“We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
On June 9th, 2022, there was a clash between government officials and demonstrators from the opposition party and civilians in Hargeisa. Somaliland authorities created an unprecedented action that transgressed against democracy and human rights. It is unfortunate that a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution of Somaliland has been ignored and trampled on by the police and officials. Excessive use of force by police on protestors, gunshot wounds on members of parliament, arbitrary arrests of members of parliament, and an unwarranted beating of a civilian, Nimco Mohammed, by the deputy commander of the Birmad section of the Somaliland police force, Khadar Mohamoud Abdillahi Ibrahim. We request an investigation on the reason for the brutal act by such a high ranking official in the police force to ensure accountability has taken place and responsible party has been held accountable for this action.
Apart from the brutal acts committed by police officers, a journalist, Hamza Geele, has been arrested and detained while covering the demonstration. The Human Rights Centre would like to reiterate our stance of state violence against citizens. We condemn all forms of violence against citizens and are urging Somaliland officials to exercise caution and recognize their duty is to protect and serve the citizens of Somaliland. Their priority should be the safety and security of citizens, rather than quelching demonstrations and protests, which they have a right to exercise as it is protected and guaranteed by the constitution. We are saddened that such brutal acts occurred on behalf of the police. As such events might occur, we would like to remind Somaliland government, officials, and police to end the unlawful use of force against the demonstrators and prevent further violence at such activities, by de-escalating the situation rather than being involved in inciting violence against citizens.
The Human Rights Center will be keeping an eye on the situation in the country and condemn any further violence and report on our findings. We are hopeful that a solution will be found between the opposition parties and the government.
Yasmin Omar H. Mohamoud
Chairperson of the Human Rights Center