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NUSOJ urges Transitional Federal Government to accept UN recommendations to improve free expression situation

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 3 May 2011- Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is the human rights monitoring mechanism of the United Nations, is today, 3 May 2011, reviewing Somalia. This is the first ever review for Somalia in addition to other existing mechanisms for monitoring of the compliance of human rights such as the periodic review of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.

While welcoming Somalia to be subjected for a review by UN Human Rights Council under the UPR this year, NUSOJ wishes to express grave concerns over the serious human rights violations which have taken place and are ongoing, particularly in southern and central Somalia; these include violations of freedom of expression, the use of the judicial system to suppress critical voices, threats against human rights defenders and other forms of serious violations of human rights.

"Taking this vital opportunity, we urge the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, whose high-level delegation is currently in Geneva, to pay more attention to this review in order to ensure full compliance of all international covenants and conventions in relation to human rights of which Somalia is party to and has ratified," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ provided a submission about widespread and routine violations of the right to freedom of expression, particularly freedom of the press, to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The submission, which underlines suppression and restrictions on freedom of expression, focused on killings of journalists, violence, arrests and threats against media professionals, restrictions on free expression using the pretexts of defamation, terrorism or national security, the lack of a justice system or independent courts of justice and crimes committed against journalists; overall, a pervasive culture of impunity.

"It is our hope that the TFG will consider the concerns of civil society and the international community, and will accept the recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council in order to improve the freedom of expression situation and the overall state of human rights in the country," added Osman.

Somalia will be assessed on how it respects its human rights obligations contained in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), human rights instruments to which Somalia is party (human rights treaties ratified by Somalia), voluntary pledges and commitments made by Somalia, as well as applicable international humanitarian laws.

Click here to read NUSOJ's submission

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