«SOMALIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, was led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. ...»
The October 2014 report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) indicated corruption continued as did “patterns of misappropriation with diversion rates between 70 and 80 percent.” The report also addressed “secret contracting,” in which officials signed contracts regarding public assets without transparency or oversight. It stated “individuals close to the presidency” were Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 31 working to gain control of recovered overseas assets that should have gone to the central bank. The report stated the central bank made payments to private persons or office holders for private purposes and reported on diversion of revenue from Mogadishu’s port. Allegations persisted that diversion of government revenue for private purposes continued unabated.
A 2015 SEMG annex report documented that the Soma Oil and Gas company paid more than half a million dollars to senior civil servants in the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources under the rubric of “capacity building agreement.” The report detailed several ministry officials receiving salaries simultaneously from the federal government and Soma Oil and Gas Company.
The international oil production sharing agreement between Soma Oil and the federal government gave the company extremely favorable terms.
The Financial Governance Committee (FGC) consisted of three members of international financial institutions and three members of the federal government.
The body reviewed 13 contracts during the year. Of the contracts reviewed, four were never approved or implemented and two were adjusted in line with FGC recommendations. The FGC did not receive a substantive federal government response on seven contracts it reviewed.
The FGS appointed an accountant general in July. Neither he nor the auditor general had publicly released any reports by years’ end.
The SEMG continued to report on the export of charcoal in violation of a UN Security Council ban. The report discussed charcoal production in areas controlled by al-Shabaab, the IJA, and Kenyan AMISOM forces as well as its export, which the SEMG reported to be primarily from Kismayo. Internationally registered vessels fished illegally in the country’s territorial waters. Officials stated such illegal practices represented millions of dollars of forgone income for the government.
Somaliland had a national auditor and a governance and anticorruption commission appointed by Somaliland’s president. Somaliland did not try any Somaliland officials for corruption.
Puntland’s Good Governance and Anticorruption Commission did not try any Puntland officials for corruption.
Al-Shabaab extorted high and unpredictable “zakat” (a Muslim obligation to
donate to charity during Ramadan) and “sadaqa” (a voluntary charity contribution paid by Muslims) taxes in the regions it controlled. It also diverted and stole humanitarian food aid.
Financial Disclosure: The law does not require income and asset disclosure by appointed or elected officials.
Public Access to Information: The provisional constitution states that citizens have the right of access to information held by the state. It also states that parliament shall enact a law to provide for this right, but parliament had not approved such a law by year’s end.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights A number of local and international human rights groups operated in areas outside al-Shabaab-controlled territory, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases.
Government officials were somewhat cooperative and responsive to their views, although they also harassed NGOs. Security concerns constrained NGOs’ ability to operate in southern and central areas. International and local NGOs generally worked without major restrictions in Puntland and Somaliland.
Authorities sometimes harassed or did not cooperate with NGOs. For example, in matters related to official corruption, the government regularly dismissed the findings of international and local NGOs as well as of internal auditors.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The provisional federal constitution calls for an independent national human rights commission and a truth and reconciliation commission to be formed within 45 days and 30 days, respectively, of the formation of the Council of Ministers in 2012. These commissions had not been formed by year’s end.
Limited resources as well as inexperienced commissioners restricted the effectiveness of the Somaliland Human Rights Commission and Puntland’s Human Rights Defender Office.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons The provisional federal constitution states that all citizens, regardless of sex,
religion, social or economic status, political opinion, clan, disability, occupation, birth, dialect, age, race, color, tribe, ethnicity, culture, or wealth, shall have equal rights and duties before the law. The constitution and law do not prohibit discrimination based on national origin or citizenship, social origin, HIV status, or having other communicable diseases. The provisional constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Authorities did not enforce antidiscrimination provisions effectively in any of the regions.
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, providing penalties of five to 15 years in prison for violations. Sentences from military courts for rape included death. The government did not effectively enforce the law. There are no laws against spousal violence, including rape. Somali NGOs documented patterns of rape perpetrated with impunity, particularly of displaced women (see section
2.d.) and members of minority clans.
Although statistics on cases of gender-based violence in Mogadishu were unreliable, international and local NGOs characterized such violence as pervasive.
Government forces, militia members, and men wearing uniforms raped women and girls. While the army arrested some security force members accused of such rapes, impunity was the norm. AMISOM troops committed sexual abuse and exploitation, including rape (see section 1.g.).
Local civil society organizations reported several cases of gang rape. For example, in May a 14-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped after attackers forced her off a minibus taxi. After the case was reported to a Criminal Investigation Department station, the police officer in charge refused to file the complaint and instead detained the victim for making false claims. The victim claimed the police officer that ordered her arrest repeatedly raped her.
According to local human rights organizations, IGA security forces in Galinsoor (between Galkaayo and Adaado) gang-raped four women on August 29. The incident was brought to the attention of IGA authorities, but no legal action was taken against the perpetrators.
