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Zahra Ali Samantar

Minister of Women and Human Rights, Somalia

Hon. Samantar is a long time human rights activist. This is her second tenure as Minister in Somalia. She has during her time at this current ministry worked hard to launch the National Gender Policy formulation process, aiming to ensure that gender equality is set firmly as government policy. Her Excellency, is now in the process of implementing the Somali National Human Rights Roadmap, which is a broad based document designed to ensure that human rights promotion and protection is anchored in policy and government programs. In addition, her ministry is finalising the first ever Sexual Offences Bill in Somalia, which is a significant milestone in the protection of women’s rights. As one of three women in a cabinet of 25 ministers, her task is not easy. However, Madam Zahra believes firmly in empowering women and the vulnerable before one can even speak of societal stability and progress. She has strongly advocated and supported the inclusion of women in national governance and political processes, including the National Consultative Forum (NCF) launched late 2015 to discuss and decide on the most appropriate electoral model to ensure a transparent political transition in 2016. Her advocacy work as a minister helped secure that women in the 2016 election will have a minimum amount of reserved parliamentary seats of 30%, a groundbreaking achievement in Somali politics.