In Somaliland lawyer has to choose: practicing law or human rights!

May 19, 2016

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 16 May 2016, human rights defender Mr Guleid Ahmed Jama received notification from the Somaliland Minister of Justice and Judicial Affairs that his licence to practice law had been terminated. Guleid Ahmed Jama [for profile see: https://frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/guleid-ahmad-jama] is a lawyer and founder of the Human Rights Center, a human rights watchdog organisation in Somaliland.

He only learned about this when he saw on 16 May a letter (dated 10 April!) which was circulated to members of the Somaliland judiciary from the Minister of Justice and Judicial Affairs, Minister Ahmed Farah Adarre, requesting that the judiciary cease to allow Guleid Ahmed Jama to practice law, as his position as chairperson of the HRC and his work as a lawyer are incompatible. [The termination of the licence by the Minister of Justice is unprecedented as the duty of licensing permissions falls within the mandate of the Advocates Licensing and Disciplining Commission.]

Earlier harassment against him occurred in April 2015 when he was arrested, charged and detained in Hargeisa while working in his capacity as a lawyer at Hargeisa Regional Court. He was accused of ‘subversive or anti-national propaganda’, ‘instigation to disobey the laws’, ‘intimidation of the public’ and ‘publication or circulation of false, exaggerated and tendentious news capable of disturbing public order’. According to the Office of the Attorney General, the human rights defender had allegedly committed these offences through his work at the HRC. This case was later closed. <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-guleid-ahmed-jama>

Seems to me to be a good case for (international) lawyers organizations.

See also: https://www.defenddefenders.org/2016/05/somaliland-minister-justice-revokes-license-human-rights-lawyer/

 

 

