MOGADISHU, Somalia 09 February 2022 – Somali Media Association (SOMA) Somali and the Journalists Syndicate (SJS) jointly welcome the United States Government’s decision on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 to impose a visa ban on ‘current or former Somali officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia, including through violence against protestors, unjust arrests or intimidation of journalists and opposition members, and manipulation of the electoral process’. The visa restrictions may also be subject to the immediate family members of the persons targeted.
Speaking at a press conference in Mogadishu, SJS Secretary General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, said the decision by the U.S Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken to sign the implementation of a policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that restricts the issuance of visas to the targeted individuals was just and timely.
“We, the Somali media community, welcome Secretary Anthony Blinken’s decision as a move to uphold justice, protection of human rights including the right to freedom of expression and freedom to assembly and hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable. Those who harass, arrest and intimidate journalists now know that they are going away with their crimes even if they are powerful officials,” Mr. Mumin said.
SJS and SOMA are jointly urging other members of the international community such as the European Union (EU), Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), Turkey, the African Union and the Arab League to take similar action as the United States. The international community has a moral mandate to promote and protect the effective enjoyment by all of all human rights including the right to freedom of expression and media.
“We urge other countries such as the EU, Canada, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the African Union and the Arab League to follow suit and take similar action as the United States. The protection of journalists and human rights defenders, and ending impunity for attacks against them, must become a priority for all international partners supporting Somalia’s state-building,” adds Mr. Mumin.
SOMA Secretary General, Mohamed Osman Makaran said the endangered Somali journalists have been for longtime waiting to see an end of the impunity for crimes against journalists and media professionals.
“Today we see the international community – especially the U.S Government – taking its responsibility and standing up for the rights of journalists in Somalia by targeting those who attack, intimidate and violate rights of journalists,” Makaraan said “We request all other international partners to stand for safeguarding free press in Somalia. Those who attack journalists and human rights defenders must not enjoy with impunity.”