10th February 2018-HRC- The President of Somaliland, Muse Behi Abdi, signed a Police Act on 26th December 2017 after the House of Representatives passed in a two-thirds majority. The Police Act was first passed by the Parliament in 2014. The presidency vetoed the Bill and returned to the House of Representatives which required 2/3 majority to override the veto of the president.
The House of Representatives secured the required majority on 3rd December 2017.
The Police Act creates an accountability framework including an independent complaint body and procedure to lodge complaints against the police members. It also gives the civilian courts a jurisdiction to hear cases against the police. The Act expressly prohibits the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians.
To increase the awareness of the public on the law, HRC held on 9th February 2018 an event at Hargeisa. Lawyers explained the law to the participants who were able to ask questions.
At the event, the people discussed how to implement the law. Summarised copies of the law were also distributed by HRC.
The panel members were Hibo Adam Gahayr, a lawyer, and Jamal Hussein Ahmed, the Secretary of Somaliland Lawyers Association. Hana Mohamed Abdi moderated the panel.
The other people who spoke at the event included Dr Mohamed Sheikh Ibrahim Hujaale, a senior police officer, Ahmed Yousuf, former chairman of Somaliland National Human Rights Commission, and Guleid Ahmed Jama, the director of Human Rights Centre.
“The approval of the Law is a milestone for accountability and protection of Human Rights,” says Guleid Ahmed Jama, the Director of Human Rights Centre.
“The main challenge now is how to implement the Law. There are examples of many good laws that are not enforced. The fact that powerful people want this law not to work further complicates the situation. That is why we call on the civil society to play an active role in advocating for the implementation of the law,” he added.
The event is part of series of activities HRC will do to increase the awareness of the public and authorities on the law.