Tobias Ellwood, British Minister for the Middle East and Africa, visited Somalia and Kenya on 2-3 August. On his first visit following his appointment as Minister for Africa, Mr Ellwood reiterated the UK’s commitment to East Africa, making clear that regional security is a top priority.
The UK is the only EU country to maintain an Embassy in Somalia and has been at the forefront of efforts to improve security and stability in Somalia and the surrounding region. Kenya is pivotal to the success of the region, and its continued commitment to working with international partners to build stability in Somalia will be vital.
Speaking at the end of the two day visit the Minister said:
“The UK has strong and enduring links with Africa and I want to ensure that across the continent people know that this cooperation and our engagement will not only continue, but strengthen and deepen in the years ahead”.
In a country where rape survivors almost never get justice, momentum is building for a new law. But will the political machinery cooperate?
For nearly two years, a law that would ensure a measure of justice for survivors of sexual violence such as Maryam, whose ordeal was recorded in a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, has been wending its way through the Somali Parliament. The Sexual Offenses Bill, which would be the country’s first comprehensive law on sexual violence, still faces enormous impediments to passage and even greater impediments to implementation. But on May 17, it was endorsed by a group of high-level Somali officials, representatives from donor countries, and UN and African Union diplomats in what advocates described as an important step towards getting the draft law on the books.