Nairobi(Mogadishu24)-Human Rights Watch raised concerns over the latest developments in the provisional constitution of Somalia and called for the members of the Federal Parliament to reject voting proposed amendments which reduced the age of maturity, increasing the risk of child marriage.

“Somalia’s parliament should resist efforts to weaken constitutional protections for children, especially girls,” said Laetitia Bader, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Somalia’s donors should press the government to carry through on its claims that it is taking significant steps to meet its international human rights commitments.”

Under Somalia’s provisional constitution, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18. The proposed amendment states that the term child “refers to a person under the age of 15 years of maturity while the age of responsibility is 18 years, as defined in the law of the Federal Republic of Somalia.” Adopting this standard would be contrary to Somalia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as anyone under 18.

Human Rights Watch said that the constitutional review should ensure that a complete ban on all forms of FGM is enshrined in the constitution, which would facilitate the government’s development of a legislative and policy framework to eradicate all forms of FGM.

The Human Rights Watch’s concern came a day before the Somali Parliament is set to pass four chapters of the proposed amendments into the provisional constitution and it is expected to happen today.

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