Historical archive

Holmås concerned about inadequate legal protection in Somalia

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“I am concerned about the inadequate legal protection in Somalia, especially for women and journalists. Norway will give priority to democracy building and human rights issues in its cooperation with the Somali authorities,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

“I am concerned about the inadequate legal protection in Somalia, especially for women and journalists. Norway will give priority to democracy building and human rights issues in its cooperation with the Somali authorities,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.  

A 27-year-old woman was recently sentenced to a year in prison purportedly for making a false rape accusation.  A local court convicted the woman of insulting a government body after she accused Somalia’s security forces of rape. A journalist who interviewed her about the alleged rape also received a one-year prison sentence. The case has attracted considerable attention both in Somalia and abroad. 

“It is essential that Somalia now strengthens efforts to promote human rights.  This is particularly important for women and other vulnerable groups, and is crucial for the further development of the country,” Mr Holmås said. 

An Independent Task Force on Human Rights has been set up to investigate claims of gross violations of journalists’ and women’s rights. The Task Force is made up of 13 members, of which four are women. It also includes several prominent human rights activists and representatives of NGOs. It is chaired by leading lawyer and human rights activist Maryam Yusuf Sheikh Ali. 

After 20 years of lawlessness, rape and gross violations of women’s rights have long been a major problem in Somalia. Somalia has also been one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work in. In 2012 alone, 18 journalists were killed and a number of others subjected to serious harassment.

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