17/01/06 (B333-A) LDDH : Messages de solidarité et soutien aux journalistes somalis.


Le Président

DIFFUSION D’INFORMATION
DU 17 JANVIER 2006
SUR LE MESSAGE DE SOLIDARITE
AUX JOURNALISTES SOMALIS.


La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) s’associe avec le Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme de l’Afrique de l’Est et de la Corne d’Afrique (EHAHRDN) et demande aux Autorités Somalies de mette fin aux harcèlements et à l’emprisonnement infondés des journalistes et des techniciens de Radio Las Anod.

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) demande aux Autorités concernées de relâcher rapidement MM. Faysal Jama’ Adan, Jamal Suleyman Warsama, Directeur et Editeur, ainsi qu’un technicien de Radio Las Anod.

M. NOEL ABDI Jean-Paul

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EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK

Public Statement

EHAHRDN Index: SOMA 003/005/2006 (Public)
16 January 2006

KAMPALA: MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF SOMALI JOURNALISTS

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) welcomes the release of Faysal Jama’ Adan, Jamal Suleyman Warsame Director, Editor, and a technician of Radio Las Anod respectively. The three were arrested allegedly due to divisive programmes that were running on the station concerning vaccination of various diseases.

Whereas the EHAHRD-Net welcomes the release of the said victims, it wishes to remind the Federal Government that Media freedom is not granted by the government but is a provision of international human rights instruments which must be adhered to.

“The act by the Regional Security Committee of releasing the victims while on the other hand keeping the radio station closed cannot be seen as an act of goodwill. People must be free to give their opinions not only on vaccination but any other issues that concern them, without interference from those in authority,” says Hassan Shire Sheikh the Chairperson of EHAHRD-Net. “The media is a watchdog of society and plays an important role of ensuring accountability, checks and balances in public offices. This mandate cannot be achieved when the journalists’ freedom of _expression is being unduly hindered by the strong arm of government authorities and to this end, government must desist from any actions calculated to create media bias,” Shire adds.

The Network emphasizes the responsibility of the Somali Federal Government towards the media fraternity and asks for the observance of freedom of speech as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration clearly states in Article 19, that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and _expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers […]” herein lies the inalienable freedom of the press.

BACKGROUND

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) recently broke the news of fresh attacks on journalists by police forces in Las Anod City of Sool, later closing down Radio Las Anod. NUSOJ is a founding member of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net)

The Saturday morning police raid on the station saw the
arrest of the Director, Faysal Jama’ Adan, Editor of the Radio Jamal Suleyman Warsame and a technician though the case against them could not immediately be verified.

Reports however say that the arrest followed allegations that the station was airing divisive views of the people in Las Anod concerning diversion of children’s vaccination program from Las Anod to Garowe, the headquarters of Puntland. The vaccination against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Measles,
Hepatitis and Tetanus was scheduled to start in Las Anod on Saturday 14 January.

APPEAL

EHAHRD-Net calls upon the Somali authorities to stop the harassment of journalists and undue threats to their genuine mandate of providing the listeners with balanced information. Such arrests without prior warning or consensus on the flow of events send scare waves to the rest of the media fraternity and must be stopped.

EHAHRD-Net further calls for the immediate re-opening of Radio Las Anod and assures the media fraternity in Somalia of full support in trying to ensure total observance of internationally recognised human rights instruments that guarantee their freedom.

Brief background of EHAHRDN:

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) brings together over 65 human rights organizations from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and international partners; Canada, Germany, Norway, UK, the U.S and the Netherlands.

The Network with its Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda, envisions a region in which the human rights of every citizen as stipulated in the UDHR are respected and upheld. Its mission is to maximize the protection of Human Rights Defenders working in the region and to enhance the awareness of human rights work through linkages with national, regional and international like-minded entities.

The Objectives of the Network are:
To protect and defend HRDs in the region
To build the capacity of HRDs and
To advocate and raise public awareness and profiles of HRDs

For further information, please contact:
Tumusiime Kabwende Deo
Press Officer
Regional Coordination Office
EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS PROJECT EHAHRDP)
Human Rights House, Plot 1853, Lulume Rd., Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Phone: +256-41-510263(general) /ext.112
+256-41-267118(direct)
Mobile: +256-71-943390
Fax: +256-41-267117
E-mail: ehahrdp@yahoo.ca,
tumusiimedeo@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.yorku.ca/crs/AHRDP/home.htm

Regional Coordination Office
EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS PROJECT (EHAHRDP)
Human Rights House, Plot 1853, Lulume Rd., Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Phone: +256-41-510263(general)/ext.112
+256-41-267118(direct)
Fax: +256-41-267117
E-mail: ehahrdp@yahoo.ca, hshire@yorku.ca
Website: http://www.yorku.ca/crs