12, Apr 2018 | CJP Team
According to a senior official, Somaliland approved its first law against rape, with alleged rapists now potentially having to face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported. Somaliland’s upper house of parliament approved the bill in question on Saturday, April 7; it also criminalises sexual harassment, sex trafficking, and forced marriage. The lower house had approved the bill in January. Ayan Mahamoud, Somaliland’s representative in Britain, described the law as “historic,” saying it meant that “survivors can get at last seek redressal and have access to justice, instead of being forced to marry their rapists to save the so-called family honour.” Thus far, rape had not been deemed a crime in the country. Nagaad, a coalition of 46 women’s groups, said in a statement that the bill “provides both procedural provisions to support managing sexual offences and substantive provisions on the punishments of the offences”; it noted that people must be made aware of the law, and that resources must be allocated to make sure that it would be enforced by law enforcement and the judiciary.