UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has just wrapped up a visit to Somalia, where she engaged with national authorities there on how to better address conflict-related sexual violence, resulting in a new Government commitment to help end the scourge.

Accompanied by Deqa Yasin, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Ms. Patten visited Baidoa for talks with the President of South West State, several members of his Cabinet and civil society organizations. She also met social workers involved in an International Organization for Migration (IOM)- supported Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration project, to assist women and girls formerly associated with extremist group Al Shabab.

Due to severe security constraints, she was unable to meet with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, however she did liaise with women’s grassroots organizations and service providers in both Baidoa and Mogadishu that provided insight into the immense protection challenges faced by survivors, particularly in displacement settings.

The visit concluded with an express commitment by the Government to work with the UN, and the Office of the Special Representative to develop a new National Action Plan to End Sexual Violence in Conflict to implement the Joint Communiqué.