«SOMALIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, was led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. ...»
SOMALIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, was led by President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud. Clan elders nominated the members of the House of the People
of the Federal Parliament in 2012. Parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as
president later that year. Former Transitional Federal Government (TFG) president
and presidential candidate Sheikh Sharif described the presidential vote as fair and
conceded defeat. The regional governments of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland in the northeast controlled their respective jurisdictions. In July the government established the Interim Galmudug Administration (IGA) in the central part of the country. The IGA, the Interim Juba Administration (IJA), and the Interim South West Administration (ISWA) did not fully control their jurisdictions. The terrorist organization al-Shabaab retained control of some towns and rural areas but by year’s end lost control of the key cities of Bardheere and Dinsoor and several other towns and villages in the south and central regions to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces. Civilian authorities did not maintain effective control over the security forces.
Major human rights abuses included killings of civilians by al-Shabaab, Somali security forces, and unknown assailants. Violence and discrimination against women and girls, including rape and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), were widespread. Civilians did not have the ability to change their government through the ability to vote in free and fair elections.
Other major human rights abuses included disappearance; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary and politically motivated arrest and detention; denial of fair public trial; use of excessive force and other abuses in internal conflict; restrictions on freedoms of speech and press, assembly and association, religion, and movement; forced eviction and relocation of internally displaced persons (IDPs);
diversion of humanitarian assistance; corruption; trafficking in persons; abuse of and discrimination against minority clans and persons with disabilities; social stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals; restrictions on workers’ rights; forced labor; and child labor.
In general impunity remained the norm. Government authorities took minimal steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses, particularly military SOMALIA 2 and police officials accused of committing rape, killings, clan warfare, and extortion of civilians.
Clan militias and al-Shabaab continued to commit grave abuses throughout the country, including extrajudicial killings, disappearances, cruel and unusual punishment, rape, restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of movement, restrictions on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian assistance, and conscription and use of child soldiers. Al-Shabaab recruited child soldiers. AMISOM troops killed civilians and committed sexual abuse and exploitation, including rape of women and girls.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life Government security forces and allied militias, persons wearing uniforms, regional security forces, al-Shabaab, and unknown assailants committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. Government and regional authorities executed persons without due process. Armed clashes and attacks killed civilians (see section 1.g.).
Impunity remained the norm.
Federal forces killed protesters (see section 2.b.). For example, on January 1, government forces reportedly fired at Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (ASWJ) supporters violently protesting against the federal government in Galhareeri, Galguduud Region, killing two and injuring others.
Military trials, which sometimes included civilian defendants, often did not afford defendants legal representation or the opportunity to appeal (see also section 1.e.).
Federal and regional authorities sometimes executed those sentenced to death within days of the court’s verdict, particularly in cases where defendants directly confessed their membership in al-Shabaab before the courts. National figures on executions were unreliable. Human rights organizations questioned the military courts’ ability to enforce appropriate safeguards relating to due process, the right to seek pardon, or commutation of sentence as well as to implement sentences in a manner that meets international standards.
On April 13, Somaliland authorities executed by firing squad six persons convicted of murder.
On August 20, a federal military court executed soldier Mohamed Ali Adan after
he was convicted of killing another soldier. Human rights organizations expressed concern regarding lack of due process.
On September 18, regional authorities in Kismayo executed seven IJA soldiers hours after a regional military court convicted them of killing two civilians. The accused were denied legal representation.
Al-Shabaab continued to kill civilians (see also sections 1.g., 2.a., and 6). The killings included al-Shabaab’s execution of persons it accused of spying for and collaborating with Somali national forces and affiliated militias. For example, on March 21, al-Shabaab executed one man accused of spying for the Ethiopian government in Galhareeri, Galgaduud Region.
Unidentified gunmen also killed persons, including members of parliament, judges, National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) agents, Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers, and other government officials, as well as traditional elders and international organization workers, with impunity.
For example, on February 3, unidentified gunmen killed cleric Sheikh Hassan Soor-Madiide in Baidoa, Bay Region, as he exited a local mosque. The motive for the killing remained unknown.
The investigation of the April 2014 assassination of two employees of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) remained incomplete. Clement Bernard Gorrissen, a French citizen, and Simon Davis, a UK citizen, were killed as they disembarked from their plane in Galkayo, Mudug Region.
Fighting among clans and subclans, particularly over water and land resources, resulted in killings and displacements (see section 1.g.). Revenge killings occurred.
On July 4, clashes between Dhulbahante and Habar Yunis clans in Guumeys village, Somaliland, resulted in two deaths and at least four wounded.
b. Disappearance Al-Shabaab continued to abduct persons, including humanitarian workers (see section 1.g.). Pirates continued to hold persons kidnapped in previous years.
There were no reports government authorities committed politically motivated or other disappearances.
On May 13, al-Shabaab fighters kidnapped a reported 14 Iranian fishermen who were allegedly fishing in Somali waters near El-Dheer, Galguduud Region, when their vessel washed ashore.
As of December the International Maritime Bureau noted one incident of piracy in the country during the year, compared with three incidents in 2014 and 15 in 2013.
