Somalia: Human Rights Defenders Trained in Mogadishu

Nineteen Somali human rights defenders benefitted from a capacity-building training in Mogadishu organised jointly by the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and Protection International (PI) in March 2012.

“EHAHRDP takes this opportunity to reiterate its solidarity with Somali HRDs and call on key stakeholders to build on this historic opportunity to work with HRDs inside the country, building on the gradual deployment of UN international staff to Somalia,” said Hassan Shire, Executive Director of EHAHRDP.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) working in Somalia face many challenges in the course of their daily work. Working in a conflict environment has a direct impact on their personal security and that of their organisation, as for many other civilians in Somalia. Human rights defenders are also targeted as a direct result of their work around the promotion of human rights and denouncing perpetrators of violations. Intimidation, harassment and even direct physical attacks have been used with the aim of hampering or even putting an end to the work undertaken by defenders. Three media workers have been shot dead in Mogadishu since December 2011. EHAHRDP calls on the Transitional Federal Government to conduct timely, impartial and independent investigations into the killings of Abukar Hassan Mohamoud, Hassan Osman Abdi and Abdisalam Sheik Hassan. The TFG should hold accountable the perpetrators of these and other attacks on media workers, while maintaining internationally recognised fair trial standards.

The dangers for all civilians, including human rights defenders, and especially media workers, were highlighted earlier this month with the suicide bombing on 4th April at the National Theatre in Mogadishu. Eleven journalists were injured in the blast and six were admitted to hospitals as inpatients.

The capacity-building training in Mogadishu sought to recognise the important work that HRDs continue to carry out despite the challenging and risky environment, and to provide them with strengthened skills for the task. Following the successful completion of the workshop, EHAHRDP and PI call on partners and stakeholders to provide continued support to Somali HRDs. EHAHRDP and PI also urge the Transitional Federal Government to publicly recognise the valuable work of human rights defenders, including journalists, in building a stable, democratic society in Somalia.

Recent EHAHRDP publications on Somalia: “Somalia: London Conference Must Address Human Rights and Accountability,” Press Statement, 22nd February 2012: https://defenddefenders.org/2012/02/somalia-london-conference-must-address-human-rights-and-accountability/

“Accountability for Attacks on Radio Shabelle and Other Media Workers in Somalia,” Letter to the President of the Transitional Federal Government, 3rd February 2012: https://defenddefenders.org/2012/02/re-accountability-for-attacks-on-radio-shabelle-and-other-media-workers-in-somalia/

“Geneva: Investigate and Ensure Accountability for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Somalia,” Press Statement, 29th September 2011, https://defenddefenders.org/2011/09/geneva-investigate-and-ensure-accountability-for-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-in-somalia/

Protection International publications on Somalia:
Interview of Radio Shabelle journalist in exile Ahmet Taajir (May 2010)
In English: http://vimeo.com/39468723
In Spanish: http://vimeo.com/12640893
In French: http://vimeo.com/12173961

Interview Laetitia Bader, former EHAHRDP Advocacy Officer on Human Rights in Somalia (November 2010)
In English: http://vimeo.com/16843055
In French: http://vimeo.com/16843371
In Spanish: http://vimeo.com/18465069

For more information, please contact: Hassan Shire, Executive Director, on [email protected] or +256 772 753 753 Rachel Nicholson, Advocacy Officer, on [email protected] or +256 778 921 274 Mauricio Angel Morales, Advocacy Officer, on [email protected] or +32 2 609 44 09

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