Somalia: Amnesty International urges new government to adopt 10-point human rights plan


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“The election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in May 2022

Six months after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took
office, his government has yet to make good on its promises to guarantee
justice and security for the people of Somalia. Amnesty International is today
presenting the Somali government with a 10-point plan, outlining the steps it
must take to improve the human rights situation in the country.

 
In May 2022, the government stated that its priorities would
include security, justice, reconciliation, and social development. However,
more commitment and action is required to improve and prioritize human rights,
to ensure accountability for violations and abuses, and to protect civilians.

 
“The election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in May 2022
was an opportunity for the new administration to address many of the country’s
outstanding human rights challenges, and to draw support from the international
community to ensure sustainable change and progress in the promotion and
protection of human rights in the country,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty
International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

 
The election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in May 2022
was an opportunity for the new administration to address many of the country’s
outstanding human rights challenges

 
Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Regional Director
for East and Southern Africa.

“However, no concrete measures have been taken to prevent
violations of human rights, to hold suspected perpetrators accountable for
their actions, or to ensure access to justice and effective remedies including
adequate compensation for victims. The government must prioritise the
protection of civilians by ensuring that all Somali security forces receive
appropriate training in human rights and humanitarian law. The government
should also instruct all security forces not to target civilians and civilian
objects during military operations.”

 
Amnesty International’s 10-point human rights agenda sets
out what the Somali government must do:
 
* Protect civilians in conflict

 
By ensuring members of the military, police, and other
government officials allegedly responsible for human rights violations are
brought to justice in fair proceedings.

 
* Reform the judicial system

 
By creating a credible, fair, impartial and independent
civilian judicial system. Authorities should also end the practice of trying
civilians, including journalists, in military courts.

 
* Ensure justice and reparation for abuses committed by
foreign forces
 
The government should seek reparations including compensation
from the US government and from AMISOM (now ATMIS) for survivors and families
of victims of unlawful attacks.

 
* Uphold and respect freedom of expression
 
By reviewing the problematic provisions of the media law,
the penal code, and all other laws and directives that unduly restrict the
right to freedom of expression and bring these laws in line with Somalia’s
constitution and international human rights obligations. Authorities must also
stop harassing and persecuting veteran journalist and media advocate, Abdalle
Ahmed Mumin, by dropping all pending charges against him at the Banadir court,
and by lifting travel restrictions against him.

 
* Guarantee and adequately resource access to the right to
health for everyone

 
By ensuring proceeds from debt relief process are used to
progressively increase health budget allocations from current 2% to ultimately
meeting the Abuja declaration target of 15%

 
* Protect Internally Displaced Persons and end forced
evictions
 
By ensuring that both security forces and private actors do
not carry out forced evictions including of displaced people across the
country.

 
*Safeguard children’s rights

 
By fast tracking the children’s Bill, protecting children
from recruitment by armed groups and finalising the Female Genital Mutilation
Bill.

 
* Safeguard women and girls’ human rights and protect them
from sexual violence
 
By prioritising the enactment of laws that prohibit all
forms of violence against women and girls.

 
*Mitigating against climate change and other crises
 
*Establish and operationalize the National Human Rights
Commission
 
Tackling impunity, a priority

 
The ongoing conflict between Somali authorities and the
armed group Al- Shabaab, which also involves allied regional and international
forces including AFRICOM and AMISOM (now ATMIS), continues to have a
devastating toll on civilians.

 
Over the years, Amnesty International has documented
indiscriminate attacks, unlawful killings of civilians, torture, rape and other
violations by all parties to the conflict including Somali security forces and
allied militia in military operations. While successive governments have
committed to security reforms, no meaningful improvements have been made, and
impunity for violations remains widespread. This new government needs to
prioritize accountability and tackle impunity for human rights violations.

 
This new government
needs to prioritize accountability and tackle impunity for human rights
violations.
 
Muleya Mwananyanda


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