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NUSOJ calls for UN Human Rights Council to renew mandate of Independent Expert

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - On 25 September 2009, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) called for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somalia and warned that failure to do so would heighten violations as rights abusers would enjoy unbridled impunity.

"We are aware that the mandate of the Independent Expert of Human Rights ends this month. Our main fear is that if this mandate is not renewed, Somalia will slide back into the abyss of violence and impunity, where criminals and other rights abusers will be carrying out their activities without fear of being made accountable," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General.

NUSOJ made an earnest request to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to accept and support the renewal of the mandate as a concerned member State. The union is also appealing to the Africa Group and the other members of the Council to rally behind its call and vote for the renewal of the mandate when the Independent Expert presents his report at the end of this month.

Already, the Somali journalist body said, impunity is on the rise and Somalia is facing severe violations of freedom of expression. Media houses are being threatened with closure. Journalists are being shot and killed in targeted attacks. People are being kidnapped, bombed, shot, amputated and forced out of their residential areas without any fear of reprisal.

"This in itself points to the fact that there is a great need to continue putting Somalia in the international spotlight. Failure to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert would be tantamount to passing a death sentence on helpless ordinary Somalis," Osman added.

This year alone, six journalists have been killed and many more journalists received death threats, making the country one of the deadliest in the world for journalists. A day hardly passes without a serious human rights violation being committed in a senseless war that has claimed thousands of lives.

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