The Hague, the Netherlands – The AWEPA Section in the Dutch Parliament organised a meeting to present the publication “Somalia: A Brief Country Report” to the Dutch House of Representatives in The Hague, on 1 December 2015.
The publication, written by Political Scientist and Legal Expert Ms. Ayaan Abukar in the framework of AWEPA’s Somalia programme, provides a brief overview of Somalia’s history and explores the country’s current political developments.
The meeting kicked off with a word of welcome by Hon. Marit Maij, Head of the Dutch AWEPA Section and Member of the House of Representatives. This was followed by an outline of the publication, presented by Ms. Abukar who gave a brief historical overview and highlighted the importance of understanding the historical context in order to fully comprehend the current political situation in Somalia.
Ms. Abukar then explained the new political realities facing the country today; while progress has been made, Somalia must now overcome challenges such as rebuilding political institutions and implementing a system for free and fair elections. She concluded with a look to the future, and to what the building of a new political system should involve.
Mr. Cees Bremmer, Somalia Political Coordinator, then provided an insight into AWEPA’s programme “Supporting Legislative Institutions in Somalia“. Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the European Commission, the programme is able to provide capacity building for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, help towards the establishment of a parliamentary administration, strengthen of the capacity of the Chair of the House and committees and contribute towards the political empowerment of Somali women.
Mr. Bremmer explained that “the overall objective of the programme is to contribute towards the democratic development of a modern Somali State, which adheres to the principles of good governance and inclusive democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights by supporting the development of the Somali legislative institutions”, an objective that AWEPA is “very proud and grateful” to undertake.
He presented a copy of the “Somalia: A Brief Country Report” publication to Hon. Maij, who then opened the floor to questions.
The meeting was brought to an end by former Dutch State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hon. Ben Knapen, who offered his congratulations to Ms. Abukar for producing “an indispensable guide for the years to come on the challenges to be faced in Somalia” which would help parliamentarians feel a bit more comfortable in their understanding of the country’s current political developments. Hon. Knapen recounted his personal experiences and expressed his hope that the progress achieved so far in Somalia will continue as the country goes on to navigate a crucial point in its history.