The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Mr Bahame Nyanduga, concluded his first mission to the Federal Republic of Somalia today.
Mr Nyanduga, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, is mandated to support the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) with capacity development and technical assistance in the field of human rights.
During his visit the Independent Expert praised the Federal Government for the adoption of the National Action Plan to combat sexual violence. He also commended the Government for the gradual improvement in the political and security situation, the on-going Federal and State formation process, and the peace and stabilisation measures taken in the newly recovered territories, all of which are critical to the attainment of Vision 2016.
Mr Nyanduga expressed concern at the capacity and resource constraints slowing progress in strengthening judicial institutions which has contributed to the pervasive role of military courts trying civilians. He also called on the Government to keep the commitment it made under the Universal Periodic Review to place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. In this regard, he also urged the Federal Government to undertake urgent consultations with stakeholders aimed at the preparation and submission of its report in October 2015 in readiness for the Universal Periodic Review in 2016.
The Independent Expert said “The Federal Government together with the international community need to allocate adequate resources to strengthen the rule of law institutions and ensure that the interim regional administrations benefit from the New Deal Compact for Somalia. The Government should also ratify key international human rights instruments including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).”
“I also call on the authorities to ensure that the media are allowed their right to freedom of expression as well as to ensure the safety of journalists. At the same time it is imperative for the media to exercise professionalism and responsible media reporting.” He added.
The Independent Expert urged the Federal Government to ensure that it incorporates international human rights standards and principles when adopting legislation including the media bill and counter-terrorism bills. He also called for the speedy adoption of the bill establishing a national human rights institution.
Mr Nyanduga visited Mogadishu, Kismayo, Garowe and Hargeisa during his eight day mission and held discussions with the FGS Minister for Women’s Affairs and Human Rights Development, the Attorney General and other senior officials from the Federal Government of Somalia; the Second Deputy Leader, Suldan Abdulkadir Ahmed (“Lugadhere”) and Ministers of the Interim Juba Administration, the President of Puntland, ministers and senior officials of both Puntland and Somaliland.
The Independent Expert also held meetings with Nicholas Kay, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), officials from UN agencies, funds and programs operating in Somalia as well as international and national NGOs and the media.
Mr Nyanduga expects to undertake a second visit to Somalia before he submits his report with recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015 aimed at assisting the Government to fulfil its human rights obligations.