On February 26, pirates released four Thai hostages whom they had held since 2010 and who were from the fishing vessel Prantalay 12. Twenty-six crewmembers from the Naham 3, captured in 2012, remained in captivity.
On November 22, armed men hijacked the FV Muhammadi, a Pakistani-owned, Iranian-flagged vessel with a crew of 15 Iranians, 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The provisional federal constitution prohibits torture and inhuman treatment.
Nevertheless, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment occurred. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) reported it received allegations that NISA officials committed torture.
Government forces, allied militia, men wearing uniforms, and AMISOM troops committed sexual violence, including rape (see section 1.g.).
Clan leaders in the Lower Juba Region accused the IJA of committing gross human right violations, including torture. On January 6, local politician Mohamed Aden accused IJA authorities of allowing their security forces to commit rape and torture with impunity.
There were numerous reports federal and regional authorities beat journalists (see section 2.a.).
NISA agents routinely carried out mass security sweeps, despite having no legal mandate to arrest and detain suspects. NISA held detainees for prolonged periods without following due process and mistreated suspects during interrogations. For example, on May 25, NISA agents arrested journalist Ali Abdi “Yare” for allegedly criticizing the government. Ali Yare was kept in detention
incommunicado without access to legal counsel for at least a week. He was later released but continued to face harassment from government security authorities.
There were several cases throughout the year of al-Shabaab abusing and imposing harsh punishment on persons in areas under its control. For example, on September 28, al-Shabaab stoned to death a woman accused of adultery in Barawe (see section 6, Women). Al-Shabaab also beheaded three men on September 14, in Yiblan, Hiraan Region, for allegedly being SNA members. Local community members claimed the men were herders and had no association with the armed forces.
Somaliland security forces suppressed supporters of the self-declared Khatumo state in its eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag during the year. The use of force resulted in injuries and internal displacement of persons.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh and life threatening throughout the country, although Puntland and Somaliland prisons generally provided somewhat better living conditions than prisons in other parts of the country.
Physical Conditions: The number of prisoners and detainees, including juvenile and female prisoners, was unknown. In prisons and detention centers, authorities frequently held juveniles with adults. Authorities often did not separate pretrial detainees from convicted prisoners, particularly in the southern and central regions.
The incarceration of juveniles at the request of families who wanted their children disciplined allegedly remained a problem. There continued to be reports of some families sending juveniles from al-Shabaab-controlled areas to prison to prevent alShabaab from forcibly recruiting them.
Information on the death rates in prisons and pretrial detention centers was unavailable. Harsh conditions in most prisons and detention centers throughout the country, particularly in the south and central regions and in Mogadishu, included overcrowding and wholly inadequate sanitation, health care, food, water, ventilation, and lighting. Tuberculosis, cholera, and pneumonia were reportedly widespread. Prisoners relied on their families and clans, which often paid the costs associated with detention. In many areas prisoners depended on family members and relief agencies for food.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 6 After a visit to Mogadishu Central Prison in 2013, then prime minister Abdi Farah Shirdon issued a press release calling prison conditions “deplorable” and asked the international community to support long-term improvements to the facility.
Mogadishu Central Prison remained the main prison in Mogadishu. According to the UNODC, the prison housed an estimated 1,200 inmates, of whom local authorities estimated 600 were al-Shabaab members or collaborators. A 2012 UN prison assessment noted no adequate separation between juvenile and adult inmates. The UNODC also concluded prisoners’ living conditions in Mogadishu Central Prison fell short of meeting minimum international and national standards.
Prison infrastructure across the country remained poor and overcrowded, and it did not permit proper classification and segregation of high-risk detainees. The UNODC continued to assist prison management in establishing a prisoner database to account for inmates and provide for proper separation of detainees.
In 2012 the UN independent expert for Somalia visited several detention centers in Puntland and Somaliland. He found unlawful or arbitrary detentions, such as women and girls detained for disobeying their husbands or parents. He described detention conditions as close to inhuman, stating they were overcrowded and frequently lacked water, sanitation, and ventilation.
Al-Shabaab detained persons in areas under its control in the southern and central regions. Those detained were incarcerated under inhuman conditions for relatively minor “offenses,” such as smoking, listening to music, watching or playing soccer, or not wearing a hijab.
Administration: Most prisons did not have ombudsmen, and recordkeeping was inadequate, although some prisons in Somaliland implemented data management systems. There were only limited alternatives to incarceration. Federal law does not specifically allow prisoners to submit complaints to judicial authorities without censorship, although Somaliland law allows prisoners to submit complaints to judicial authorities; according to government officials, prisoners submitted complaints.
Independent Monitoring: Government, Puntland, and Somaliland authorities permitted prison monitoring by independent nongovernmental observers during the year. UNODC representatives visited prisons in Bosaso, Garowe, and Hargeisa several times. UN Assistance Mission in Somalia representatives, other UN organizations, and humanitarian institutions visited prisons throughout the country.
Improvements: UN agencies improved prison facilities in various regions of the country, provided training and mentoring to custodial staff, and implemented vocational training and rehabilitation programs for inmates.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention The provisional federal constitution prohibits illegal detention. Government security forces and allied militias, regional authorities, clan militias, and alShabaab arbitrarily arrested and detained persons.