264: Resolution on Attacks against Journalists and Media Practitioners in the Federal Republic of Somalia

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 15th Extraordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 7 to 14 March 2014:

    Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights pursuant to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

    Considering that the Federal Republic of Somalia is a Party to the African Charter and has committed itself to ensuring respect for human and peoples’ rights within its territory;

    Further considering the need to protect human life under Article 4 of the African Charter which provides that every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person;

    Underscoring that freedom of expression and access to information are fundamental human rights guaranteed under Article 9 of the African Charter, and other international and regional human rights treaties;

    Recalling Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter which guarantee the right to freedom of association and assembly;

    Recalling its Resolutions ACHPR/Res.62 (XXXII) 02 on the adoption of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which elaborates on the scope of Article 9 of the African Charter; ACHPR/Res.178 (XLIX) 2011 on the safety of journalists and media practitioners in Africa; ACHPR/Res.221 (LI) 2012 on attacks against journalists and media practitioners in Somalia;

    Highlighting that the right to life and freedom of expression, assembly and association constitute fundamental human rights enshrined in the provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia;

    Welcoming the ongoing efforts by the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to restore peace and stability in the Federal Republic of Somalia, and commending its efforts to protect human rights;

    Stressing that promoting respect for human rights is vital to restoring peace, stability and democratic governance in the Federal Republic of Somalia;

    Denouncing the serious violations of the right to life and freedom of expression that continue to prevail in the Federal Republic of Somalia;

    Concerned about the restrictions and intimidations against the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) such as negative labelling, prosecution as well as physical harassment and intimidation of its members;

    Deeply concerned by the continued killing of journalists and media practitioners in the Federal Republic of Somalia, where several media workers were killed with total impunity, in Mogadishu and Galkayo in 2013;

    The Commission:

    Strongly condemns the serious violations of the right to life committed against journalists and media practitioners in the Federal Republic of 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 organisations, in particular the NUSOJ, in the Federal Republic of Somalia.

    Done in Banjul, The Gambia, on 14 March 2014 

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