Human rights in Somaliland

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Human rights in Somaliland are protected by Chapter one, Part three of the Constitution of Somaliland.

As of 2009, Freedom House names the following human rights problems in Somaliland: corruption, interference and harassment of journalists, banning non-Islamic proselytizing, banning public demonstrations, lack of due process and prolonged detention before trial, weak judiciary and female genital mutilation.[1]
For the past 20 years, Somalia has been critically victimized by a crisis of human rights. The nation’s suffering has been described by precarious defilements of both humanitarian law and human rights. There is great concern for maintaining the protection of the country’s people in the context of the “armed conflict, combined with impunity and lack of accountability.”[2]

Human Rights Concern[edit]

“The collapse of the humanitarian situation has further aggravated the human rights crisis and resulted in massive displacement of Somalis from the Southern regions into TFG-controlled territories and across the borders into Ethiopia and Kenya.”[3] A just approach to the direct strategies for undertaking the food crisis has been advocated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the margins of the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council. The vulnerability of the displaced has raised acute protection concerns. “In 2011, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights facilitated Somalia’s engagement in the Universal Period Review of the Human Rights Council. Somalia accepted, fully or in part, all 155 recommendations formulated by Member States for the improvement of its human rights record.”[4] Human Rights Center in Hargeisa released in 2013 report titled "The chained constitution"in which the Center raised serious concern on the human rights situation in Somaliland.[5]


The deficiency of@#$% authority and influence of law as well as the climate of insecurity has developed a society in which “certain categories of professionals, such as journalists and judges, are increasingly targeted for extrajudicial killings.”[6] Although there exists access to education by an entire educated generation, the country is ignorant to the concept of human rights. For the most part, the rights of women and children are at great risk as they are under constant violation.

Government Recommendations[edit]

These endorsements cover a number of matters such as:

  • Political process;
  • Peace and reconciliation;
  • Protection of civilians in the context of the armed conflict;
  • Ratification of international human rights instruments; and
  • Development of human rights-compliant legislative and policy frameworks, including at the level of the Constitution, establishment of a national human rights institution, and the strengthening of civilian police and the judiciary, among others.[7]

The Universal Period Review endorsements offer a detailed blueprint for refining the system of human rights in Somalia.

The Role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights[edit]

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights implements its Somalia programme through the Human Rights Unit of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). The Human Rights Unit was created in 2008 with a mandate to carry out monitoring and capacity-building, as well as to mainstream human rights within the activities of the UN Country Team for Somalia.”[8]

“In 2011, the UNPOS Human Rights Unit:

  • Translated core human rights treaties and Universal Period Review documentation into Somali;
  • Developed an advanced human rights curriculum for judicial staff and trained judicial instructors from across Somalia on human rights;
  • Facilitated a human rights review of the draft Constitution, in collaboration with the Ministry for Constitutional Affairs, with the participation of civil society representatives;
  • Documented sexual violence in camps for internally displaced persons in Mogadishu;
  • Mainstreamed human rights in security sector development by advocating in relevant working groups for the protection of civilians, accountability of security forces, and treatment of ex-combatants in accordance with human rights law;
  • Trained correction officers in Somaliland on human rights and rule of law.
  • Trained staff from legal aid clinics in Somaliland on human rights;
  • Assisted Puntland authorities with the development of a policy on internally displaced persons in line with international standards;
  • Facilitated visits by the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia as well as a visit by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women in December 2011."[9]

"The Human Rights Unit of UNPOS contributes to the quarterly Secretary-General’s report on Somalia, the Secretary-General’s report on Piracy and the annual report of the Secretary-General on Violence against Women in Conflict.”[10]

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Somalia Programme Priorities for 2012-2013[edit]

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has identified the following thematic priorities for its Somalia programme in 2012-2013:

  • Combating impunity and strengthening accountability, the rule of law, and democratic societies, with an emphasis on institution and capacity building;
  • Protecting human rights in situations of violence and insecurity, with a focus on the protection of civilians, internally displaced persons and journalists;
  • Countering discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against women and ethnic minorities;
  • Supporting the signature, ratification and implementation of human rights treaties and facilitating Somalia’s effective cooperation with Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council
  • Raising awareness about economic and social rights.”[11]

Governance, Rule of Law & Security[edit]

“The Governance and Rule of Law Programme responds directly to three of the four outcome areas outlined in the new country programme: capacity-building for peace and human security, strengthened governance and rule of law institutions, systems, practices and services, and gender equality.”[12] The United Nations Development Programme's Rule of Law and Security Programme work towards an enhanced system of security and fortification for all people of Somaliland under the law. The organization aims to establish strengthened local and national capacities to stop, moderate, and deal with the influence of violence so that peace may be restored in the country of the Somalis.

“The three ROLS projects provide a development approach to rule of law and security, addressing simultaneously the institutional (top down) and community (bottom up) aspects of rule of law and security:

  • Access to Justice — The project is not only seeking to train and build the capacity of the legal profession, it also works on providing access to justice for most vulnerable communities, especially those living in areas with no functioning state institutions.
  • Civillian Police — UNDP considers police work to be a service to the community.
  • Community Security — (DDR/AVR) —Community security recognizes the role of communities in ensuring their wellbeing and reducing armed violence at the local level, in partnership with local authorities.”[13]


The Governance Programme endorses local and country-wide establishments while serving to mediate Somalia's development of acceptable “governance and public accountability” in a setting of which “government functions are emerging or non-existent.”[14] As a result, the UNDP has instituted three projects through the Governance Programme to suit the three most vital needs of the people of Somalia.

  • Local Governance - UNDP, together with four other UN agencies, works to place communities at the core of local development, to ensure that the services provided are relevant to a given community and that the local councils are accountable to the people and transparent.
  • Somali Institutional Development Project - SIDP seeks to implement institutional development and capacity building first by targeting the ‘machinery of government' (parliament and central agencies), followed by professional institutions responsible for public administration.
  • Constitution-making Support Project - UNDP and Somali partners designed the Somali Institution Development Project for south central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland.”[15]


External links[edit]