Friday, March 28, 2003

SOMALIA: Women peace delegates lobby for their rights
NAIROBI, 28 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - Somali women attending the ongoing peace conference in Nairobi, Kenya, have called for women's rights to be included in all stages of the peace process.

Their call came at a three-day workshop for women delegates, supported by the regional body Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The workshop ends on Friday.

On Thursday, the women met the mediator, Bethwel Kiplagat of Kenya, to urge his support for their cause. Somali women delegates have agreed to advocate for at least 25 percent representation in the new institutions, including parliament.

"We will start our effective lobbying soon after we finish this workshop," Somali women's activist Asha Haji Elmi told IRIN. "We are not lobbying for only the 25 percent, but we are advocating a package for women's inclusion in this process, and women's inclusion in every document of this process."

The women's workshop has been reviewing draft reports from six technical committees on core issues of the conflict. Drafts from the key federalism committee recommend only a 10 percent quota for women's representation in the new Somali institutions.

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