Hargeisa-31 December 2019 Human Rights Centre releases 2019 Annual Report
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Human Rights Centre annual report cover a wide range of human rights issues and is based on the organisations’ monitoring and documentation of human rights issue in Somaliland in 2019. The report is a result of the daily documentation, interviews of survivors, experts and government officials, and review of official documents such as court judgements.
The report highlights increasing crackdown of media, critical voices and opposition politicians. In this year, 2019, the Human Rights Centre has recorded 88 people arrested for cases related to freedom of opinion. This includes 29 people who are journalists and 59 who are not journalists. The people arrested without due process of law and targeted for what they have said or posted on social media include opposition figures, including the secretary-general of Waddani opposition party, Khadar Hussein Abdi, the spokesperson and youth wing leader of the party, Barkhad Jama Batun and Mohamed Sidiq Dhame, respectively.
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remain the primary target of the government. HRC documented and verified
arrests of 29 journalists who were put in jail for their media work. Those
prosecuted were charged with 1. Anti-national propaganda; 2. Publication of false news, 3.
Anti-national propaganda 3. Non-observance of orders of authorities. The
government uses outdated Penal Code which was enacted in the early 1960s and
that predates the Constitution of Somaliland. The Constitution guarantees
freedom of expression, media and assembly. In this year four media
houses were shut down.
protests are not allowed in Somaliland. Opposition parties were refused to
rally at their headquarters, and homeless children who gathered to complain the
harsh situation they live in were jailed for their assembly in front of the
Ministry of Employment, Social and Family Affairs. On the 16th of November, the
chairman of the political party Waddani called out his supporters to gather for
a rally at the headquarters of the party, expressing their discontent with the
government about a dispute over the composition of the National Electoral
Commission. On the morning of the 18th, when the supporters gathered
around the headquarters, they found several trucks of police dispatched around
the office, while others took over the office around 6 in the morning, kicking
the office staff out. On 19th November 2019, the governor of
Hargeisa ordered hotel managers that all meetings and ceremonies not authorized
by the government shall not be convened at hotels.
The report also points:
impunity, arresting people without courts warrants, beatings and politicisation
of the security forces to crackdown opposition figures. Cracking down of public
and peaceful protests and using unnecessary excessive force: the police uses
excessive force against any public rallies not authorised by the government.
- Occurrences of sexual and gender-based
violence with no legal protection. The Sexual Offences Act enacted to protect
girls and women was rejected by the government to implement.
evictions by using the military and other security forces. The evictions were
made without court procedures.
government of Somaliland:
- Carry out
meaningful police reform on the grounds of the Constitution and internationally
accepted standards. De-militarize the police and subject the police under the
jurisdiction of the civilian courts as well as establish an independent
- Police should not
use force to quell peaceful protestors;
- Appoint an independent investigation committee
to examine and report about the conditions of detention facilities run by the
- Appoint an
independent committee to investigate incidents that occurred in Sanaag region
during the inter-clan conflict. The mandate of the committee should include
investigating the allegations of police brutality. Make the report of the
independent committee publicly available. Particular focus should be made on
the work of the Rapid Reaction Unit (RRU).
- Stop using the
military in policing issues. As stated in the Constitution, it is not the job
of the military to police internal affairs.
the freedom of expression as exalted in the constitution of Somaliland and
accept the decriminalization of the media.
the opposition to exercise their political rights including the right to
assembly and freedom of expression. Stop jailing opposition figures.
public protests and refrain from cracking down of public protests.
forcefully evicting people from land and houses. Use a due process of law and
courts in handling land disputes.
a stop to the detention and prosecution of the media personnel. Halt the restrictive orders intervening
editorial decisions and censorship of published matter on independent media
the suspension from suspended media houses and stop shutting down of media
the illegal arrests and detention of civilians and politicians for exercising
their constitutional rights as such of expression.
- Implement the
Press Act, 2004, and stop using the outdated Penal Code.
To the judiciary Commission
- Impalement the Sexual Offences Act;
- Stop hearing criminal cases against journalists
arrested and prosecuted for issues related to their media work. Stop remanding
journalists targeted by the government to intimidate and harass private media.
- Uphold the right to liberty and fair trial rights
enshrined in the Constitution. Hence introduce meaningful reform aimed to
ensure the independence of the judiciary from the ever-increasing executive
reach. Make appointments and dismissals of judges based on fair and transparent
competitive process devoid of clan-based selections.
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