MOGADISHU, Somalia – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s government has once again been ousted for alleged human rights abuses with a top UN investigator citing serious incidents that could put Mogadishu at odds with international partners.
The concerns, it appears, are also highlighted in a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, which is responsible for protecting the oppressed from being opposed by organized groups, and the team could now shift focus to the Horn of Africa nation.
Ms Isha Dyfan, who was appointed an independent expert in Somalia in March when the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, says she has gathered information on human rights violations by contacting various sources. According to her, preliminary evidence strongly indicates that Somali authorities are withdrawing on commitments to protect people’s economic, social and cultural rights.
She acknowledges the country’s armed conflict and humanitarian crises have been exacerbated by the pandemic and a grassroots attack with little or no control and balance, which has enabled the authorities to act with impunity and in complete violation of the rule of law.
“There have been reports of attacks on health and aid workers, excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies that have resulted in the deaths of civilians, violations of the right to freedom of expression and opinion and an increase in sexual and gender-based violence and coercion during the pandemic.” she said.
According to her, she is particularly concerned about long-standing and deeply rooted patterns of prejudice, discrimination and violence that are directed at women and girls every day. The country has registered many cases of violence against the two groups.
“I have continued to hear about rapes and other forms of sexual violence against women, girls and boys, which mostly appear unpunished and force victims and their families to turn to other avenues that seem to express justice. , but in reality you continue to create violence, ”Dyfan added.
Somalia’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Austria Ebyan Mahamed Salah said her government did not believe it was possible to achieve peace and security without upholding human rights. She said Somalia has adopted a human rights-based approach and established institutions to end impunity and violent conflict and ensure the rights and freedoms of the people.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has often been under the spotlight for not regulating security forces that have harassed and intimidated critics. Opposition politicians have often raised questions, claiming that the regime uses the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] to unleash against opponents and journalists.
There have also been cases of pollution targeting girls and women, mainly committed by the Somali security forces and sometimes militants from Al-Shabaab. A number of rape incidents have been recorded in the country where conviction is rare, and it is only last week that a soldier was beaten with a life sentence for raping a minor.
Newly appointed Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who took office a few weeks ago, has already set up a committee to look specifically at complaints involving human rights violations, arguing that the team will ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence are punished in line with rule of law.
For three decades, Somalia has struggled to form a nationally accepted government, leading to cases of lawlessness and anarchy. The civil courts in the country are quite dysfunctional and this case has also led to a number of questions from the international community.