Strategic Plan for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Puntland 2015 -2017
The office was established on 27th November 2014, pursuant to the Puntland State Constitution, Human Rights Defender Act of 2011 and the UN Guiding Principles (Paris Principles) for the establishment of national human rights institutions. The establishment of the office did not spring from a vacuum, or came due to the impulse of circumstances, but rather it was as a result of collective demands of the Puntland people, and a long process of evaluation that was realized thoughts and concerted efforts undertaken by the various concerned parties of national and international.
The PIOHRD is mandated to observe constitutional and legal rights as well as advocate human rights issues at Puntland State particular, and Somalia at large. The office is committed to the protection, respect and the promotion of human rights for everyone. Human rights are the basic rights that everyone has simply because they are human.
The Office made commitment to fulfill its mandatory responsibilities with the support of government institutions, civil society, UN Agencies and NGOs. PIOHRD has initiated to conduct recruitment of number of qualified staff and preliminary assessment on human rights situation in Puntland following its establishment. In addition, the office to work effectively and prioritize the human rights activities awaiting has started the development of office strategic plan.
In this regard, PIOHRD has mobilized the partners in the protection and promotion of human rights in Puntland State of Somalia to engage collective strategic plan. The preparatory activities of development the strategic plan have gone through the following process:-
- Conducting separate discussions and meetings to collect data about human rights situation in Puntland
- Coordination of human rights institutions to develop strategic partnership
- Analyzing context and presenting the mandate, vision, mission, values of the organization, guiding principles, roles and functions of the Office
- Identify gaps of the organization to fulfill its functions and contribute to the office’s vision and analyzing external and internal factors of protection and promotion human right issues in Puntland through SWOT analysis
- Development of priority areas of interventions and related strategies
- Drafting the strategic plan and presentation to the primary partners of the human rights interventions including Ministry of Justice, Puntland Parliament (human rights committee) and other supportive human rights institutions (UN Agencies, Puntland CSOs and INGOs) for discussions, revisions and adoption.
- Convening participatory workshop to discuss and analyze the contents of the three-year- strategic plan.
- Finalization of strategic plan.
- Public launching.
The consultation workshop was conducted on the draft three year strategic plan of Puntland Independent Office for Human Rights Defender (PIOHRD) and to put forward topics for discussions among primary partners to issue joint strategic partnership to strengthen the promotion and protection mechanisms of human rights in Puntland. The workshop was held on the 14th June, 2015 at UNSOM Compound Conference Hall in Garowe.
The participants were from line ministries (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Security, Ministry of Women and Family Development, Police, Community Policing, Judiciary, Custodial Corps, MPs) UN Agencies (UNICEF, UNSOM), INGOs and L NGOs (SWU, Samafal, MAP, PLAC) through participatory process of group discussion, group presentation and joint analysis of operations, promotions, protections and legal issues.
The consultation workshop process has been the result of a joint participatory effort involving the following steps:-
- PIOHRD presented thematic areas of discussions
- Division of group discussions along four groups (human rights operations, promotion of human rights, protection of human rights and legal issues of human rights)
- Identification and analysis of human rights context in Puntland
- Agreement of priority areas of interventions
- Reviewing goal statement, objectives and strategies
- Conclusion and recommendations on the draft of the strategic plan
- The Context of Puntland
The Puntland state of Somalia was formed as an autonomous regional administration on 5th may 1998. It remains committed to being an integral part of federal Somalia. The constitution of Puntland state of Somalia provides for an anticipated federal state of Somalia. It occupies an area of 212,510 square kilometers.
Population is estimated at 4 million, of which 60% is below the age of 30. Puntland represents a state in post-conflict recovery. Civil war had a direct devastating impact on the economy and physical infrastructure of Puntland and affected the lives of all communities in Puntland. It has led to entire populations being uprooted and tens of thousands of Somalis fleeing to neighboring countries or becoming displaced throughout Somalia.
