23 July 2008The first women lawyers association in Somalia has been established in the Somaliland region with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “It will take time for the male-dominated legal profession to understand and accept the importance of women lawyers in society,” Antonia Lulvey, UNDP’s judiciary project manager, said.UNDP said in a statement yesterday that the association, which was created earlier this year, currently has five members, with a further 17 women set to graduate from the University of Hargeisa in September. The UN agency has provided grants to enable women to attend the law faculty, as well as supplying equipment, training and financial support to the association.The sole practising female lawyer in Somaliland until last year was Ifra Aden Omar, who currently heads the association. With UNDP help, Ms. Omar provides free legal aid services to women and juvenile cases – most commonly rape, domestic violence, divorce, child custody, child maintenance and inheritance.Currently there are no female prosecutors or judges in Somaliland, according to UNDP, which says it is in discussions with local officials on how to support new female law graduates to practise either as prosecutors or trainee judges.
The couple was accorded a warm reception on arrival by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Trust Board Chairman Ch. Krishnamurthy, Executive Officer D. Sambasiva Rao and other officials. The couple was blessed by the priests at Ranganayakula mandap.The priests presented the Sri Lankan premier the silk ‘vastram’ of the deity while the authorities gave him ‘laddu prasadam’ and a memento. Wickremesinghe described his visit as personal.“The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is getting stronger day by day and I prayed to the Lord for the welfare of the people,” the statement quoted him him as saying.The Wickremesinghes arrived in the temple town on Wednesday evening and had a night halt at the Sri Krishna rest house. The Prime Minister and his wife were later escorted into the sanctum sanctorum where they offered prayers and performed rituals conducted by the priests. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe prayed at the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala in Tirupati today, the IANS news service reported.Accompanied by his wife Maithree Wickremesinghe, he paid obeisance to the revered Lord at the hill shrine in the morning. Sri Lanka’s Minister for Prison Reforms and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan and Minister for Infrastructure and Community Development Palany Thigambaram also accompanied the premier. (Colombo Gazette)