The ending of impunity in Somalia particularly that related to the killing of journalist is a human rights priority, the UN special representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga has told Bar-kulan as the world marks the international day to end impunity.
In response to emailed questions by Bar-kulan regarding the role of UNPOS in ending impunity in Somalia, Mahiga emphasized the need for law enforcement to investigate each killing, apprehend suspects and follow due process to ensure that culprits are brought to justice.
In Somalia, more than 18 journalists were killed this year alone, making the country the worst place for journalists in the world and the perpetrators of such killings were never brought to book, according to journalists’ rights groups.
“This year alone the SRSG Dr. Augustine Mahiga has issued at least 10 Statements and addressed press conferences condemning the targeted assassination of journalists in Somalia,” said a statement from UNPOS, adding that the new Somali government has taken a step in the right direction to end impunity by setting up a Task Force to investigate the killings.
Mahiga said the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) has police advisors working with AMISOM to strengthen investigative capability of the Somali Police Force to enable them make arrests and follow through with their investigations and prosecutions of those perpetuating these violent crimes.
On issues regarding UNPOS’ support to Somali journalists and media development in the country, Mahiga said “On 29 November 2012, UNPOS is scheduled to hand over media conferencing equipment to the incoming Minister of Information of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” with the objective of enabling the Somali Ministry of Information (Mol) to provide a dedicated room for press conferences for Ministers and other key government officials.
He stated that such equipment will enable proactive and efficient communications on the part of the government and also provide a space for the media to get information directly from the government.
The UN special representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga said UNPOS is a founding member of a wider grouping called the Somali Media Support Group (SMSG) that has already developed a draft strategy that provides the basis of sector wide support and cooperation from 2012 to 2015.
According to Mahiga’s office, the SMSG is currently co-chaired by the British Office for Somalia on behalf of the Donor’s Group, United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Relief International represents NGOs and brings together donors, UN agencies and implementing partners active in media development.
The International Day to End Impunity was launched on 23 November 2011 to mark the anniversary of the 2009 Ampatuan massacre in the Philippines, where 32 journalists and media workers were murdered.