Somalilandsun- Despite an appeal to the UN Human Rights commission made jointly by the IFJ and NUSOJ the status of journalists in Somalia still remains precarious.
At the 39th session UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Somalia affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) drew the attention of the UN Human Rights Council about the all-out war to suppress the twin rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association in Somalia, and appealed on the current session of the Council “to send a clear message to Somalia’s leaders that human rights violations – both past and ongoing – will not go unpunished.”
The IFJ and NUSOJ informed the 39th session of the councilthat “during and after previous UN Human Rights Council sessions, attacks on journalists have been unrelenting. The IFJ and its affiliate NUSOJ have documented extensive violations of freedom of expression and freedom of association for the past 7 years. The authorities in Somaliland have intensified the attacks on media freedom since the start of the conflict about the disputed territory in Tukaraq with Puntland (regional state controlling north-eastern regions of Somalia), where 6 journalists have been arrested, more than 10 journalists forced into exile, two television networks had their licences withdrawn and one newspaper was banned. Four other journalists were arrested in separate incidents in Hargeisa and Borame”.
As the two bodies were lobbying for UN intervention in relations to freedom of expression in Somalia said to be the worst country for Journalists, a reporter was murder by unknown gunmen this time away from Mogadishu and in Galkayo.
According to NUSOJ the 29-year-old Abdirizak Said Osman, a newscaster and reporter for Radio Voice of Peace was stabbed to death on Tuesday evening.
The motive of the killing is still unknown and no one has so far been arrested following the brutal act, though the police said they are investigating the matter.
“Many crimes against journalists were committed with impunity but this time we demand the criminals to be prosecuted in front of justice,” said Mahir Jama Aden, NUSOJ chairman.
Osman becomes the second journalist to be killed in Somalia in this year, according to the union.
On July 26, Abdirizak Kasim Iimaan, a TV cameraman, was killed by a policeman at a checkpoint in Mogadishu but no suspect has been arrested.
Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists with dozens having been killed, maimed or forced to leave the country.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has said about 30 journalists have been killed in Somalia from 2012 to date.
In their joint statement to the 39th UN Human Rights session the IFJ and NUSOJ asked the body to “Establish an independent judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate violations and abuses of human rights, particular attacks on journalists’ safety, clampdown on freedom of association and violations of international human rights mechanism”
Stressing on the imperatives “to ensure all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses – including those holding positions in the Somali government now – are brought before this commission to determine the truth, render justice and end impunity”
In the meantime the Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA which has the mandate and not NUSOJ in Somaliland is not involved in the IFJ sponsored presentation at the UN Human Rights session.
similalry SOLJA is yet to comment in verification of the allegations about muzzling of freedom of expression in Somaliland where IFJ and NUSOJ report that in 2018 alone 10 journalists have been arrested, 10 forced into exile, licenses for two television networks withdrawn and one newspaper banned.
Read below full statement