21/03/08 (B439) LDDH / DIFFUSION D’INFORMATION DU 20 MARS 2008. Déclaration Commune à Genève sur la SOMALIE.

Le Président


DU 20 MARS 2008.

Déclaration Commune à Genève

sur la SOMALIE.

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) demande, suite à la
cinquième commémoration des centaines de milliers de civils victimes du «
Terrorisme d’Etat de l’Administration Bush » en Irak, le retour des Troupes
Armées des Etats-Unis au pays , et ce, dans les meilleurs délais.

La République de Somalie est, elle aussi, soumise depuis plus d’an, à une
nouvelle forme d’occupation par des Forces Ethiopiennes soutenues par les
bombardements des USA Air Forces, avec plus de deux millions de réfugiés et
de personnes déplacées, sans compter les dizaines et dizaines de milliers de
personnes assassinées ou disparues.

C’est un véritable GÉNOCIDE.

Un retrait immédiat des Troupes d’Occupation s’impose.

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) n’a cessé depuis des mois
de dénoncer les crimes de guerre et le génocide perpétrés par des Forces
d’Occupations étrangères dans un pays Africain indépendant. L’Ethiopie
est considérée par les populations victimes comme des Forces coloniales,
d’ailleurs depuis ces derniers temps la « Somalie Occidentale » ou OGADEN
connaît de nouvelles formes de crimes collectifs intolérables et le régime
d’Addis Abeba doit être condamnée sans ambiguïté.

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) diffuse, ci-après en
anglais, une Déclaration du 20 mars 08, et un aperçu – du 18 mars – sur les
évènements dramatiques en Somalie, présentés par Hassan Shireh Président du
Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme de l’EHAHRD.

M. NOEL ABDI Jean-Paul


Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to you in order to update you on the Somalia event which we
held yesterday at the Human Rights Council in Geneva aimed at raising
international attention to the current human rights violations taking place
in Somalia.

We were honoured to welcome on the panel Dr Ghanim Alnajjar, the Independent
Expert of the Secretary General on Somalia, Martin Hill, Amnesty
International Researcher on the Horn of Africa, Omar Faruk Osman, Executive
Director of the National Union of Somali Journalists and Julie De Rivero,
Human Rights Watch Geneva Director, Hassan Shire Sheikh, the Chairperson of
EHAHRD/Net was also on the panel.

Dr Alnajjar, whose mandate will be reviewed during the current Council
session, sought to stress that the current attention accorded to Somalia by
the international community is inadequate and generally misdirected.
Political issues continue to dominate the discussions and thus, as a result,
the human rights situation is neglected and ignored at a terrible cost to
civilians and in particular human rights defenders (HRDs).

There is currently no human rights presence in Somalia and yet as Mr Hill
pointed out no meaningful or successful political process or elections will
take place until freedom of expression is guaranteed in the country. Once
again this reveals the extent to which a human rights presence is
fundamental in Somalia and key to ensuring that a lasting and meaningful
peace can be established.

The presentations by Mr Shire Sheikh and Mr Faruk Osman stressed the urgency
of the current human rights situation and in particular the tragic
curtailment of independent media and attacks on Somali journalists that have
been occurring since late 2007. Somalia is at present the second most
dangerous place in the world to be a journalist, after Irak; yet, as Ms De
Rivero pointed out despite the terrible violations being committed against
journalists the international media and their international counterparts
largely continues to overlook this conflict.

All participants stressed the need for the international community and
particularly the Human Rights Council to react; they therefore urged council
members to pay attention to Somalia and to ensure that the human rights
situation is finally given the importance that it deserves and that a human
rights presence is established on the Somali territory.

Of particular concern to all the panellists was the issue of accountability.
At present all those perpetrating these violations, from governmental
forces, to Ethiopian troops to clan based militias are largely being granted
impunity. Perpetrators are in fact largely able to deny these facts as was
highlighted during the event when the Ethiopian delegation denied claims
that they had detained a Somali journalist and taken him to Ethiopia.

We would like to encourage you to give the human rights situation in Somalia
the attention that it deserves in your work and campaigns.

Please find below the statement presented by Hassan Shire Sheikh during the
panel along with a photo of the panellists.

Thank you

Hassan Shire Sheikh


East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project/Network


East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

Tuesday 18th March 2008

Parallel Event on Somalia, Human Rights Defenders in Crisis

Address by Hassan Shire Sheikh Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa
Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net)


First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Ghanim Alnajjar, the Independent
Expert appointed by the Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights
in Somalia in particular, Martin Hill, Amnesty International Horn of Africa
Researcher, Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the National Union of
Somali Journalists, and Julie De Rivero, Geneva Director of Human Rights
Watch, for having been willing to participate in this important event. I
believe that your participation is essential to raising international
attention accorded to the human rights situation in Somalia.

An overview of the nature of the current human rights violations taking
place in Somalia

I will be using the findings of my recent field research in Somalia and
interviews carried out with Somali human rights activists and journalists in
exile ¡¦notably in Uganda – in order to offer a representative overview of
the HR violations currently taking place in Somalia.


