«SOMALIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, was led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. ...»
On January 19, a 13-year-old girl reported being raped by two Somali soldiers near her home at the Ex-Control IDP camp in Mogadishu when fetching water on her own. According to the local press, after the victim’s mother complained to local authorities with the help of village elders, local police paid the family “$300 in compensation for breaking the girl’s virginity and $200 for humiliating her dignity.” The victim’s mother lamented that the two rapists remained at large, and she continued to see them every day “wielding their AK-47 rifles on the street.”
Protection of Refugees
Access to Asylum: The provisional federal constitution states that every person who has sought refuge in the country has the right not to be returned or taken to any country in which that person has a well-founded fear of persecution. There was no official system for providing such protection, however. Somaliland continued to register asylum seekers with the assistance of UNHCR. From July the Somaliland Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Reconstruction registered approximately 800 new arrivals and asylum seekers. In some instances, the Somaliland government refused to register Ethiopians and Eritreans as asylum seekers. UNHCR reported that 5,800 refugees and 9,720 registered asylum seekers
resided in the country; most came from the Oromiya and Ogaden regions of Ethiopia and Yemen.
Refugee Abuse: Refugees lacked sufficient access to protection through law enforcement and the justice system.
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process In 2012 the TFG completed the 2011 Roadmap for Ending the Transition, collaborating with representatives of Puntland, Galmudug, the ASWJ, and the international community.
The process included drafting a provisional federal constitution, forming an 825-member National Constituent Assembly (NCA) that ratified the provisional constitution, having elders select a 275-member federal parliament, and holding speakership and presidential elections. The provisional constitution provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections based on universal and equal suffrage, but citizens could not exercise that ability. The federal parliament had not passed election-related laws by year’s end.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: In May 2012 under the roadmap process, 135 traditional clan elders convened in Mogadishu to nominate 825 NCA delegates to consider the provisional federal constitution. The elders also nominated candidates for the country’s 275-member federal parliament to serve four-year terms under the provisional constitution. There were accusations of bribery and intimidation involved in the selection of the 135 traditional elders and in their nomination of parliamentarians, but overall the roadmap signatories and others viewed parliamentarians as broadly representative of their communities.
A 27-member technical selection committee, assisted by international observers from the African Union, the League of Arab States, the EU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the UN Political Office for Somalia, vetted and approved the delegates and federal parliament nominees submitted by the traditional elders. In some cases, committee members and their families received threats and intimidation during the process.
In August 2012 the NCA ratified the provisional federal constitution. The inauguration of the federal parliament occurred the same month. The parliament subsequently elected Mohamed Sheikh Osman “Jawari” as its speaker.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 27 In September 2012, in the presence of international observers, the parliament held an indirect presidential election through a secret ballot in which Hassan Sheikh Mohamud defeated incumbent TFG president Sheikh Sharif in the second and final round of voting. There were unsubstantiated reports of presidential candidates’ bribing parliamentarians in exchange for their vote. Sheikh Sharif conceded defeat and described the vote as fair.
In December 2013 the parliament passed a no-confidence measure against Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and subsequently approved Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed as the new prime minister. He expanded the Council of Ministers (cabinet) from 10 ministers to 25. In October 2014 Prime Minister Abdiweli announced a cabinet reshuffle; however, the president objected, and ministers remained in the same positions. In December 2014 the parliament passed a no-confidence measure against Prime Minister Abdiweli, and the president subsequently appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to serve as the new prime minister. The parliament approved Sharmarke’s appointment in December 2014. Prime Minister Sharmarke appointed his new cabinet on February 9. On June 29, President Mohamud announced that the country would not conduct one-person, one-vote elections in
2016. On September 21, the federal government launched the National Consultative Forum, which tasked federal and regional government representatives and civil society with defining an electoral process for 2016.
Somaliland laws prevent citizens in its region from participating in the federal government-related processes.
Puntland has a single-chamber, 66-member House of Representatives; a council of elders selected its members in 2008. In 2009 the council selected Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud “Farole” as president. In 2012 Puntland’s constituent assembly overwhelmingly adopted a state constitution that enshrines a multiparty political system. The constitution’s adoption also extended the four-year term for which “Farole” was selected by one year, to January 2014, since the constitution called for a five-year presidential term moving forward. In January 2014 Abdiweli Mohamed Ali defeated incumbent President Farole by one parliamentary vote in a run-off election broadcast live on local television and radio stations. President Farole accepted the results. The parliament also elected Abdihakim Abdulahi as the new vice president.
In January 2014 the Puntland Ministry of Constitution, Federal Affairs, and Democratization was established by presidential decree. The new ministry was tasked with conducting a constitutional review process for Puntland, implementing
federal Vision 2016 objectives (state formation, elections, and review of the federal constitution), and advancing the democratization process in Puntland.
