Statement at High Level Stand Alone Interactive Dialogue on Somalia at Human Rights Council

Delivered by Ms Sagal Jibril, Special Programs Officer

Thank you Mr President.

Following the adoption of the transitional constitution and the election of a new government this time last year, a number of important initiatives have recently been undertaken that include commitments to advancing respect for human rights in Somalia. For example, the agreement at the Vision 2016 Conference in Mogadishu this month agreed that “the government shall promote a culture of integrity, transparency, and accountability.
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” The Somali Compact agreed last week promoted a cross-cutting human rights sensitive approach, and finally of course there is the post-transition human rights roadmap that is the subject of our dialogue today.

In order to see these important positive commitments translated into concrete improvements in the human rights situation in the country, it essential that the efforts of human rights defenders are recognized, respected and protected. Civil society in Somalia has worked tirelessly to promote a human rights-respecting culture in Somalia and to overcome some of the most pressing concerns such as sexual violence, abuses against IDPs and restrictions on freedom of expression.
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They continue this work despite the serious challenges and risks that this brings to them as individuals and organisations.
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From EHAHRDP’s work with HRDs in Somalia, we have identified key measures that would improve their security, including:

–          Concrete commitments from the government to protect HRDs and to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations;

–          Public recognition of the value of HRDs’ work, even where this entails criticism;

–          The timely establishment of the national human rights commissions in line with the Paris Principles

–          The reinforcement of human rights monitoring and reporting both by national bodies and the UNSOM human rights section, including on issues relating to HRDs.

We would like to ask the panelists what measures are envisaged by the government and other stakeholders to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in Somalia?

I thank you.


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.