AU Human Rights Commission Passes a Resolution on Attacks against Journalists in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the unanimous adoption of a resolution on the Attacks against Journalists and Media Practitioners in Somalia by the African Union (AU) commission on human and people’s rights (ACHPR) on 2 May 2012.

NUSOJ is glad its successful cooperation with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has resulted in such a speedy and unanimous adoption of the resolution addressing the dreadful attacks against Somali journalists and media organizations.

A draft resolution sponsored by Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), following campaigns by NUSOJ backed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) was submitted to the 51st ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, the Gambia.

“After more than six months of hard campaigning we find the African Union’s human rights body has given proper attention to our calls for an end to impunity in the killings of journalists,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

The resolution “condemns the continued killings of journalists in the Somali Republic”, and “calls on Somali authorities and all armed groups to end ongoing violations?against journalists, media practitioners, and media organizations”.

Backing the call for an independent commission of inquiry, the resolution “calls on Somali authorities, the AU and the international community to support the establishment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the killings of journalists and other violent attacks against them, so as to end the culture of impunity”.

“We want to see this expression of African Union concern interpreted into practical action to eliminate the persistent culture of impunity that has accompanied the rising media death toll in our country,” declared Osman.

At a time when Somali journalists are facing increasing risks – 5 of them have been killed in this year so far – the resolution is a needed solidarity to Somali journalists and a strong reminder to Somali authorities of their obligations under the African and international human rights instruments to protect journalists and to fully investigate cases where journalists are killed and attacked.

“This is an unprecedented and vital recognition of the perilous crisis facing Somali journalists,” said Osman. “This year is already touching record levels in terms of journalists’ killings as 5 of our colleagues have been killed in Mogadishu and Galkayo so far this year. All of these killings remain unexplained and uninvestigated,” he added.

The resolution is the first by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights that solely addresses the issue of attacks against journalists, media practitioners and media organizations in Somalia.

102 delegates representing Member States of the African Union as well as dozens of representatives from the United Nations, National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organizations attended the 51st ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

SOURCE 

National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)

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