Government of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

Somalia: The Somali PM Launches Human Rights Task Force

Somali Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, has launched an Independent Task Force on Human Rights to tackle what he called a "culture of impunity" in human rights abuses in Somalia.

The new body, established after extensive consultations with the Speaker of the Parliament and members of civil society groups, will investigate a broad range of human rights abuse, including the killing of journalists and sexual violence against women, both of which have been in the headlines recently in Mogadishu.

The Task Force is made up of 13 prominent and respected Somalis including human rights activists, medical and religious figures, police officers and a representative from the media. Four are women including Chairwoman Maryam Yusuf Sheikh Ali, a leading human rights lawyer. All are volunteers.

The Task Force has a three month mandate to produce a report detailing its findings and recommendations. It is intended that the Task Force will pave the way for the establishment of the permanent Human Rights Commission, which will sit in Parliament.

The Prime Minister emphasized he would do everything in his power to promote freedom of expression and noted that the Task Force would specifically be investigating allegations of widespread rape and sexual abuse in the Internally Displaced People's camps.

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