[JURIST] Head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) [official website] Augustine Mahiga [official profile] on Monday praised [statement, PDF; press release] Somali leaders for their progress in the selection of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) who will be charged with adopting the country's provisional constitution. Mahiga said that the selection committee for the NCA had announced 816 of the required 825 members of the NCA. The NCA is scheduled to convene this week in a nine-day process of deliberation, voting and adoption of a provisional constitution. The NCA will be working with an official draft constitution, which was agreed upon last month as part of a joint communique [text, PDF] establishing a final plan [JURIST report] to end the country's transitional governing arrangement. Upon completion of the provisional constitution, the NCA will be dissolved.
Somalia has been urged by the international community to ensure that the country's transition proceeds peacefully. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told officials at the Istanbul II Conference on Somalia that Somalia must make all efforts to smoothly transition to a permanent government [JURIST report] with a new constitution. Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) [CFR backgrounder] has been working toward establishment of a legitimate government since the 1991 end of the Muhammad Siad Barre [Britannica profile] dictatorship. In May UN representatives announced [JURIST report] that the Elders of Somalia were planning to select delegates for the NCA. Earlier that month a UN expert called on Somalia [JURIST report] to address issues with the judicial systems in Mogadishu and South Central Somalia after finding in Somalia's application of Sharia law and modern international and human rights law. In February Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] the country's TFG for failing to prevent children recruitment into armed forces.