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Somalia: Investigate Killing of Puntland Human Rights Defender

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project is appalled by the killing of Abdi Farah Dhere, a prominent human rights defender on 13th July 2013 in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia, and sends its deepest condolences to his family and friends. EHAHRDP calls on the authorities to ensure that a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation is carried out and to bring the perpetrators to justice, in line with international human rights standards.

Mr. Abdi Farah Dhere was deputy chair of the Peace and Human Rights Network (PHRN/INXA) and head of its sub office in Bosaso region, Puntland. PHRN is a founding member of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. On the night of Saturday 13th July 2013, he was gunned down by two unidentified men as he left a mosque in the northern part of Galkayo town.

His death follows less than a week after the killing of Mr Libaan Abdullahi Farah on Sunday 7th July by two unknown assailants in Gassor neighbourhood, also in northern Galkayo, on his way home from work. Four other journalists – Mohamed Ibrahim Ragel, Abdihared Osman Adan, Mohamed Ali Nuhurkey and Rahmo Abdulkadir – have also been killed in Somalia this year.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of Mr. Dhere’s killing,” said Mr. Hassan Shire, EHAHRDP Executive Director. “Authorities at all levels – local, regional and federal – must take responsibility for ending the scourge of attacks on human rights defenders in Somalia.”

On 14th July 2013, the president of the Puntland state of Somalia, H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud Farole issued a statement postponing the local council elections that had been scheduled to take place on 15th July, citing threats to peace, security and stability for the people of Puntland. Puntland has been marred by violence in recent weeks in the lead-up to the local council elections, after clashes broke out at protests held against alleged electoral malpractices. On 14th July 2013, residents of several major towns in Puntland burned ballot boxes that they said had been pre-filled and sealed. The residents also claimed that the Election Committee had not announced the locations of polling stations where residents would cast their votes. Five people were reported to have been killed and more than ten wounded in fighting in the city of Gardo between the residents and government troops on Sunday 14th July.

EHAHRDP calls for an impartial, thorough and prompt investigation into Mr. Dhere’s death. We call on the Puntland authorities and the Federal Government of Somalia to put in place measures for the protection of human rights defenders and end impunity for their killings. The vital role played by human rights defenders should be recognized and promoted by state actors at all levels.

For more information, please contact:

Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director: +256 772 753753 or [email protected]

Rachel Nicholson, Advocacy Officer: +256 778 921 274 or [email protected]