Communiqué: Somalia/Somaliland Human Rights Defenders Launch

We the Undersigned representatives of the civil society of Somalia and Somaliland convened by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project;

Recognizing that respect to and promotion and protection of human rights as a fundamental basis of liberty and freedom in Somalia/Somaliland – and that various human rights defenders from all over Somalia/Somaliland are working towards that

Recognizing the significant role human rights defenders play in ensuring that the human rights of every person as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights are respected and upheld in Somalia/Somaliland

Mindful of the various difficulties faced by human rights defenders in their work for promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia/Somaliland

Recognizing the need for adequate information sharing for effective engagement of human rights defenders in promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia/Somaliland

Cognizant of the need for having a coordinated civil society action to maximize actions towards promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia/Somaliland

Desirous of the need to enhance the awareness of human rights work through linkages with likeminded national, regional and international entities

Considering the utmost importance of our government to ratify all international human rights instruments

On the 20th day of August, the year 2015 hereby
• Come under the formation of the Somalia/Somaliland Human Rights Defenders Coalition, with the objective to work towards ensuring the rights and freedoms of every person as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights are respected and upheld in Somalia/Somaliland.

• Agree that the newly established coalition will have an independent secretariat with its own personnel.

• Resolve that coalition will be governed by a fifteen (15) member steering committee – which will be drawn from the membership.

• Commit to work to protect and defend themselves, enhance their capacity, advocate, raise public awareness and their profiles in Somalia/Somaliland.
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• Resolve to work according to the principles of inclusiveness, non-discrimination, non-partisanship, transparency, accountability, non-violence and solidarity.

• Welcome other human rights defenders working in Somalia/Somaliland to join us in the pursuit of promoting and protecting human rights in Somalia/Somaliland through a coordinated mechanism.

• That the coalition will collaborate with other human rights forums and institutions in Somalia/Somaliland, the region and at the international level including the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project to further the objectives of the coalition.
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MORE NEWS:

Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.

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