A step toward democracy and rights: Trade unions in Somalia hail passage of proposed constitutional amendments

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Parliament's two chambers have passed the proposed constitutional amendment, which is greatly welcomed by the Federation of Somali Trade Union (FESTU) and its twelve affiliated trade unions, which together represent a total of 173,452 workers as members.

With a heavy emphasis on the preservation of fundamental human rights, especially the protection of the weak, oppressed, and vulnerable sections within Somali society, this vote is recognized as a crucial and forward-moving step toward true democratization.

The country's highest authorities, including President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Federal Parliament, and the Council of Ministers, have made clear and deliberate decisions, and these actions, along with the work of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee (OC) and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC), have been instrumental in providing support and attentively considering the concerns and voices of the civic movement throughout this constitutional review process.

In addition, their concerted efforts to advance democracy have led to the clear formulation of democratic ideals for practical application, which is a brave and admirable step toward a genuine acceptance of the popular vote. By enabling the Somali people to exercise their democratic right to choose their own leaders and representatives, this proposal puts Somalia on the path toward democracy.

As the voice of Somalia's working class, organized labor rejoices over the vital preservation of basic human rights and goals of social justice. This covers the following: children's rights; labor relations, including the right to strike; freedom of expression and opinions; liberty and security of person; freedom of assembly, protest, petition, and demonstration; freedom of association; and children's rights. In the meantime, the next constitutional amendments must provide enough protection for the most significant rights, such as economic rights.

As part of this advocacy effort, sister unions have designated the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) as the main trade union representative before the Parliamentary Oversight Committee (OC) and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC), with support from the Somali Transport Workers Union and the Somali Agricultural & Food Workers Union.

"We have been working nonstop for the last 42 days, initiating the essential campaign and advocacy activities to defend fundamental human rights, including all relevant parties, influencing political figures, and communicating with international allies of Somalia as well as constitutional review authorities. Omar Faruk Osman, General Secretary of FESTU, whose home union is the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), said, "Today's parliamentary decision directs the country onto a democratic path, safeguards fundamental human rights, and, most importantly, realizes the people's vote that we have long advocated for."

The trade unions, who sent 4,847 members to the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC) to make submissions on Chapter 2 alone, as well as observe the proceedings of the parliamentary debates, claim that the process of reviewing the provisional constitution has only recently begun.

This declaration is co-signed and endorsed by the National Trade Union Federation, as well as:

1. Somalia Agricultural and Food Workers Union (SAFWU)
2. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ
3. Somali Maritime, Fisheries, and Port Workers Union (SMFPWU
4. Somali Telecommunications & Postal Union (STPU)
5. The Somali Hotel and Catering Workers Union (SHCWU
6. The Somali Transport Workers Union (STWU)
7. The Somali Tailors and Textile Workers Union (STTWU
8. National Electricity Workers Union of Somalia (NEWUS).
9. Somalia Construction Workers' Union (SCWU)
10. The Somali Nurse Workers Association (SNWA)
11. The Somali Petroleum and Gas Workers Union (SPGWU)
12. The Somali National Teachers Union (SNTU)

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