«SOMALIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Federal Government of Somalia, formed in 2012, was led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. ...»
The practice of “asi walid,” a custom whereby parents placed their children in boarding schools, other institutions, and sometimes prison for disciplinary purposes and without any legal procedure, allegedly continued throughout the country.
Early and Forced Marriage: The provisional federal constitution does not specify a
minimum legal age for marriage. It notes marriage requires the free consent of both the man and woman to be legal. Early marriages frequently occurred; 45 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married by age 18, and 8 percent were married by age 15. In rural areas parents often compelled daughters as young as 12 to marry. In areas under its control, al-Shabaab arranged compulsory marriages between its soldiers and young girls and used the lure of marriage as a recruitment tool. There were no known efforts by the government or regional authorities to prevent early and forced marriage.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: See information on girls under 18 in the women’s section above.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Child prostitution is illegal in all regions. There is no statutory rape law or minimum age for consensual sex. The law does not expressly prohibit child pornography. The law on sexual exploitation was rarely enforced, and such exploitation reportedly was frequent.
Child Soldiers: The use of child soldiers remained a problem (see section 1.g.).
Displaced Children: There was a large population of IDPs and children who lived and worked on the streets (see section 2.d.).
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information see the Department of State’s report on compliance at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
Anti-Semitism There was no known Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities The provisional federal constitution provides equal rights before the law for
persons with disabilities and prohibits the state from discriminating against them.
Authorities did not enforce these provisions. The provisional federal constitution does not specify whether this provision applies to physical, intellectual, mental, or sensory disabilities. It does not discuss discrimination by nongovernmental actors, including with regard to employment, education, air travel and other transportation, or provision of health care. The law does not mandate access to buildings, information, or communications for persons with disabilities.
The needs of most persons with disabilities were not addressed. A report by the World Health Organization and Swedish International Development Aid (SIDA estimated up to 15 percent of the population was physically disabled. In 2011 SIDA found that 25 percent of public buildings were designed to make them accessible for wheelchair users but that there were no public transportation facilities with wheelchair access.
In a March report, Amnesty International stated that persons with disabilities faced daily human rights abuses, such as unlawful killings, violence including rape and other forms of sexual violence, forced evictions, and lack of access to health care or an adequate standard of living. The report described domestic violence and forced marriage as prevalent practices affecting persons with disabilities. It added that women and girls with disabilities faced an increased risk of rape and other forms of sexual violence, often with impunity, due to perceptions their disabilities were a burden to the family or that such persons were of less value and could therefore be abused.
Several local NGOs in Somaliland provided services for persons with disabilities and reported numerous cases of discrimination and abuse. These NGOs reported that persons with mental and physical disabilities faced widespread discrimination and that it was common and condoned by the community for students without disabilities to beat and harass students with disabilities.
Without a public health infrastructure, few services existed to provide support or education for persons with mental disabilities. It was common for such persons to be chained to a tree or restrained within their homes.
Local organizations advocated for the rights of persons with disabilities with negligible support from local authorities.
More than 85 percent of the population shared a common ethnic heritage, religion, and nomad-influenced culture. In most areas the predominant clan excluded members of other groups from effective participation in governing institutions and subjected them to discrimination in employment, judicial proceedings, and access to public services.
Minority groups included the Bantu (the largest minority group), Benadiri, Rer Hamar, Brawanese, Swahili, Tumal, Yibir, Yaxar, Madhiban, Hawrarsame, Muse Dheryo, Faqayaqub, and Gabooye. Custom restricted intermarriage between minority groups and mainstream clans. Minority groups, often lacking armed militias, continued to be disproportionately subjected to killings, torture, rape, kidnapping for ransom, and looting of land and property with impunity by faction militias and majority clan members, often with the acquiescence of federal and local authorities. Many minority communities continued to live in deep poverty and to suffer from numerous forms of discrimination and exclusion.
Representatives of minority clans in the federal parliament were targeted by unknown assailants, whom minority clan members alleged were paid by majority clan members. For example, on July 25, unidentified gunmen assassinated minority parliamentarian Abdullahi Hussein Muse Bantu in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Same-sex sexual contact is punishable by imprisonment for two months to three years. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Society considered sexual orientation and gender identity taboo topics, and there was no known public discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in any region. There were no known LGBTI organizations and no reports of events. There were few reports of societal violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity due to severe societal stigma that prevented LGBTI individuals from making their sexual orientation or gender identity known publicly. There were no known actions to investigate or punish those complicit in abuses. Hate crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms did not exist to aid in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes against members of the LGBTI community.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination and abuse in their local communities and by employers in all regions. The United Nations reported that persons with HIV/AIDS experienced physical abuse, rejection by their families, and workplace discrimination and dismissal. Children with HIV-positive parents also suffered discrimination, which hindered access to services. There was no official response to such discrimination.
