Somalia’s government defended itself against criticism of the country’s human rights record at the United Nations forum in Geneva with the government’s efforts towards human rights was under scrutiny for the second time since 2011.
Rights groups say that despite ‘positive’ developments, serious human rights abuses and violations including extrajudicial executions and unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression, and political repression are still prevalent and remain mostly unpunished.
Speaking at the forum, Zahra Ali Samatar, the Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights said that the country has improved its human rights record in the past four years, exemplifying the endorsement of the national action plan, plans to end sexual violence, children’s rights gender policy as key achievements for the UN-backed government.
She also called for the international community not to ‘forget’ Somalia due to many conflicts going on around the world.
Syria, Iraq and Libya remain the world’s top agenda as the three countries are facing humanitarian crisis from years of conflict and civil unrest.
Somalia’s attorney general Ahmed Dahir who delivered a speech at the forum has affirmed the government’s commitment in reforming justice and the enactment of the counter-terrorism law.
He also noted that the new controversial media law signed by the president promotes a ‘responsible’ media; however, journalists in Somalia say that the law aims to silence critical voices and aims to gag journalists.
After more than two decades of war, human rights organizations say that the government’s institutions remain weak; allowing constant violations of international humanitarian law which they said indiscriminately affected the civilian population.
Insecurity and political infighting have also detracted from progress on justice and security sector reform. Government security forces, African Union troops, and allied militias were accused of being responsible for indiscriminate attacks, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrests and detention.