News from Africa

NUSOJ Urges UN Human Rights Council to Protect Human & Trade Union Rights

Somalia

Témoignages.re / 26 September 2012

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in conjunction with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to address “evident human and trade union rights’ violations and to call for their immediate end” in Somalia.

“Somalia has seen in the last few months an unprecedented surge in violence against journalists. Currently, journalism is considered the riskiest profession in Somalia with 13 journalists killed in 2012,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General who spoke to the Human Rights Council this morning.

“Journalists continue to face suicide bombings, targeted killings, threats, violence, unlawful detention, beating, gagging and harassment by law enforcement agencies, militants, clan militias, and political leaders designed to silence them, while the perpetrators operate with impunity,” he told the 21st session of the council, adding that “the situation of journalists is at its worst in the capital city where most journalists risk their lives working in such a politically charged environment.”

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists, freedom of association is also regularly violated. Journalists are intimidated and their rights abused because of their membership of the journalists’ union. One outstanding example has been the exploitation and denial of labour rights of journalists who have worked or are working for a UN-funded radio, Radio Bar Kulan, where journalists are unlawfully employed as they have no work permits and some no written contracts while in some cases their salaries are deducted from illegally. Journalists at this radio station are working under constant fear and do not dare denounce their outrageous working conditions.

“Instead of working with the journalists’ trade union to tackle these labour rights violations, the UN support office for AMISOM, has set out to wage a war against this union and quash their independent voice because the union talked labour rights violations at this radio station,” Osman told the the UN Human Rights body. “Following an appeal from the union, the UN Political office for Somalia has failed to address these sustained and gross labour rights violation,” he added.

NUSOJ called on the world community at the Human Rights Council to provide practical support for badly needed capacity building, both long- and short-term, in Somalia, including for its endangered media community, and to provide real protection for media workers.

“We commend the distinguished and exceptional Ambassador of Somalia, H.E. Yusuf Bari-Bari, for his proactive approach and laudable leadership in putting the protection and promotion of human rights in Somalia at the centre of discussions at the council,” Osman added.

NUSOJ urged the Human Rights Council to publicly express concern over the restrictions of freedom of expression, association, and labour rights abuses, and called on the Independent Expert of Human Rights Mr. Shamsul Barri to dedicate his next report to these human and trade union rights violations, as well as social, economic and cultural rights of Somali people.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, September 26, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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