Somalia

Striving to Widen Democratic Space in Somalia’s Political Transition

This joint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Of ce of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) focuses on the right to freedom of opinion and expression in Somalia in the context of the country’s democratic transition. The report assesses progress since 2012 and the challenges to creating democratic space for Somali citizens on key processes, such as the constitutional review, State formation and the electoral process. 2016 is a critical juncture in Somalia’s political transition, ahead of the expected 2020 “one person, one vote” elections.

Freedom of expression plays a central role in building democratic states and in time of political transformation. Its exercise allows political processes to be open, free, fair, and legitimate, enabling pluralistic political communication and ensuring representative and meaningful public and political discourse. Securing space for the multiple voices of politicians, media, and the population in general, is both a permanent challenge and a critical opportunity for any democracy. The report also analyses the violations related to freedom of expression documented by UNSOM from 2012 until 2016, including killings, beatings, harassment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, lack of due process or fair trial guarantees, and closure of media outlets. While such violations receive press coverage and are publicly and privately raised by journalists and other media workers, media associations and human rights defenders, the authorities rarely investigate the cases or prosecute perpetrators. Genuine accountability can only be achieved if there is a systematic and of cial response to impunity by ensuring that effective investigations and prosecutions take place and punishments are duly enforced.

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PREPARED BY : UNSOM AND UNITED NATION HUMAN RIGHTS ' Office of high commissioner'

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