Posts Tagged ‘Somalia’

One million $ for Waris Dirie and her fight against FGM

February 17, 2019

Some prizes come with serious money such as the 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize. On 9 February, 2019 PRNewswire reported that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of the Korean Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) awarded one million dollars (USD) to this year’s Sunhak Peace Prize laureates, Waris Dirie and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, as part of her philanthropic work. The biennial award honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and welfare of future generations. The award ceremony took place on 9 February 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.

Waris Dirie, model and human rights activist, brought the violence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the world stage by raising FGM as an international human rights issue and assisting in passing a UN resolution banning its practice. The Sunhak Committee acknowledged Waris Dirie’s achievements in advocating for the rights of millions of women and girls in Africa.

Thank you for your recognition. Thank you for everything that comes with it, this beautiful peace prize. It’s all I dreamed [of] as a child. All I wanted was peace and to receive this, this is a great gift to me…You giving me a peace prize, it’s because I believe in peace,” stated Ms. Dirie during the press conference.

As a victim of FGM herself, having been circumcised at the tender age of five in Somalia, she quit a successful career as a supermodel and dedicated the past 25 years to making FGM a recognized worldwide human rights crisis. She served as UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation from 1997 to 2003.

Her advocacy focuses on education as the fundamental key to eradicating FGM and empowering women and girls to have the knowledge they need to protect themselves. She emphasizes the fact that until women have equal respect, there cannot be lasting peace. In 2002, she founded the Desert Flower Foundation, an organization aimed at raising awareness of the dangers surrounding FGM. The Foundation raises money for schools and clinics in her native Somalia and supports the Zeitz Foundation, an organization focused on sustainable development and conservation. She also runs FGM reconstruction surgery centers in Europe. In January 2009, she started the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights, an organization founded along with French businessman François-Henri Pinault and his wife, Hollywood actress Salma Hayek.

http://www.familyfed.org/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2019-sunhak-peace-prize-awarded-to-waris-dirie-300792771.html

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/

 

 

Human Rights Defenders Conference in Mogadishu

January 27, 2015

It may not be the most important news, but the simple fact that a Conference on Human Rights Defenders in Somalia is being held in Mogadishu at all is not what one expects. A delegation of the African Human Rights Commission led by Reine Alapini Gansou arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday for the one-day conference.

The conference is a wider and nationwide consultative meeting that will be focusing improving protection capacity and promoting the right to defend human rights in Somalia and to achieving a safe working environment for Somali HRD’s, especially most-at-risk HRDs including the journalists and the civil society members.Hassan Shire, the chairperson of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network said in a press briefing at his hotel.

allAfrica.com: Somalia: Delegation From African Human Rights Commission Arrive in Mogadishu for HRDS Conference.

Horn of Africa specialist Martin Hill passes away: great loss to human rights community

January 13, 2015

Martin Hill, for 32 years a senior researcher at AI on the Horn of Africa, has died. He wrote “No redress: Somalia’s forgotten minorities” for the Minority Rights Group and was a founding member of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in 2005 in Uganda. Hassan Shire Sheikh, who knew him well personally, published the In Memoriam below:
dr-Hill(Martin Hill on the left, his wife Dawn and the author Hassan Shire Sheikh)