In June 2014 two contesting state formation conferences, the South West Six and South West Three, signed an agreement in Mogadishu to merge, reconcile, and launch a single Interim South West Administration (ISWA) composed of the Somali regions of Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle. In November 2014, 373 of 396 total conference delegates voted to elect Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan as ISWA’s first president, thus officially establishing the interim administration. The ISWA had not formed its local assembly by year’s end.
On June 22, the federal government officially inaugurated the 89-member Interim Galmudug Administration (IGA) Assembly. Forty traditional elders representing 11 subclans selected the 89-member assembly. On July 4, 50 members of the 89member assembly elected Abdikarim Hussein Guled as the IGA’s first president.
ASWJ refused to accept the election results and unilaterally established its own self-declared administration for the central regions.
In Somaliland, parliamentary elections, last held in 2005, were overdue.
Somaliland president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silanyo” was elected in 2010.
International and domestic observers declared the election free and fair.
Somaliland has a bicameral parliament consisting of an appointed 82-member House of Elders, known as the Guurti, and an elected 82-member House of Representatives with proportional clan representation. In April the House of Elders voted to postpone the delayed election for the House of Representatives and president until March 2017. There were allegations the House of Elders was subject to political corruption and undue influence.
On August 18, the Somaliland Constitutional Court ruled to uphold the House of Elders’ decision to delay parliamentary and presidential elections until March
2017. The Constitutional Court also set the election of the House of Elders for March 2018.
In May 2013 approximately 500 elders and representatives from the regions of Lower Juba, Upper Juba, and Gedo convened to elect leaders for the then unrecognized “Jubaland state.” They selected the leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe,” as president. Clans opposed to him organized militias. Violent clashes ensued, causing civilian displacement and reportedly more than 80 civilian casualties. In August 2013 the federal government and Jubaland delegates signed an agreement that resulted in the federal Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 29 government’s formal recognition of the newly formed Interim Juba Administration (IJA). Before the conclusion of its two-year interim mandate, on April 15, President Madobe inaugurated the 75-member IJA assembly. The assembly selected him to be president on August 15.
Al-Shabaab prohibited citizens in the areas it controlled from changing their alShabaab administrators. Some al-Shabaab administrations, however, consulted local traditional elders on specific issues and allowed preexisting district committees to remain in place.
Political Parties and Political Participation: There were no official political parties in the southern and central regions, and there was no mechanism to register parties.
Several political associations, however, described themselves as parties. For example, President Hassan Sheikh claimed to be elected from the Peace and Development Party. The provisional constitution provides that every citizen has the right to take part in public affairs and that this right includes forming political parties, participating in their activities, and being elected for any position within a political party. On July 6, the parliament approved the nine members of the National Independent Electoral Commission. The commission did not regulate the political party system, and its role in facilitating a political transition during the year remained unclear. The Somaliland and Puntland constitutions and electoral legislation limit the number of political parties to three and establish conditions pertaining to their political programs, finances, and constitutions.
Participation of Women and Minorities: The roadmap signatories agreed that, prior to the transition to a permanent government, the federal parliament should consist of at least 30 percent women, but women held only 14 percent of 275 seats in parliament. The government’s 26-member cabinet had three female members.
Cultural/traditional practices that prevented women from participating fully in political life included the popular notions that women should stay at home, the lack of legitimacy given to women in politics by traditional elders, and women’s own reluctance to participate in the political process.
Civil society, minority clans, and Puntland authorities called for the abolition of the “4.5 formula” by which political representation was divided among the four major clans, with the minority clans combined as the remaining “0.5” share. This system allocated minority clans a fixed and low number of slots in the federal parliament. The roadmap signatories agreed to the system prior to the transition to a permanent government. According to the agreement, the system was not to carry over into the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 30 Former prime minister Shirdon and President Hassan Sheikh broke with the 4.5clan allocation formula in their 2012 appointment of two minority clan members to the 10-member cabinet. Former prime minister Abdiweli and Prime Minister Sharmarke maintained the same ratio of minority representation when expanding the cabinet.
Somaliland had two women in its 86-member House of Representatives. The sole woman occupying a seat in the House of Elders gained appointment after her husband, who occupied the seat, resigned in 2012. Women traditionally were excluded from the House of Elders. There was one female minister among the 24 cabinet ministers. The Somaliland cabinet included no minorities.
A woman chaired the Somaliland Human Rights Commission, while a minority youth served as deputy chair. The Somaliland president kept a presidential advisor on minority problems.
Women have never served on the Council of Elders in Puntland. Traditional clan elders, all men, selected members of Puntland’s House of Representatives. Two women served in the 66-member House of Representatives. The minister of women and family affairs and the minster of constitution, federalism, and democratization were women. The nine-member electoral commission included one woman.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government Government officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices.
The law provides for criminal penalties for corruption by officials. The government did not implement the law effectively.
Corruption: The provisional constitution called for establishment of an independent anticorruption commission in 2012 with a mandate to investigate allegations of corruption in the public sector. The federal government established the commission in January, but no cases were brought to the body by year’s end.