UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Somalia and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) [official website] Augustine Mahiga [official profile] on Friday welcomed [press release, PDF] the recent presidential decree on the Somalia's National Security and Stabilization Plan (NSSP). Somalia [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [BBC profile] signed the NSSP on Wednesday and stated that it was an historic step for Somalia in its effort to promote human rights and the rule of law in the country. The plan prescribes priority actions from short to long periods of time to strengthen the security and justice institutions. The NSSP also contains priority measures that have to be fulfilled before the current Transitional Federal Government (TFG) [CFR backgrounder] ends its mandate on August 20.
Somalia has been urged by the international community to ensure that the country's transition is proceeding peacefully. Last Wednesday the country's constituent assembly approved [JURIST report] a draft of the new constitution with over 96 percent of the 645 ballots cast in the special 825-member assembly after eight days of debate. The new constitution also has to be ratified by a national referendum. In June President Ahmed and the TFG signed [JURIST report] a decree establishing the legal framework by adopting a new constitution convened by the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). During the same 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. In May Somalia was called on to address the issue of legitimate judicial systems [JURIST report] in Mogadishu and South Central Somalia after the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia found that there were significant difficulties in harmonizing Sharia law with modern international and human rights law.