We have lost a figure-father, mentor, a dear friend, and an admired advocate who consistently shed light on human wrongs in the Horn of Africa and sided with those whose rights were violated. Dr. Martin Hill passed away on Friday 9 January 2015. Dr. Hill worked at the Amnesty Secretariat office in London, as a researcher and a campaigner on the Horn of Africa in the human rights field for over 32 years. I first met Dr. Hill in 1989 when he led the first Amnesty International delegation to Somalia during the period of military dictatorship. At sub-regional level where many human rights violations and suffering for the past three decades and lack of attention globally, Dr. Hill brought human rights issues and concerns in the limelight and earned the admiration and love of many people particularly Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis. Dr. Hill was a friend to me and to my late uncle, Dr. Ismail Jumale Ossoble, (the only human rights lawyer who consistently defended prisoners of conscience in the dreaded national security court). Dr. Ossoble was a prisoner of conscience himself and was Amnesty International’s principle research contact in Somalia during the 80s and 90s. We subsequently established Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre in 1996 and I co-directed the centre for 6 years starting in 1996 before I went into exile. During this period, I was the principle Somali contact for Amnesty International and I worked very closely with Dr. Hill. Dr. Hill worked with us on the protection and promotion of human rights for Somalis including a sign up campaign during the 50th UDHR anniversary celebrations where Dr. Ismail Jumale Centre was able to garner over 1.5 million signatures including first signature by the founding first President, the late Aden Abdulle Osman at his farm in Shalambood District of lower Shabale region, former Prime Ministers, faction leaders, and civil society groups among others. I particularly remember the first human rights defenders training for Somalis that Dr. Hill organized in 1997 in Kenya and I was part of that training. He was instrumental in organizing sub-regional networks consultation meetings to the run up of the All Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference I 1998 and subsequently the global human rights summit in Paris in December 1998. He also supported our research initiative during our initial mission, Africa Human Rights Defenders Project in the East and Horn of Africa while I was at York University. Dr. Hill was present as founding member of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in 2005 in Entebbe, Uganda. Dr. Hill will be remembered for his ardent support to human rights in the Horn of Africa. He inspired and mentored so many human rights activists who are now working with prominent human rights organizations around the world. He contributed to the fight against human rights violations and ending the culture of impunity in the sub-region. Our thoughts, and those of the wider human rights community, are with his family and many friends around the world. The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project staff, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and the Pan Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, extend our sincerest condolences to his wife, Dawn Hill and children.”

Great Loss to the Human Rights Community as Legendary Dr. Martin Hill Passes On | Mareeg Media.

Somali Journalists mark Human Rights Day with call for more protection including executions

December 10, 2014

Somali News on 7 December reports on a meeting of the National Union of Somali Journalists ahead of the International Human Rights Day 2014 to highlight the violations against the Human Rights Defenders, especially the attacks against the press in Somalia including harassment, intimidation, unlawful or arbitrary arrest and detention. That thinking about the death penalty differs greatly in the world is shown by the satisfaction expressed about the death penalty meted out to the killer of a journalist.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friedrich-Ebert Award goes to Fartuun Adan from Somalia

November 12, 2014

(Fartuun Adan, Director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, Mogadishu/Somalia. Photo: Fartuun Adan)

The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation’s human rights award 2014 recognizes Fartuun Adan’s long-standing and persistent commitment to the human rights of women in the complex political context of a society shaped by decades of civil war in Somalia. Bestowing the human rights award on the director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center also acknowledges that women are no mere victims of violence and discrimination, but socio-political actors, who actively contribute to peace and reconciliation.

[Fartuun Adan is the director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center. She founded the organization in 1991 with her husband Elman Ali Ahmed, who was murdered five years later and after whom the center is named today. After his death, Fartuun Adan immigrated to Canada with her daughters. In spite of ongoing conflicts, she returned to Mogadishu in 2007 to continue her work for peace and reconciliation. The Elman Peace and Human Rights Center advocates for women’s and children’s rights under difficult political circumstances. It was the first non-governmental organization providing survivors of gender-based violence and vulnerable women with legal and psychological support, health care and shelter. Furthermore, it advocates for long-term reconciliation and development, and cooperates with OXFAM, ILO and others to support the social reintegration of former child soldiers.]

The award ceremony will take place on 4 December, 2014, 15:00 h, at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastr. 28, 10785 Berlin. The laudation will be held by Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid.

For more information on the Ebert award, see: http://www.brandsaviors.com/thedigest/award/friedrich-ebert-foundation-human-rights-award.

Human Rights Award of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Honoring some of the many women human rights defenders on International Women’s Day

March 9, 2014

Yesterday, 7 March 2014, saw many expressions of solidarity with women human rights defenders at the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The ISHR picked the following cases as examples that stand out:

You can find many more cases via the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition [http://www.defendingwomen-defendingrights.org/] which brings together women activists and those committed to the advancement of women human rights and those working on gender issues, to advocate for better protection of women human rights defenders.

via Honouring women human rights defenders on International Women’s Day! | ISHR.

