Somalia: RSF Briefs Human Rights Council On Somalia, Calls for Moratorium On Arrests of Journalists

During a UN Human Rights Council debate on Somalia in the presence of the independent expert on the human rights situation in this country, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) acknowledged the significant progress made in combatting impunity for crimes against Somali journalists but said it continued to be concerned about the hostile climate and asked the Council and Somalia’s partner countries to encourage the authorities to decree a moratorium on arrests of journalists as soon as possible.

The oral intervention by Isabel Amosse, RSF’s head of advocacy, during this inter-active debate on 2 October is appended below:

Madam Chair,

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the work of the independent expert on Somalia.

The state of press freedom continues to be concerning in this country, which is ranked 163rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

More than 50 journalists have been killed in the past ten years. This is the deadliest country for journalists in Africa and one of the most dangerous in the world.

Terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab, violent crime, the violent methods sometimes used by the security forces, corruption, and the control of parts of the country by non-state entities or entities that do not recognize the authority of the federal government result in an environment that is very hostile for journalists.

Significant progress has nonetheless been registered in the past two years. A policeman was sentenced in absentia for the murder of a journalist and two soldiers were discharged from the army for mistreating reporters after detaining them.