International Development written question – answered on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on women's rights in Somalia; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell The Secretary of State for International Development

I received letters from non-government organisations and MPs highlighting the importance of women's rights in Somalia in the run up to the London Conference on Somalia. I also discussed these issues during my recent visit to Somalia.

The Government recognise the serious human rights violations that women face in Somalia and we are committed to helping to address them. The London Conference on Somalia communiqué recognises the importance of women's participation in the political process and calls for action to address the human rights violations and abuses faced by women and children.

Equality and protection of women lies at the heart of our development programme in Somalia. We support women's inclusion in policy dialogue through our civil society funding; we have helped establish the first women's unit at the Attorney-General's Office in Somaliland; and our health support has seen a doubling of births attended by skilled birth attendants in Gedo region.

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