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NUSOJ calls on UNHRC for dedicated action to end free expression violations and the culture of impunity in Somalia

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 29 September 2010 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) today, Wednesday 29 September 2010, called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to take appropriate actions "to end the hostility towards independent media and to ensure that those who kill, attack, imprison or otherwise violate the rights of journalists" are held accountable and are punished in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1738" on the safety of journalists in conflict areas.

Speaking at the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman said, "The assassination of journalists has for many years been a standing tactic by Islamist militants, but more recently they have adopted a novel approach involving taking over the management and ownership of private media houses and using them to spread hate campaigns and misinformation."

Osman told the UNHRC that "the violence and fear of violence in southern and central regions of the country is testimony to the continuous struggle by journalists to uphold their rights, especially the right to freedom of expression". Violence remains a powerful influence that enforces a culture of silence and impunity, he added. Journalists are "routinely targeted because their murderers fear that a free, fair and diverse media will make them accountable for their actions and keep citizens in a constant state of vigilance".

NUSOJ, alongside Freedom House, called on the Human Rights Council to condemn these criminal acts against the right of freedom of expression. "The impact is not limited to individual journalists but extends to their family and also the wider community. Ultimately it challenges the values enshrined in human rights, a free press and a free society. With no journalists left to inform them, the Somali people are unable to communicate between themselves and with their neighbours" said both NUSOJ and Freedom House.

"We appeal to the international community to set in motion a dedicated collective action to end the violations of freedom of expression and the culture of impunity, if peace is to come back to Somalia. There will be no peace without justice for human rights", declared Osman.

NUSOJ had the privilege to also take part in the unprecedented stand-alone interactive dialogue for Somalia that was convened today for the first time for Somalia, as well as interactive dialogue with the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights Situation in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, who presented his report to the UNHRC today.

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