The Federal Government of Somalia must demonstrate full respect for the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, and end attacks on independent trade union movement, said the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

The Office of Attorney General had today summoned NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman to respond farfetched accusations of: 1) “organizing on 3 May a commemoration of world press freedom at Diplomatic, without authorisation from the Ministry of Information” and 2) “issuing on 6 May an abusive Statement, as NUSOJ, which offended and defamed Minister of Information of the Federal Government of Somalia, and was widely disseminated”.

Given that the Ministry of Information and its Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman “Yarisow” are officially cited in the accusations, NUSOJ points the finger at the Minister of Information for conspiratorially seeking prosecutorial or judicial action for NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman through marionettes.

NUSOJ leadership and membership assertively exercised their constitutional right, as stipulated in article 20, clause (1), “every person has the right to organize and participate in meetings, and to demonstrate and protest peacefully, without requiring prior authorization”. Clearly the highest law of the land sets aside the intention of the Ministry of Information which is to oblige NUSOJ or its members to seek an authorization from the Ministry or any other State institution.

The summon and the interrogations of Omar Faruk Osman is just one link in a long chain of acts that are meant to subdue independent activism and concoct criminal proceedings against human rights defenders, including journalists and trade unionists.

“It’s absurd that organising celebration of world press freedom and challenging a Minister of Information over press freedom issues and interests of journalists are deemed to be criminal offences that warrant Attorney General’s intervention” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

“Such reprehensible accusations only boost our spirits and we shall successfully fend them off. But this case badly exposes the conspirator in chief who proves once again that he is lacking focus and direction of what is important in delivering the aspirations of Somali people. People need democracy not despotism”, added Osman.

These tacit and overt activities of the Minister of Information are in total contradiction of the constitutional rights and the commitments made by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Khaire in respecting human rights and promoting good governance.

NUSOJ stands on its position that Minister Yarisow is a well-known anti-trade union Minister who is busy on union-busting and engineering of fake trade unionism when Somalia needs free and independent trade unions that hold government and employers to account.

A delegation from the trade unions, including NUSOJ, will be attending 106th session of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva next week and NUSOJ will report the nefarious activities of the Minister of Information.

May 30, 2017
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