Lawmakers of the self-declared state Somaliland has introduced a bill outlawing rape, taking their first step in addressing gender-based violence.
46 of 51 MP’s has approved the law and the bill will be moved to the upper house before being signed by the president.
Rapists now stand to face up to 30 years in prison. The law has been hailed as a “victory for women” in the conservative Muslim region.
According to the bill, all forms of sexual offense will be criminalized, including rape, gang rape, sexual assault, trafficking and child marriage.
“This is a great milestone achieved by Somaliland women,” said Nafisa Yusuf, executive director of the Nagaad Network of 45 women’s organizations in Somaliland.
Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognized as a country. There is still no law against rape in Somalia.
“This law is the most useful ever passed in Somaliland and it will help eradicate violations against women, specifically, rape and other sexual offenses,” MP Ibrahim Mahdi Buba
“Local traditional law used to reward a rapist with the victim he offended and that was really another humiliation women faced,”– he added.
Somaliland’s Social Affairs Minister Hinda Gani said that she is really happy and the law will come to reality in few months.
“This is really historic and I hope the upper house will adopt the law quickly,” she said.