< < >

2012 | 2012 Provisional Constitution of Somalia

Somalia’s new Provisional Constitution of 2012, which will ultimately replace its Constitution of 1979, includes provisions explicitly on the participation of women in public life and on the illegality of discrimination and violence against them. Art 3 provides for women’s inclusion ‘in an effective way’ in all national institutions, Art 15 establishes the right to liberty and security including explicitly for women. It also outlaws female genital mutilation. Art 24 provides for gender equality in the work place, in particular for the protection of all women workers from sexual abuse, segregation and discrimination. Art 27 safeguards women’s access to economic and social rights and Art’s 111 and 127 provide for their right to participate in the Parliamentary Services Commission and the armed forces.

Article 4 stipulates that ‘[a]fter the Shari’ah, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia is the supreme law of the country’.

In a context where ending impunity for volitions of the human rights of civilians is an urgent priority, it is potentially problematic that the Provisional Constitution asserts certain immunities from criminal prosecution for government officials.

Article 70(2) provides that no member of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament may be prosecuted for a criminal offense, detained or physically searched, without the approval of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament. Furthermore, without the approval of the House, no member may be detained or imprisoned, even in the fulfillment of a final court order. Art 70(4) adds that a special law shall define the immunity of the members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament. Article 78. Affirms the same immunities for Members of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament. It is worth noting that these extensive immunities for government officials are not found in the 1979 Constitution.