Africa HRC’s opinion on escalating harassment, abuse, and persecution of journalists in Somaliland
By: Human right-center
The Human Rights Center recognizes that critics of the Somaliland government, officials and institutions are at risk of harassment, abuse, and persecution. Recurring arrests and abuse aimed at journalists and critics aims to disrupt the political processes in Somaliland.
Authorities in Somaliland have used underhanded methods to detain critics and journalists alike. While we appreciate the due diligence of the government to safeguard our safety and security, the methods applied are contradictory to the constitution and rule of law of the country. Freedom of expression is a fundamental aspect to democratic processes of a country, thus the increase in attacks on journalists’ safety damages the foundation of which Somaliland considers itself as a democratic beacon of the horn, showcasing a lack of regard for the civil and political rights of citizens in Somaliland and the protection of human rights.
As reported to the Human Rights Center, two journalists were physically assaulted by individuals from the Somaliland Intelligence Agency. Abdisalan Mohammed Jama (Germany) and Ali-Mahdi Jibreel Hassan Sheik were accosted, harassed, and deprived of their personal belongings, including personal laptop, mobile, and had their vehicle windows broken and damaged. These details were shared publicly by the journalists involved. Their arrests are contrary to the codes of conduct used as guidelines by police forces Somaliland.
These arrests and subsequent unlawful criminal procedures make a farce of Somaliland constitution which explicitly guarantees the right to freedom of expression and proper civil rights procedures as stipulated by Article 24 subsection 2 and 3, Article 25, subsection 2, Article 26 subsection 2, Article 27 subsections 1,2,3,4,5 and 6, and Article 32 subsections 1 and 3, stipulating that one can not have their personal dignity infringed upon.
The Human Rights Center condemns the harassment and abuse of the journalists, which is a continued attack on free press and infringement of fundamental rights and spaces. Human Rights Center urges the agencies involved to stop the intimidation of journalists and use common sense when detaining citizens appropriately. Human Rights Center also requests the immediate release of Jamal Ibrahim Mohamed and Ahmed Qani Jama Hersi Tuluh. They have no charges against them, nor have they been brought forth in front of a judge.
Yasmin Omar Haji Mohamoud
The Chairperson of Human Rights Centre