriage is one where the family (not individual) doesn’t consent.”
OP is wrong, where does it say anything about forced marriages?

You are expecting a nation like Somalia to apply Western laws? As for their culture and Islamic law, puberty is indeed the acceptable age of marriage.

These kinds of sensationalist heading so nothing but promote lies.
I wonder how these scholar can call themselves Islamic scholar and Imam when they are not aware the main condition of a correct marriage n Islam is that both Man and woman consent to it and if you force them the marriage by default is void in Islam. honestly some times I think their Islam in Africa is a lot different from the Islam we practice in Asia.there clearly is a serious need to reeducate these African Imam. several month ago there was news that said one of these Imams allowed a man marry to sister which is again not allowed.
So...18 right?
show me evidence that these magical 18 years old is anything but some contracts between some scholar and prove to me a 16 or 17 years old is different from a 18 years old or 19 years old
 

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