Section 7. Worker Rights a.
Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining The provisional federal constitution provides for the right of every worker to form and join a trade union, to participate in the activities of a trade union, to conduct legal strikes, and to engage in collective bargaining. No specific legal restrictions existed that limited these rights. The law does not provide limits on the scope of collective bargaining. The provisional federal constitution does not address antiunion discrimination or the reinstatement of workers fired for union activity.
Legal protections did not exclude any particular groups of workers. The government lacked the capacity to enforce applicable laws effectively.
Somali trade unions and the International Trade Union Confederation filed a legal complaint of violations of the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention and the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention at the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association found the government responsible for violating freedom of association and trade union rights.
Government and employers respected freedom of association.
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor The provisional federal constitution states a person may not be subjected to slavery, servitude, trafficking, or forced labor for any purpose. Authorities did not effectively enforce the law. Under the pre-1991 penal code, applicable at the federal and regional levels, the penalty for slavery is imprisonment for five to 20 years. The penalty for using forced labor is imprisonment for six months to five years. Although the penalties appeared sufficiently stringent, they were rarely applied. There were no known efforts by the government to prevent and eliminate forced labor in the country. The Ministry of Labor did not have an inspectorate and conducted no labor-related inspections.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor SOMALIA 41 Forced labor occurred. Children and minority clan members were reportedly used as porters to transport the mild narcotic khat (or “miraa”); in farming, animal herding, and crushing stones; and in construction. The use of child soldiers remained a problem (see section 1.g.). Al-Shabaab also forced persons in their camps to move to the countryside, reportedly to raise cash crops for the organization.
Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment It was unclear whether there was a minimum age for employment. The pre-1991 labor code prohibits child labor, provides a legal minimum age of 15 for most employment, prescribes different minimum ages for certain hazardous activities, and prohibits those under 18 from night work in the industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors, apart from work that engages family members only. The provisional federal constitution states, “No child may perform work or provide services that are not suitable for the child’s age or create a risk to the child’s health or development in any way.” The provisional federal constitution defines a child as any person less than 18 years of age.
The federal Ministries of Labor and of Social Affairs, Gender, and Family Affairs are responsible for enforcing child labor laws. The ministries, however, did not enforce these laws. Many of the laws related to the commercial exploitation of children are included in the 1962 penal code. These laws are not adequate to prevent child labor, as many of the fines have become negligible due to inflation.
The government participated in campaigns to remove children from participation in armed conflict (see section 1.g.).
Child labor was widespread. The recruitment and use of child soldiers remained a problem. Youths commonly worked in herding, agriculture, and household labor from an early age. Children broke rocks into gravel and worked as vendors of cigarettes and khat on the streets. UNICEF estimated that, from 1999 to 2005, the latest date for which figures were available, 36 percent of children between the ages of five and 14 were in the workforce. Observers believed the actual percentage of working children to be higher.
Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation The law and regulations prohibit discrimination regarding race, sex, disability, political opinion, color, language, or social status, but the government did not effectively enforce those laws and regulations. Penalties were not sufficient to deter violations. The law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, age, or HIV-positive status.
The Somali Congress of Trade Unions stated the organization had received several complaints from job seekers of gender- and clan-based discrimination at the largest companies in the country but that authorities did not have the capacity to enforce antidiscrimination provisions.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work There was no national minimum wage.
The labor code requires equal pay for equal work. It provides for a standard workweek of 48 hours and at least nine paid national holidays and 15 days’ annual leave, requires premium pay for overtime, and limits overtime to a maximum of 12 hours per week. The law sets occupational health and safety standards.
There was no organized effort to monitor working conditions. The Ministry of Labor was responsible at the federal level for enforcement, although it was not effective.
Wages and working conditions were established largely through ad hoc arrangements based on supply, demand, and the influence of workers’ clans. There was no information on the existence or status of foreign or migrant workers in the country. Most workers worked in the informal sector.
Authorities did not have the capacity to effectively protect workers who wished to remove themselves from situations that endangered their health or safety, although no such cases were reported.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor