Minister Hautala's speech in Somalia Conference
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala gave the speech in Somalia Conference on May 7 in London.
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Dear Chairman and Colleagues,
Let me start by thanking the United Kingdom and Somalia for hosting this very important conference on Somalia.
The people of Somalia have shown to the world how decisive and determined they are. They deserve all our support, since the challenges they still face are enormous. Consequently, we are going to agree our support for the Federal Government of Somalia’s key priorities, including justice. The firmness of the Somali Government is demonstrated well in its excellent Justice Sector Action Plan.
I had recently the opportunity to meet the representatives of Somalia in Mogadishu. My discussions with them convinced me again, how important it is to keep in mind the Somali ownership. Our common aim today is to support that principle and the Somali-owned and led action plans, also on justice sector.
Justice – including addressing injustices and increasing people’s access to justice is also one of the peace and state building goals in the New Deal document which also Finland has endorsed. As we know, peace and justice are not contradictory factors but highly interrelated. Human rights violations and injustice in a society are often an important part of the root causes of conflicts and hence, inevitably a part of the solution.
Legal institutions belong to the core institutions of any country, and they can only enjoy legitimacy and trust of all people if they are impartial protectors of justice and human rights, non-discriminately regardless of the status of the parties involved. Human rights and their effective implementation is a key element of the Rule of Law. One of the essential prerequisites of a durable peace is that there is no room for impunity; the access to justice must be ensured even to the most vulnerable groups of the society.
We all know that justice sector reform does not require only technical efforts to re-establish and re-construct the police, courts, and the prison system. It also requires the strengthened “Rule of Law culture” in order to guarantee that the processes and institutions are responsive, transparent and accountable. Judicial independence is crucial (and no corruption and political interference should take place).
Let me stress, that violence against women is a vast human rights violation that often remains without addressing or investigating due to many factors, among them non-adequate legal institutions or lack of information of their own rights by women. EU and the Member States have constantly underlined that victims of sexual violence must be assured of the state's protection, dignified treatment and access to justice.
The equal access to justice for women is not only a central human rights issue but also a substantial development issue. Eventually, there cannot be any democracy, if women, young people and minority groups lack equal rights. Consequently, this thinking is emphasised in our assistance to Somalia.
Our current aid to Somalia is annually approx. 9 MEUR - humanitarian aid, bilateral aid, and support to Finnish NGOs undertaking projects in Somalia; Finland plans to increase its support to development cooperation in Somalia; a significant increase will take place from 2014 onwards.
Finland has since 2008 supported IOM implemented project in Somaliland and in Puntland where health professionals from Finnish Somali diaspora have trained local health professionals. This project has been well received in Somalia, and it is expected to continue until spring 2016. Importantly, we also have plans with IOM to support similar type of a project in South Central Somalia.