The human rights situation in Somalia has significantly deteriorated in
recent months. The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TGF)
continues to be incredibly weak and largely lacks the essential support of
the Somali population. Lawlessness prevails in many parts of the country as
the TGF has failed to consolidate control over the Somali territory.

Á¸ar-lordisms on the increase and in many parts of the country, clan based
militias are given free reign. TGF forces have been implicated in many human
rights violations. In their supposed search for Al-Qaeda members, the forces
have carried out raids on villages and arbitrarily arrested people.

According to testimonies, the number of attacks by Ethiopian forces on
civilians has also been increasing since late 2007. The indiscriminate
attacks by the Ethiopian forces have included house raids, arbitrary arrests
and sexual violence. These have once again supposedly been aimed at finding
potential Al-Qaeda members.

The Somali population has suffered enormously from the large-scale
retaliatory attacks by the TGF and Ethiopian forces following insurgents

The population is also victim of violations committed by the insurgents.

Those fleeing Mogadishu have been attacked during their flight.

Violations committed against Human Rights Defenders particularly journalists

Civilians in general have suffered from massive rights violations but
certain groups of the population, notably human rights defenders (HRDs) and
currently in particular journalists, have been subjected to persistent and
targeted violations.

One of the key achievements had been the growth of independent media and
civil society in Somalia.

However, in recent months particularly since the end of 2007, with the
intensification of the conflict, the situation has drastically changed.

Curtailment of independent media

In recent months, there has been significant and deliberate curtailment of
independent journalism.

Some of the key human rights violations which HRDs are subjected to are:
– Violation of right to life;
– Violation of freedom of expression;
– Violation of freedom of the media

Some of the concrete violations

Persistent attacks have been carried out on the three leading private radio
stations: HornAfrik, Radio Shabelle and Holy Qoran Radio. All of these have
been closed at one time or another by the TFG forces. Crucial equipment has
been destroyed. Journalists have been arrested and detained.

On the 2nd of March 2008, TGF forces forcefully entered into Radio Shabelle
and Radio Simba; they confiscated part of the recording equipment thus
forcing these two stations off air. The Director of Radio Shabelle, Muqtar
Mohamed Hirabe was detained. He was taken to a site near the Presidential
Palace but has since been released and is back at work. The forces also
attempted to shut down Radio HornAfrik but failed.

These are just some of the media organisations which have been targeted, but
there are many others that have also been affected at one time or another.
Al Jazeera offices for example were also closed in 2007.

Personal attacks, intimidation and harassment of journalists

The attempts to thwart media freedom have also involved personal attacks/
intimidation and harassment of journalist.

Journalists have:
– Been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention;
– Received anonymous death threats ¡¦notably by telephone – calling on the
journalists to remove certain articles from public circulation;
– Been threatened with imprisonment;
– Been followed and harassed in the streets;
– Been intimidated at their place of work ¡¦notably by the police forces.

One of the journalists we are currently working with in Uganda was arrested
by Ethiopian troops and taken to Ethiopia where he was held incommunicado
and interrogated before finally being released;

Several journalists have had their houses searched, property destroyed,
members of their families intimidated, received death threats, and some have
seen members of their families kidnapped.

As a result, 9 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2007. At least
50 fled Mogadishu in the past four months (up until January 2008) and are
currently scattered in different countries with little or no assistance.

Targeted killings

The targeted killings of journalists have taken different forms:

– Direct gun attacks against journalists in public;

– Attacks by unidentified gunmen on the convoys/vehicles in which the
journalists were travelling in;

– Planting of landmines on the route taken by renowned journalist.

Why are they targeted?

-Following the massive crackdown on prominent human rights
organisations, journalists are at present one of the few voices still
speaking out against the massive human rights violations being perpetrated
against innocent civilians in the country.

– As a result of the lack of international adequate involvement and
presence on the ground, they are the only voices denouncing the continued
practice of arbitrary arrests – the illegal detentions.

Who is targeting them?

Journalists have come under attack from all the sides/ parties perpetrating
human rights violations in the conflict notably:

– Somali security services (National Security Agency) ¡¦often backed by the
Ethiopian forces;

– Ethiopian forces in Somalia ;

– Insurgents ¡¦notably Al Shabab (wing of the Islamic Courts Group);

– Clan based militias.

What are they being accused of?

Generally accused of siding with the enemy;

Providing unfair coverage;

Highlighting violations committed by a given side.

What are the protection mechanisms available to journalists?

Protection mechanisms within Somalia are few:

– Some journalists have been confined to their offices having received
threats or having been caught in the general shelling/insecurity of the

– Others have been forced to disappear from the public scene, to change
their telephone numbers; some have gone into hiding and are working


Protection efforts outside Somalia :

– There are more than 50 journalists currently living in exile in
neighbouring countries (notably in Kenya and Uganda ). This number is likely
to increase;

– Most of the activists and journalists who we have been working with show
an ardent desire to pursue their work;

– We have recently supported financially 21 Exiled Somali Journalists in
Kenya ; they have received training with the support of the French Embassy.