2 May 2021
Human Rights Centre (HRC) condemns the detention of opposition candidates and calls on the government of Somaliland to respect the Constitution, the Elections Act and the Code of Conduct for the Political Parties.
In its quarterly report covering from January to April 2021, HRC documented an unprecedented target of opposition candidates.
The House of Representatives and Local Councils’ elections are scheduled to take place on 31 May 2021.
Human Rights Centre recorded the detention of 7 opposition politicians who declared willingness to compete in the elections. Additionally, three more opposition candidates are wanted by the Police.
During the period this report covers, HRC has also documented the detention of 7 journalists.
The arrest of the opposition politicians contradicts the Constitution of Somaliland and the Elections Act, which both provide politicians with the right to participate in politics without fear of reprisal and to join the party of their choosing. Article 22(1) of Somaliland constitutions says, “every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic social and cultural affairs.” Article of the Elections Act stipulates that candidates have immunity from arrest unless they are caught in the act of committing a crime.
Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud
Chairperson, Human Rights Centre Somaliland