Rape, Impunity and Human Rights Violations in Somalia
The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network) is strongly condemning the recent ruling of a Somali Court against a 15-year old rape victim which encourages a culture of impunity, especially in cases where government officials are involved.
The official, a presidential guard and a regular customer of the tea seller, lured the young girl to his house where he raped her. The young girl courageously reported the incident to her family who became subject to continuous threats by the perpetrator. Legal proceedings leading to the incarceration and investigation of the official by the Criminal Investigation Department were initiated. However, when the case went for trial, the court ruled in favor of the perpetrator. The official was acquitted based on fabricated witnesses who stated that the victim is his wife and they had so far kept their relationship from public.
SIHA (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa) is deeply concerned about security threats against civil society organizations in Somalia, especially those defending the rights of vulnerable groups especially women and girls who were victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Sexual violence continues to increase in Somalia following the recent impeachment against the president, which caused political instability and a crackdown on IDPs around the capital city. The situation for civil society organizations has to date not been without challenges, however latest trends have shown that carrying out work as civil society actors is becoming increasingly difficult regarding the culture of impunity within the justice system of Somalia. Sources indicate that violations committed by government officials have been on the rise in recent months, but given their influence and political power, it is impossible to hold them accountable for the crimes committed. (Source: allafrica.com)