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UN welcomes Somalia moves toward constitution

Head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) [official website] Augustine Mahiga [official profile] on Friday welcomed [statement, PDF] the signing of the joint communique [text, PDF] ending the country's transitional governing arrangement. During the meeting in Nairobi in which the communique was signed, the principal signatories of the Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia [text, PDF] discussed outstanding issues and agreed on an official draft constitution. President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [BBC profile] of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) [CFR backgrounder] also signed a decree establishing the legal framework by adopting a new constitution convened by the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). The other signatories who attended the Friday's meeting were the Honourable Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP); Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali; President Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamoud of Puntland; President Mohamed Ahmed Alin of Galmudug; and, representatives of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a.

Somalia has been urged by the international community to ensure that the country's transition is proceeding peacefully. Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] told [JURIST report] officials at the Istanbul II Conference on Somalia [materials] that Somalia must take all efforts to smoothly transit into a permanent government with a new constitution. Since the end of Muhammad Siad Barre [Britannica profile] dictatorship in 1991, Somalia has been working on establishing a legitimate government and has faced difficulties in bringing the country's rule of law to the international standards. In May, it was announced [JURIST report] that the Elders of Somalia were planning to select delegates for the NCA. In early May, Somalia had been called on [JURIST report] to readdress the issue of legitimate judicial systems in Mogadishu and South Central Somalia after the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia found that there was significant difficulties in harmonizing Sharia law with modern international and human rights law. In February, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the country's TFG for failing to prevent children recruitment into armed forces.

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