Somali Human Rights Defender Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim receives Oxfam Novib/PEN Award For Freedom Of Expression

February 24, 2014

Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a participant in the Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders At Risk at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at York University, was jailed in his native Somalia in 2013 after he interviewed a woman who claimed she was raped by government security forces. On 21 February 2014 he was honored as the recipient of the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award For Freedom Of Expression which recognises writers who have been persecuted for their work and continue to write

via Persecuted journalist in spotlight at University of York From York Press.

http://www.pen-international.org/oxfam-novibpen-award-for-freedom-of-expression/

Committee to Protect Journalists publishes New Risk List: Where Press Freedom is going down

February 8, 2014

The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] has published its Risk List, indicating where press freedom is in decline. In determining the list, CPJ staff examined six press freedom indicators: fatalities, imprisonments, restrictive legislation, state censorship, impunity in anti-press attacks, and journalists driven into exile. Countries named to the Risk List are not necessarily the world’s worst places for journalists; such a list would include nations like North Korea and Eritrea, where free expression has long been suffocated. Instead, the Risk List identifies the 10 places where CPJ documented the most significant downward trends during 2012. Those trends included:

  • High murder rates and entrenched impunity in Pakistan, Somalia, and Brazil.
  • The use of restrictive laws to silence dissent in Ecuador, Turkey, and Russia.
  • The imprisonment of large numbers of journalists, typically on anti-state charges, to thwart critical reporting in Ethiopia, Turkey, Vietnam, Iran, and Syria.
  • An exceedingly high fatality rate in Syria, where journalists faced multiple risks from all sides in the conflict.

CPJ, which is publishing its Risk List for the first time, identified Syria and Somalia, which are racked by conflict, along with Iran, Vietnam, and Ethiopia, nations that are ruled with an authoritarian grip. But half of the nations on the Risk List– Brazil, Turkey, Pakistan, and Russia, along with Ecuador–practice some form of democracy and exert significant influence on a regional or international stage.

Threats to press freedom were not confined within the borders of these nations. Four Risk List countries sought to undermine international or regional press freedom initiatives during the year. Russia pushed for centralized control of the Internet ahead of the World Conference on International Telecommunications. Ecuador led an effort, supported by Brazil, to weaken the ability of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to intervene in cases of systemic or grave press freedom abuses. Brazil and Pakistan were among a handful of countries that tried to derail a U.N. plan to improve journalist security and combat impunity worldwide.

Setbacks in Brazil are particularly alarming given its status as a regional leader and home to a diverse array of news media. But a spike in journalist murders, a failure to address impunity, and a pattern of judicial censorship have put Brazil’s press freedom at risk, CPJ found. Turkey, too, has projected an image as a regional model for freedom and democracy. But while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed a commitment to press freedom, his administration has wielded an anti-terror law as a club to jail and intimidate journalists.

Less surprising, but no less worrisome are setbacks in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Iran. Though Ethiopia and Vietnam have been applauded for economic strides, both countries have lagged in terms of openness and freedom of the press. Conditions worsened in 2012, as Ethiopian and Vietnamese authorities ramped up efforts to stifle dissent by imprisoning journalists on anti-state charges. Iran, ignoring international criticism of its press record, has intensified an assault on critical voices that began after the disputed 2009 presidential election.

In Syria and Somalia, where journalists faced risks from multiple sides, the death tolls have mounted. Crossfire was the leading cause of death for journalists in Syria, although at least three journalists were assassinated, CPJ research shows. Both rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been implicated in acts of violence against the press. All 12 journalists killed in Somalia in 2012, the country’s bloodiest year for the press, were targeted in direct reprisal for their reporting. Both insurgents and government officials were suspected of involvement. In both countries, the ranks of young journalists, many with little training and experience, have been particularly hard hit.

In the full report below you can find capsule reports on the 10 nations named to the CPJ Risk List:

 http://www.cpj.org/2013/02/attacks-on-the-press-cpj-risk-list.php

Murder of Somali human rights defender Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde

October 27, 2013

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped reported that on 22 October 2013, unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde six times on his way to work. Three people were subsequently arrested trying to access the Medina hospital ward where Mohamed Mohamud was being treated. Initially it was reported that he was responding well, but on 27 October AP reports that according to the Somali journalist Ahmed Nor Mohamed his colleague has died of his wounds on Saturday night.

Read the rest of this entry »