While most of Puntland regions has remained relatively stable and peaceful (except for border conflict with Somaliland), the continuing civil war in south and central of Somalia has held to a massive influx Somalis from other regions which obviously impact negatively on the state’s fragile socio-economic recovery. In addition, Puntland has been adversely affected by the 2001-2004 droughts and 2004 Tsunami disaster.
The relative peace and security of Puntland since 1992 has enabled the establishment of basic political and administrative institutions, basic social and educational services, an active civil society and growing private sector. One of the milestone achievements of Puntland State of Somalia is the establishment of National Human Rights Institution which is constitutionally mandated institution regulated by both local and international human rights law.
The level of people’s awareness on their constitutional and human right is very low. Poor coordination mechanisms of Puntland human rights promotion and protection negatively contribute the applications and enforcement of human rights principles and practices.
The protection of human rights for all community segments, particularly women, children, IDPs, refugees, persons with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups of the society through socio-economic, legal and humanitarian means to create enabling environment for equity an equality for all.
Human rights legal issues in Puntland has complex situation where some of the enabling laws enforcement is a challenge, it is also essential for reforming some of the existing laws and establishment of policies that relevant to the human rights protection and promotions to cope with the current situation.
- The Institutional Mandate
PIOHRD is an independent state institution entrusted to serve Human Rights Issues in Puntland State of Somalia. It serves as relay mechanisms between the Puntland State government and the public at one side and the Puntland State and international human rights institutions on the other side.
The office was established on 27th November 2014, pursuant to the Puntland State Constitution, Human Rights Defender Act of 2011 and the International Human Rights law and UN Guiding Principles (Paris Principles). The establishment of the office did not spring from a vacuum, or came due to the impulse of circumstances, but rather it was as a result of collective demands of the Puntland people, and a long process of evaluation that was realized thoughts and concerted efforts undertaken by the various concerned parties of national and international.
The PIOHRD is mandated to observe and defend human rights in accordance with UN HR conventions, principles of Paris convention, constitutional and legal rights as well as advocate the protection and promotion of human rights issues at Puntland State particular, and Somali in general. The office is committed to the protection, respect and the promotion of human rights for everyone. Human rights are the basic rights that everyone has, simply because they are human.
The primary focus of PIOHRD is to strengthen the extension of human rights to all sections of society and empower them to raise their voices to be heard, in particular, the vulnerable groups. As it is obvious to everyone, the institutional and individual transformation is not enough to expose and protest injustice, but the requirement is to advocate for creation of enabling environment and policy solutions necessary to ensure consistent observance, respect and defend for human rights in Puntland through institutional and legal advocacy for all community segments as well as government tiers.
In accordance with Article 118 of the Constitution of Puntland State of Somalia and Article 12 of the Human Rights Defender Act of 2011, The Human Right Defender plays key broad functions and mandates including the following:
- To prevent violations of human rights by providing advice to the relevant authorities.
- To promote awareness and respect, among the public and public officials, of the importance of protecting human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of Puntland, as well as in international protocols and human rights conventions.
- To protect and promote human rights that are enshrined in this Constitution and other related laws.
- To investigate any allegations reported by citizens or social organizations regarding violations of human rights and to present the results of those investigations to the relevant authorities, the public and to make recommendations to protect human rights in Puntland State.
- To support victims violated their human rights, and defend these victims in the court or in public.
- To appoint special committees that helps the defender to fulfill his/her duties.
- To monitor places where he/she suspects human rights violations have been or are taking place.
- To advocate the reform of laws or administrative procedures in order to increase the protection and respect of human rights.
- To issue an annual report on the condition of human rights in Puntland State.
- To submit a proposed legislation to the Council of Ministers related to human rights.
- To interrogate any person who has link/interfere with any ongoing investigation issue that the office is dealing with.
- The defender has the power of investigator and fact finding when discharging his/her duties.
- To investigate any allegations that arises on violations or abuses of the citizens’ human rights.
