Friday, July 22, 2016

Somaliland - Human Rights Priority Country update report

Somaliland continues to use the death penalty.

Somaliland continues to use the death penalty. The government carried out 4 military executions and 3 civilian executions in January. In response, the British Embassy continues to lobby the President, Foreign Minister, Minister of the Presidency, Minister of Interior, Minister of Justice, Chief Justice, Attorney General and First Lady to return to a de facto moratorium. FCO Minister for Human Rights, Baroness Anelay, tweeted disappointment at the executions and the EU issued a statement condemning them. The then FCO Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, reinforced these messages when he met the Somaliland Foreign Minister on 5 January.

Freedom of expression and the arrest of journalists continue to be an issue. Eleven journalists were arrested between 10 December 2015 to 1 April 2016.Three more journalists were arrested and subsequently released in May, on order of the courts. Criminal charges have been brought against the Chairman of Ogaal newspaper by the President and First Lady, and against both the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Hubsad newspaper. The Chairman of Foore newspaper was taken into custody on 29 May. Codka Shacabka and Ogaal newspapers were suspended in March. Hubsad has been suspended since November 2015 and Haatuf since 2014. The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) has filed a lawsuit against the Interior Minister who, with his bodyguards, is alleged to have hijacked, arrested and beaten a journalist on 26 March. A Pakistani citizen was arrested and sentenced with spreading Shiite ideology. The UK is providing training to the government to improve its relations with the media and its understanding of the importance of freedom of expression.

Other issues of concern include:

rape (according to the US State Department, 30% of cases are gang rape, 55% of which are perpetrated against minors)
women’s access to justice
limited political space for opposition parties
limited political participation of women and minorities;
unlawful detention, including of the mentally ill
harassment of people with disabilities

Source- GOV.UK- FCO