Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Somalia

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 28, 2021


Thank you, Madam President. And thank you Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed for being with us today. Thanks also to Dr. Shukria Dini for your comments and recommendations. The United States acknowledges with gratitude the civilian and uniformed personnel working in Somalia to serve the international community in an extremely challenging environment. We would also like to extend our appreciation to Ireland and Mexico as Co-Chairs of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace, and Security.

We welcome the considerable progress on elections in Somalia over the past three months, yet it is imperative the current dispute between the President and Prime Minister not disrupt the process and that it is resolved peacefully. Moreover, as DSG Mohammed highlighted today, there remains aspects of the process requiring continued focus and attention.

Because women are often the victims of discrimination and oppression, it is vital their voices are heard in the highest levels of government. This is why it is critical to finalize arrangements for meeting the 30 percent quota for women’s representation in parliament, pursuant to Somali political agreements. As Ireland and Mexico outlined in their July 19 letter to the Secretary-General, women active in the political system are more likely than men to experience harassment and violence during the electoral period. Women candidates have even been kidnapped and killed in the past. Efforts aimed at promoting inclusion and participation should include completing election security preparations with a gender-sensitive lens to ensure voting can take place in a safe and secure environment.

We know societies that empower women are more stable, peaceful, and prosperous both economically and politically. The United States is actively engaged with partners across the globe to support efforts to advance women’s participation in political and security decision-making. We call on all Member States to adopt and implement National Action Plans and strategies on Women, Peace, and Security. Together, we must make it a priority to elevate and amplify women’s voices, ensure they are heard, protect women and girls’ safety and security, and make sure they can lead meaningfully in promoting international peace and security. The world is safer and more prosperous when women and girls are the table, supported, and heard.

As we noted in August during consideration of the UNSOM mandate reauthorization, this is a moment of tremendous opportunity for Somalia, and we urge the government to do its utmost to adhere to established electoral timelines and to continue promoting cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States. Despite encouraging signs, much more work needs to be done to make a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Somalia a reality for all of Somalia’s people.

Thank you, Madam President.