- The defender has powers and responsibilities that the laws of Puntland vested with the office.
- The PIOHRD Guiding Principles
- Constitution of Puntland State of Somalia, Constitution of Federal Republic of Somalia.
- National laws of Somalia.
- International Laws.
- Universal Declaration on Human Rights of December 1948.
- Ratified Covenants, Conventions and Treaties.
- UN guiding principles on the establishment of the national human rights institutions (Paris Principles).
- Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework” UN Human Rights Council; 16 June 2011.
- The PIOHRD Vision
PIOHRD vision is to create a society where dignity and human rights of all persons, including refugees, IDPs, minorities, women, disabled, aged and children living in the Puntland State of Somalia, are fully respected, realized and protected by the rule of law.
The PIOHRD is committed to the full implementation of all human rights protection and promotion set forth in the Puntland Constitution, national laws as well as international human rights standards at the community, local and Puntland State levels in accordance with the conventions signed by Somali State and the guiding principles called Paris Principles.
- PIOHRD Values
- Independence and Autonomy: The PIOHRD is mandated and determined to maintain its autonomy and independence financially or otherwise. This will ensure its impartiality.
- Integrity, Transparency and Accountability: PIOHRD is committed to the accountability to the people and has high standards of ethical conduct integrity and good governance. PIOHRD has duty to get information from the people and give the information to the people in a transparent way without delay. The Work of PIOHRD will be guided by the principles of professionalism including integrity to the principles, core values and sincerity in its everyday activities.
- Impartiality and neutrality: The PIOHRD is impartial and neutral. It is free of prejudice against any individual, group or agency based on any grounds such as faith, opinion, belief, sex, clan or social status, among others. Impartiality and fairness will be ensured during all the stages of its work.
- Equity and Equality: The PIOHRD works in creating equity to achieve equality in the light of ensuring all categories of human rights for all the people equally. It will therefore strive to promote equal opportunities to people in all its activities.
- Accessibility: The PIOHRD will attempt to make its maximum possible presence for investigation and monitoring of human rights violations across the Puntland territory. It would ensure that its services are within the reasonable reach of the general public, particularly of the people who are living and working in the vulnerable circumstances.
- The Roles of PIOHRD
- The general roles of the PIOHRD in the protection and promotion of human rights in Puntland. In a summary way following are the main roles of the office:
- Advice and engagement of Puntland Government and parliament at all levels: since the central authority and responsibility for protecting human rights rests with the government tiers, their engagement and capacitating to respect, protect and fulfill human rights requirements in accordance with the constitution, national laws, Paris principles and other ratified conventions by Somali State.
- Cooperating with human rights stakeholders, civil society, governments institutions, concerned UN Agencies, other human rights based institutions both national and international.
- Protecting and promoting the human rights issues including vulnerable groups/persons and sections of the society, because of their origin, gender, age, disability, minorities and clan.
- Linking human rights to development initiatives and good governance through human rights based approach and especially through economic, social and cultural righ
- Monitoring, investigating and documenting human rights abuses and violation and visiting sites with human rights allegations including prisons, and police stations.
- PIOHRD Roles in Promotion of human rights in Puntland
- Formulate and deliver human rights education initiatives, including specific education to vulnerable groups to access to justice.
- Publicize human rights.
- Increase public awareness on human rights and state obligation toward citizens.
- Link human rights with development and good governance.
- PIOHRD Roles in Protection of human rights in Puntland
- Receiving and Investigations of complaints.
- Alternative dispute resolution.
- Seeking redress or remedies through the courts.
- Public inquiry.
- Installing hotline and support desk.
- PIOHRD Roles in Access to justice and rule of law
- Human rights abuses and violations victim support.
- Police and CIDs trained with human rights principles and practices
- Increase capacity of judiciary for identifying potential human rights cases and adjudicate according to the national and international human rights laws.
- Increase access of women and vulnerable groups to justice
- Advocate for the increase of female working in the law enforcement and judiciary to attract women victims.