AFRICA/SOMALIA - "Decisive moment to rebuild the Somali State," says the Bishop of Djibouti

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "In these 21 years (since the fall of Siad Barre, ed.) it seems that this is the best time for the rebirth of the Somali State. Certainly we are facing a critical phase in the history of Somalia " says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, commenting on the investiture of the new Somali Federal Parliament, which gathered for the first time yesterday, August 20, at the airport in Mogadishu. The previous Somali Parliamentary Assemblies gathered abroad for security reasons (in 2000 in Djibouti and Kenya in 2004).
The new parliament, which will take the place of the institutions of transitions, consists of 275 members appointed by the 135 tribal leaders and whose names are confirmed by a special committee. Among them are several representatives of the Somali Diaspora in Europe and the United States.
The fact that Parliament gathered for the first time in Somalia shows there is some improvement (albeit relative) concerning security conditions in the Country. "In speaking with our Somali partners we feel a new hope and a more positive view of the situation in the country" says to Fides Agency Maria Grazia Krawczyk, head of Caritas Somalia.
Mgr. Bertin warns: "We hope to be able to move ahead without any major hitches along the route taken. Of course it is necessary that the Somali political class carries out its job and that the international community does not think that it has finished its task, because the Somalis still need an accompaniment in a phase that again, seems to be crucial for the future of Somalia. "
Parliament was formed on the basis of the new provisional Constitution approved on 1 August by 825 members of the National Constituent Assembly. The Constitution reaffirms the sovereignty and unity of the Country, including the independent region of Somaliland and the "autonomous" of Puntland. It declares the supremacy of the Shari'ah, and prohibits any law that is against its principles.
The text is divided into 15 chapters. The second is dedicated to human rights and provides that all fundamental freedoms are also protected by law against public authorities. Particular attention is given to the prohibition of using children under 18 in armed conflict and the practice of female circumcision. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/08//2012)