Puntland pres praises Somalia women, calls for ‘war crimes tribunal’

SOMALIA
Puntland pres praises Somalia women, calls for ‘war crimes tribunal’
26 Oct 26, 2010 – 9:56:16 PM

 

The president of Somalia’s Puntland government opened the country’s first-ever international women’s conference in the Puntland capital Garowe, where he praised the positive role of Somali women and encouraged women to take the lead in Somalia, Radio Garowe reports.

Abdirahman Farole –President of Puntland

Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, the president of Puntland, attended the ceremony held at the Puntland Development and Research Center (PDRC) in Garowe, where more than 120 Somali women from all regions of Somalia and from Diaspora communities gathered for a three-day conference entitled, “Somali Women Peace and Dialogue Conference”, and hosted by the Puntland Ministry of Women and Family Affairs and its Minister, Ms. Asha Ghelle.

“I am happy to open this international conference for Somali women from all regions of Somalia and Diaspora communities like: South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Rwanda, U.S. cities of Minneapolis, Boston and Buffalo, Sweden, Yemen, and Toronto, Canada,” President Farole told the audience in the packed room, adding: “Somali women representatives from Australia are absent,” to the crowd’s applause.

Somali women’s ‘great role’

Puntland’s president expressed his gratitude to Somali women, whom he described as “more blessed” than Somali men.

“On behalf of all Somali men, I want to express my deepest condolences to Somali women who have suffered the most during Somalia’s civil war since 1991,” President Farole declared.

He stated that Somali women’s rights have been “abused by the clan system” and suggested for Somali women to form “the women’s clan”, saying: “The women’s clan will be the most powerful clan in Somalia”, to the crowd’s applause.

President Farole praised a group of Somali women from Middle Shabelle region, near Mogadishu, who had presented a play that he said he has not heard in decades.

“I am very happy to hear something I have not heard in 20 years. I am very happy about the message from the Middle Shabelle region women…I hope it is a message that reaches all Somalis,” President Farole said.

“Somali women are more blessed than Somali men. This has been established in the Diaspora communities where Somali women are more successful at education and at helping their families in Somalia,” Puntland’s president declared.

Farole urged Somali women to “get educated before marriage” and to “marry from the clan that is hostile to your own.” The message garnered the crowd’s thunderous applause.

“During the civil war years, Somali women have taken on greater roles and responsibilities in the family,” President Farole admitted, while criticizing Somali men for a “culture of khat,” a leafy narcotic drug that is widely consumed across Somalia.

‘War crimes tribunal’

Puntland President Abdirahman Farole told the crowd of Somali women from across Somalia and Diaspora communities including many Western countries that the world has neglected Somalia and the “war crimes” that took place.

“The world created tribunals for Bosnia and other countries, but not Somalia…This is neglect. The organizers of war crimes and other massacres [in Somalia] must be brought to justice,” President Farole stated strongly.

He condemned Al Shabaab insurgents who have wreaked havoc in Mogadishu since 2006 and who “want to destabilize Puntland but have failed,” according to Puntland’s leader.

“I declare victory over Al Shabaab terrorists who want to threaten Puntland’s stability…we don’t know if their local leader [Atom] is alive or dead,” President Farole said, echoing the words of Puntland’s top army Gen. Saeed Dheere who declared last week that Puntland troops seize the ‘last insurgent outpost’ in Galgala area of Puntland.

International cooperation and support

Puntland’s president thanked neighboring countries and world governments for welcoming and hosting Somali refugees fleeing war and poverty since the early 1990s.

“We want to especially thank the world governments like the U.S., countries in Western Europe, neighboring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen…in Yemen, where I recently visited, the Somali people are suffering but the government [of Yemen] welcomes and helps them,” President Farole said.

He dismissed notions that Somalia’s neighbors are also its chief enemies, saying: “When the [Barre] dictatorship began its violent campaign against Somalis in Puntland, in Galkayo and Garowe areas, it was Ethiopia where the civilians fled to for safety. It was Ethiopia where civilians in Hargeisa and Burao fled when those cities were bombed…it was Ethiopia where Somali refugees fled when massacres erupted in Mogadishu in 1991.”

Puntland’s leader welcomed the role of African Union peacekeeping troops (AMISOM) serving in Mogadishu, saying that it was Somali-on-Somali violence that ruined the country.

“I welcome AMISOM troops who came to Somalia to help but I want to express my condolences for Somali civilians who died in the crossfire. But we must ask: who started shooting first?” President Farole said, while calling on anti-government insurgent groups like Al Shabaab to “surrender now” as they are unable to accomplish any objective.

“We brought the destruction in Somalia by our own hands. We Somalis massacred each other. We wronged Somalia. We ruined Somalia,” President Farole said, adding: “Let us forgive each other and then let us review our past errors.”

Puntland’s president wished the Somali women’s international conference to achieve a successful conclusion that helps advance the cause of peace and dialogue in war-torn Somalia.

Located in northeast Somalia, Puntland has its own government with security forces and has been relatively stable since the outbreak of the Somali civil war in 1991.

GAROWE ONLINE

 

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