2 Responses to “In Somaliland lawyer has to choose: practicing law or human rights!”

  1. Osman Hassan Says:

    A number of articles have been written recently about the secessionist enclave known as Somaliland which seek to portray it as a stable democratic nation.Their sham elections have been touted as a milestone and many of your contributors have been urging the recognition of Somaliland based on this and other factors such as the stability and peace enjoyed by this northern enclave.The rest of Somalia,particularly the south,ravaged as it is by al shabab terrorists and an embattled Amisom backed SFG,is held up as the very antithesis of the idyllic haven in the north.This rhetorical and ideological combat launched by the supporters of Somaliland is often underwritten by that familiar imperial discourse which compares the civilized to the savage,the north to the south and the colonizer to the colonized.It is no wonder that imperial scholars such as IM Lewis and his ilk are often the most vocal in their support of Somaliland as a separate entity worthy of sovereignty and recognition.In pushing for the discourse of a seaparate Somaliland,these proponents of secession perpetrate several myths which are easily shattered under careful scrutiny.
    The myth of Somaliland’s uniqueness and difference from Somalia is shattered bu the fact that all Somalis,from Djibouti to Eastern Ethiopia,to Northern Kenya speak the same language,share the same religion,tradition and customs.Regional differentiation in terms of dialects do not in any way hamper Somalis from interacting socially and economically,and intermarriage between the clans is rife.The clans inhabiting Somaliland also spill over into Djibouti,Ethiopia and other parts of Somalia.And while Somaliland portrays itself as an inpependant unitary nation,the truth is that it is composed of four major clans ie the Isaaq,Dhulbahante,Issa,Warsangeli and Gudabirsi, and that these clans do not all subscribe to the separation of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia.Indeed the complete domaination of the Isaaq clan from the Berbera-Hargeisa-Burao Triangle in Somaliland politics informs the secessionist agenda.The Dhulbahante,who occupy the Eastern third of Somaliland do not ascribe to separatism and indeed have launched an armed political movement to expel the Somaliland presence from their ancestral land under the banner of a movement named after the regions they occupy,known as SSC(Sool,Sanaag and Cayn), under the leadership of Professor Ali Khalif Galaydh, Somalia’s former Prime Minister.They have formed a new federal state known as Khaatumo State of Somalia, which is currently based in Buhodle Town in Ayn Region.
    The myth of Somaliland as the only island of stability in an ocean of Somali chaos does little to convince anyone with even a glancing familiarity with Somali politics.Except for Mogadishu and its environs,most of Notheastern,Central and southern Somalia are favorably compared to Somaliland.they have formed similar administrations such as Puntland ,Jubbaland and Galmudug.Somalia has hotspots of conflict and they are found in Somalia and Somaliland.However due to neglect and suppression of news,the conflicts in Somaliland are rarely,if ever reported by both the Somali and international media.There are no media reports for example of the deadly struggle of the SSC and their struggle aginst Somaliland’s occupation of their land.There is no mention of the the creeping genocide in eastern Somalia where Isaaq militias are depopulating areas belonging to Dhulbahante and Warsangeli clans.There is no mention of the flight of the citizens of Las Anod Town in eastern Somaliland since the occupation of the town by Somaliland.A cursory check at the refugee population in Kenya’s refugee camps will show the presecnce of at least 20,000 Dhulbahante’s who have fled the torture,arbitrary arrests misery and deprecations of Somaliland’s occupation of their hometowns.
    The myth of democracy and fair elections in Somaliland belies the fact that tht most of somaliland’s clans are excluded from the political process.Out of the three parties allowed to run for office ie UCID,Kulmiye and Udub, all are headed by Isaaq and deputized by Gudabiirsi, who with the Isaaq belong to the larger Dir Group The Harti who occupy half of the country are effectively locked out of power.Three of the major clans in Somaliland ie the Issa,Dhulbahante and Warsanageli have no significant presence in any of these parties.It is a formula designed to ensure either an Isaaq or their lackey wins any Somaliland election.There is no room constitutionally for any other parties thus effectively consigning large segments of the territories population to political and economic oblivion.The same formula pervades all institutions of Somaliland,from the civil service,civil society,media and military.This façade of a democracy and free elections is maintained and enhanced by the same Isaaq diaspora that made the bulk of the so-called international observers in the last elections .No mention was made of the fact that large areas of Eastern Somaliland violently prevented the sham pretense of an election in their regions.
    Somalia’s Khatumo state consists of Sool, Sanaag and Ayn (SSC) located between the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the breakaway state of Somaliland. Its aim is to create an independent administration in the northern region of Somalia. Unlike Somaliland, it does not seek complete autonomy and is willing to unite with the rest of Somalia under a federal government structure and still flies the Somali flag.It is led by Somalia’s former Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh.It is Dervish a successor state to the first Somali state,the Dervish state that was headquarted in Taleh and led by Seyyid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan,the anticolonial hero who led a bitter war against the British, where hundreds of thousands of Somalis,particularly the Dhulbahante lost their lives fighting for independence.
    Since the collapse of the Somali State in the nineties,Khaatumo has been invaded by the one clan secessionist enclave now known as Somaliland.The Somaliland administration led by the Isaaq have since commited mass killings,rape and forced evictions of the Dhulbahante of Khaatumo.The well known scholar of Somali studies Professor Markus Hoehne has documented these atrocities in his book “State and Identity Formation in Northern Somalia.”Somaliland to this day continues to kill,loot and rape innocent civilians in the occupied regions of Sool,Sanaag and Ayn.There are no international NGO’s or independent media that operate in these regions.Hundreds of Dhulbahante civilians remained incarcerated in Somaliland jails. Underage girls have been raped and killed by Somaliland militia wit the blessings of prominent Isaaq clerics like the famous Sheikh Adan Siiro of Hargeisa, who issued a fatwa that Dhulbahante girls were lawful booty for the Isaaq soldiers.This region is now like Darfur and the Isaaq have becme the Janjaweed, and the rest of the world is oblivious to this fact.Unlike Darfur,there is no one to highlight the plightof the Dhulbahante people.The Khaatumo administration has knocked on all doors from the Somali Federal Government,Igad,AU,Arab league, to the UN to petition against the Somaliland administration to no avail, and have now been forced to launch armed resistance against the Somaliland enclave in order to stop the atrocities commited by the Somaliland administration,the gross human rights violations,the lack of freedom of speech and assembly,tthhe lack of basic social services,the lack of independent media,the economic blockade, the impoverishment and disempowering of the Dhulbahante people,the blatant creeping genocide against the Dhulbahante people, displacement from ancestral homes,the denial of humanitarian and aid agencies from operating in the area,and the unlawful occupation of the land of the land of the Dhulbahante.
    Osman Hassan
    Khaatumo Forum for Peace,Unity and Development
    info@khaatumoforum.org


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