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AU Commission on Human and Peoples Rights Calls for Freedom of Expression in Somalia

 26 March 2014

The African Commission on Human & People's Rights (ACHPR), Africa's highest human rights body, adopted resolution on attacks of journalists and media practitioners in Somalia at its 15th extra-ordinary session, from 7 to 14 March 2014, in Banjul, Gambia.

The resolution denounced "the serious violations of the right to life and freedom of expression that continue to prevail in the Federal Republic of Somalia".

The African Commission expressed concern "about the restrictions and intimidations against the journalists union groups such as negative labelling, prosecution as well as physical harassment and intimidation of journalist and their leaders.".

The Commission was "deeply concerned by the continued killing of journalists and media practitioners in Somalia, where several media workers were killed with total impunity, especially in Mogadishu and Galkayo in 2013".

Specifically the commission;

"Strongly condemns the serious violations of the right to life committed against journalists and media practitioners in Somalia;

"Calls on the Somali authorities to respect, protect and promote the right to life, freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly of journalists and media practitioners as provided in the African Charter and other international and regional human rights instruments;

"Calls on the Somali authorities and AMISOM to investigate the killing of journalists and media practitioners, and bring the perpetrators to justice;

"Appeals for the immediate cessation of harassment and intimidation aimed at independent media organizations and journalists unions in Somalia.

"While we should not generalize all people in government, those using their authority negatively and abusively to attack the union and its journalists must create a better and peaceful future by accepting and owning up to their wrong doings. They should use this as a clean start that has been offered to them but it is only possible if they implement this resolution to the letter.

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