Women feared reporting rape due to possible reprisals. Police were reluctant to investigate and sometimes asked survivors to do the investigatory work for their own cases. Traditional approaches to dealing with rape tended to ignore the survivor’s situation and instead sought resolution or compensation for rape through
a negotiation between members of the perpetrator’s and survivor’s clans. Some survivors were forced to marry perpetrators.
For the most part, authorities rarely used formal structures to address rape.
Survivors suffered from subsequent discrimination based on the attribution of “impurity.” Al-Shabaab sentenced persons to death for rape.
Local civil society organizations in Somaliland reported that gang rape continued to be a problem in urban areas, primarily perpetrated by youth gangs and male students. It often occurred in poorer neighborhoods and among immigrants, returned refugees, and displaced rural populations living in urban areas. According to 2013 data from a local Hargeisa-based NGO, gang rapes constituted 30 percent of reported rapes. In 55 percent of reported cases, a minor was the victim. Many cases went unreported.
Domestic and sexual violence against women remained serious problems despite the provisional federal constitution provision prohibiting any form of violence against women. While both sharia and customary law address the resolution of family disputes, women were not included in the decision-making process.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Although the provisional federal constitution describes female circumcision as cruel and degrading, equates it with torture, and prohibits the circumcision of girls, FGM/C is almost universally practiced throughout the country. UNICEF reported that 98 percent of women and girls had undergone FGM/C and that the majority were subjected to infibulation--the most severe form--which involves cutting and sewing the genitalia. At least 80 percent of Somali girls who have undergone FGM/C had the procedure performed when they were between the ages of five and 14. International and local NGOs conducted education awareness programs on the dangers of FGM/C, but there were no reliable statistics to measure their success.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Al-Shabaab killed women in the areas it controlled. For example, on September 28, al-Shabaab publicly stoned a woman to death in Barawe, Lower Shabelle Region, after declaring her guilty of adultery.
Sexual Harassment: The provisional federal constitution states that all workers, particularly women, shall have a special right of protection from sexual abuse and discrimination. There were no data on, laws pertaining to, or governmental
programs addressing sexual harassment, although it was believed to be widespread in all regions.
Reproductive Rights: A woman’s husband often made decisions regarding the couple’s reproduction. Women had very limited ability to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children or manage their reproductive health. Very limited information about and little access to contraception was available to women. According to the United Nations, an estimated 1.5 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 had access to a modern method of contraception. Women rarely had skilled attendants during pregnancy and childbirth, emergency care for complications arising from abortion, or essential obstetric and postpartum care.
The United Nations reported that more than 80 percent of internally displaced women had no access to safe maternal delivery. The maternal mortality ratio was 850 per 100,000 live births due to complications during labor that often involved anemia, FGM/C, and the lack of medical care. A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death was one in 18.
Discrimination: Women did not have the same rights as men and experienced systematic subordination to men, despite provisions in the federal constitution prohibiting such discrimination. Women experienced discrimination in credit, education, and housing.
Only men administered sharia, which was often applied in the interests of men.
According to sharia and the local tradition of blood compensation, anyone found guilty of the death of a woman paid to the victim’s family only half the amount required to compensate for a man’s death.
The law requires equal pay for equal work. Women formed a negligible part of those employed in both the formal public and private sectors because of girls’ low education level. Women were not subject to discrimination in owning or managing businesses, except in al-Shabaab-controlled areas. Al-Shabaab claimed women’s participation in economic activities was anti-Islamic.
While formal law and sharia provide women the right to own and dispose of property independently, various legal, cultural, and societal barriers often obstructed women from exercising such rights. By law girls and women could inherit only half the amount of property to which their brothers were entitled. A 2010 report from a local women’s organization in Somaliland indicated 75 percent
of women did not own livestock, land, or other property. Only 15 to 20 percent received inheritance from male family members.
Children Birth Registration: The provisional federal constitution provides that there is only one Somali citizenship and calls for a special law defining how to obtain, suspend, or lose it. As of year’s end, parliament had not passed such a law.
According to 2005-12 UNICEF data, authorities registered 3 percent of births in the country. Authorities in Puntland and in the southern and central regions did not register births. Birth registration occurred in Somaliland for hospital and home births, but limited capacity combined with the nomadic lifestyle of many persons caused numerous births in the region to go unregistered. In November 2014 UNICEF began to support the Somaliland government in establishing a birth registration system in two districts. During the year UNICEF helped expand the system to six districts. Failure to register births did not result in denial of public services, such as education.
Education: The provisional constitution provides the right to a free education up to the secondary level, but education was neither tuition-free, compulsory, nor universal. Education needs were partially met by a patchwork of institutions, including a traditional system of Quranic schools; public primary and secondary school systems financed by communities, foreign donors, and the Somaliland and Puntland administrations; Islamic charity-run schools; and a number of privately run primary and secondary schools and vocational training institutes. In many areas children did not have access to schools other than madrassas. Attendance rates for girls remained lower than for boys.
Child Abuse: Child abuse and rape of children were serious problems, although no statistics on their prevalence were available. There were no known efforts by the government or regional governments to combat child abuse. Children remained among the chief victims of continuing societal violence.