AI report on Somaliland’s Human Rights challenges
Amnistía Internacional publicou esta semana un informe sobre as violacións dos Direitos Humanos na autodeclarada república de Somalilandia, onde están previstas eleccións proximamente. O informe leva por título “Human Rights challenges: Somaliland facing elections”. Copio un extracto do seu contido:
[…] Clan elders and leaders of the northern Somali National Movement (SNM) unilaterally declared Somaliland’s independence from Somalia on 18 May 1991, after the SNM and other armed groups toppled the government of then-President Siad Barre.
Somaliland (the former British Protectorate of Somaliland) had united with southern Somalia (former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic in 1960. After a military coup that overthrew the elected government in 1969, widespread human rights violations took place against the people of Somalia, carried out by Siad Barre’s Somali National Army (SNA) and other security forces, particularly in the northwest of the country. These violations laid the foundation for the re-separation of Somaliland along former colonial borders in May 1991, when local leaders declared Somaliland independent, claiming the people’s right to selfdetermination. While Somalia descended into nearly two decades of political and criminal violence, Somaliland established a new government in the north. The self-declared independence of Somaliland has to date not been recognized by any government or international body.
The first administration of Somaliland, under its first President Abdurahman Ahmed Ali Tuur, ran from 1991-1993 and attempted to establish a power-sharing system among the northern clans. In 1992 and from 1994 to 1996 Somaliland endured its own internal armed conflicts, based on unresolved clan rivalries and problems with power-sharing. But beginning in 1993, under the administration of President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, a series of traditional gatherings were held to build reconciliation, security, state formation, and a constitution. Somaliland has since established an executive and judiciary, and a bicameral parliament divided between a House of Elders, known as the Guurti, and an elected Lower House, combining democratic and traditional means of governance.
Increased stability has encouraged the gradual return to Somaliland of upwards of 100,000 refugees who fled during the Somali civil war (1988-91) and the two subsequent conflicts in Somaliland. However, on 29 October 2008 three suicide bomb attacks were carried out in Hargeisa, simultaneous with an attack in Bossaso in the Somali region of Puntland. In Hargeisa more than 20 civilians were killed and more than 30 injured when three separate cars drove into compounds housing the president’s residence, UN Development Programme offices, and the Ethiopian trade mission, with the last location suffering the worst damage and the greatest number of casualties. The October attacks have been widely interpreted both as spill-over from armed attacks by extremist opposition groups that characterize conditions in Somalia, and reaction to Somaliland’s economic and diplomatic relationship with Ethiopia and western governments.
The current president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, assumed office when President Egal died suddenly in 2002. President Riyale was then elected in 2003 by a slim margin in an election regarded by international observers, including the European Union, as largely free and fair. The next presidential elections are scheduled for late March 2009, with wide expectation that they could be further delayed in part due to delays in the voter registration process. Local elections are currently slated to follow the presidential election in late 2009.
Amnesty International has been monitoring, reporting on and promoting Human Rights in Somaliland since 1991, with an emphasis on minority rights, prisoners of conscience, and capacity-building among emerging civil society organizations in the capital Hargeisa and other parts of Somaliland.
In mid 2007, Amnesty International began receiving reports that space for civil society activity in Somaliland was shrinking—due in part to inappropriate government involvement in a dispute between members of the formerly prominent Somaliland Human Rights Organization Network (SHURO-Net), and in part to government actions to curtail the activities of the political association known as Qaran (“the nation”), which at that time sought to become a fourth political party.
In the words of one human rights defender, “the government succeeded in its strategy of ‘you are either with me or against me.” This puts civil society organizations in an awkward position in which they fear that if they voice their concerns the government would close the organizations.”
The ongoing use of the National Security Committee and Regional Security Committees, exercising extra-judicial powers, has diminished the rule of law as carried out by an already weak, under-resourced and multi-level judicial system. It has been reported that these committees have authorized the unlawful arrest and detention of some individuals, including several journalists in 2007. They have also ordered the arrest of others held without trial in incommunicado detention on national security grounds. […]
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