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Somalia must ensure timely and peaceful transition to new constitution: UN SG

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Friday told officials at the Istanbul II Conference on Somalia [materials] that the Somali government must continue to work [statement; press release] to ensure a smooth transition into permanent government and a new constitution in order to begin its next "political phase." Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) [CFR backgrounder] has been working toward establishment of a legitimate government since the 1991 end of the Muhammad Siad Barre [Britannica profile] dictatorship. Ban commended the conference for its affirmance that the transition would be completed by August. He asked that the Somali government continue to work closely with the international community during the transitional period and encouraged other nations to provide support to the country.

UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Dr. Augustine Mahiga told the press [JURIST report] last week that the Elders of Somalia will select delegates for the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) by June 20, which will convene on July 2 to approve Somalia's new constitution. The NCA will have until July 10 to adopt the constitution, and the new Somali Parliament will be chosen by July 15. Mahiga announced this after returning from a three-day trip to Somalia for meetings with the signatories of the Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia [text, PDF]. Earlier this month, a UN expert urged Somalia to establish a new judicial system [JURIST report] that conforms to international human rights standards. In February, the TFG was criticized [JURIST report] by Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] for failing to stop recruitment of child soldiers. Earlier that month, parties to the TFG were commended by the UN for coming to an agreement at the Garowe II Constitutional Conference [JURIST report] that set guidelines for establishment of a new parliament.

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