The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga, on Monday urged the government of Somalia to continue working to increase human rights protections [press release]. Bahame Nyanduga stressed the importance of protecting freedom of expression, noting that, “Somali journalists are often harassed, arrested, censored, even imprisoned, and media organisations are closed down.” He said:
Such incidents risk having a chilling effect on this basic right, particularly essential at a time when Somalia moves towards finalising its State-building process. … I call on the Government to put in place a legal framework that guarantees the freedom of the media, to practise their profession free of intimidation, harassment and imprisonment.
Bahame Nyanduga also called on the government to follow through with its promise to implement a moratorium on the death penalty and to strengthen the country’s justice system.
The country of Somalia [JURIST news archive] has been in turmoil for years due to issues of poverty, hunger and war. In April Human Rights Watch reported that Somali government officials had evicted [JURIST report] thousands of displaced people from Mogadishu in early March. In February Somalia’s prime minister appealed to the US government and US banks [JURIST report] to resume allowing money transfers to Somalia, a crucial service for many in the war-torn country. In April 2014 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] Somali authorities to place a moratorium on the death penalty.