Jan 09, 2018

Somaliland: Parliament Passes Bolder Anti-Rape Law

Photo courtesy of Direct Relief

The country of Somaliland has passed a law against rape. As rape cases in Somaliland have become more brutal and numbers have risen, lawmakers hope that the new law will make it easier to prosecute offenders who can now face at least 30 years in prison. The law comes after women rights activists had been advocating against rape and for stricter laws for years and it will hopefully offer a better protection of women's safety in the country.  

The article below was published by: BBC.com 

For the first time in its history, the self-declared republic of Somaliland has passed a law against rape.

In the past, a victim's family could force them to marry their rapist to avoid being shamed.

Rapists now stand to face at least 30 years in prison.

Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognised as a country. There is still no law against rape in Somalia.

Somaliland's speaker of parliament, Bashe Mohamed Farah, told the BBC that rape cases have risen and he hoped the new law would help stop that trend.

"Nowadays we have seen even people carrying out gang rapes," he said.

"The main emphasis of the new act is to completely stop rape."

The new law has come in after years of lobbying by children and women's rights advocates.

Faisa Ali Yusuf of the Women's Agenda Forum told the BBC they have been waiting for such legislation for a very long time.

The BBC's Anne Soy explains that the new law comes within the context of the self-declared republic being keen to be seen internationally as a viable democracy with functioning institutions.