The UN’s Independent Human Rights Expert on Somalia gave Somalia a vote of confidence on human rights today during a meeting with the Prime Minister in Mogadishu.
Shamsul Bari said he had made previous visits to Somalia when he had been disheartened by the human rights situation. That situation had now changed.
“My heart is much lighter and full of hope on this visit,” Mr Bari said. “I’m hopeful because the rule of law and justice are taking root. People can relate to the government. There’s a bright future ahead.”
His Excellency Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon welcomed Mr Bari to Mogadishu and reiterated the government’s commitment to upholding human rights, emphasizing a number of steps it was taking.
In February, the government established an Independent Task Force on Human Rights with a limited, three-month mandate to investigate the killings of journalists and sexual violence against women. Working in close consultation with the UN’s Mr Bari, the government will adopt a Somali-owned Human Rights Road Map later this summer. It will also be announcing a new Directorate General for Human and Minority Rights and Rule of Law.
“We have laws protecting human rights and the governments political agenda will support those laws,” the Prime Minister said. “We know that the world is watching Somalia closely and we are fine with that. We will take the criticism we receive in this area constructively. We are working towards a position where there are no human rights violations in Somalia and we abide with human rights best international practice. We haven’t yet reached that point, but our direction of travel is entirely positive.”
Horseed Media 2013