Sunday, November 11, 2007

To save SHURO-Net is to help promote Human Rights in Somaliland

(Waridaad) - When I circulated my advice Constitutionalism First for SHURO-Net Members to the all people who received the SHURO-Net Public Notice Ref/SHURO-Net/ 0333 /07, Dated 26/10/07 little did I know that SHURO-Net officers (employees) would be forced to handover or cooperate with the new board or even get locked out of office by the Somaliland Police on orders of the Ministry of Justice. And little did I know that my piece would appear in the new papers see Togdheer News Net works available at . These were my personal views that were not necessarily the official position of my former Employer Progressio which I used for quick identity purposes.

Mine again is just yet another piece of advice to the lovers of Human Rights coming from the Civil Society, Government and Private Sector. We may all agree that SHURO-Net has championed Human Rights in Somaliland. In a crooked situation the officers of this needed not to be caught in between the mess, as mere workers they needed much protection from either side of the conflicting bodies – the supposedly outgoing relied on technical input of these workers and the likewise the challenged incoming team. Assuming the incoming was mandated as in the circular signed by Suleiman Ismail Bolaleh Secretary-General on the 24/Oct/2007 a team of these workers is necessary in furnishing them with the technical details of how SHURO-Net was operating.

The questions that still remain an answered are, why does an organization with over 70 NGOs member organization get half of the number participating, well the 37 who appeared are more less half. Why did the other part remain? Who called for the Extra-Ordinary AGM, was s(he) mandated by member organizations to carry on this meeting according to the constitution. Also check the eligibility of SHURO-Net members if at all they could qualify to be the AGM. Was the meeting widely publicized to give enough time for all the 70, were they all invited , were their invitations delivered , did they confirm participation or was the meeting clandestinely arranged. Did SHURO-Net sitting board know there were pressures from the members, did they have plans for the AGM, did they know it was due time to have a new board; were they following the constitution because it appears 50% wanted these changes. Again this is majority member verses the constitution, the majority wanted some changes, but the constitutions probably gives power to the sitting board to arrange the AGM. Therefore SHURO-Net constitution is supreme.

As for the case government, SHURO-Net must be aware that Civil Societies all over the world save a few are considered as opposition, yet the tendencies of an organization like SHURO-Net is to educate, monitor, document, advise, recommend, advise , report and evaluate issues about human rights in the country. It doesn’t in any way take part in politics, whether the opposition is oppressed, whether journalist are imprisoned, domestic violence, employment opportunities, prevention of inter-government conflicts. Actually SHURO-Net can defend the rights of the president, ministers, government officers and employees. So it ranges from common person across all people to those in higher levels.

SHURO-Net erred to a whole Honorable Deputy Minister of Justice during an election, and remember the Minister if had turned down the invitation, he would have been blamed for not honoring the invitation. So you made a minister a witness that would be probably the reason why the police was sent to defend the legitimacy of the elected board. Supposing the police is not sent and two groups fight at SHURO-Net, the police would be blamed for not keeping law and order. My advice is that the Board of Trustees as mentioned in my last advice would have sufficed. The Honorable Minster would have just presided over during the smooth handover or even the swearing in of a new team.

The 37 member organizations needed to use the constitutional means, first by raising a petition, thereafter go to courts of law for legal redress. But now events have taken place, what is needed at the moment to save SHURO-Net is to get involved in a dialogue, first by each group asking itself the mistakes for learning purposes. After analyzing the mistakes then a round table to negotiate each group’s positions is the matter at hand.

Some of us wherever we are we see Somaliland as that part of Somali Speaking people which has excelled in democracy, and thus use this image to support the recognition of this country, during the September 2007 Annual Ramadhan Convention at the Islamic University in Ugandan in the paper “The Somali Conflict: Lessons for Muslims and the Way forward” , I was able to point out in my concluding remark that Somaliland as a nascent democratic country with a good foundation for respect of human rights , a value that required support for recognition as an independent state if she was to consolidate that position. This was also in line with my other submission to the African Civil Society Forum in Addis Ababa (March 2007) in the paper “MDGs in Somaliland: Challenges of Civil Society in promoting Governance and Human Rights”. I categorically emphasized that The Republic of Somaliland took a human rights-based approach towards reconstructing the country. That this fact was clearly substantiated by the Somaliland Constitution which pronounces basic provisions for the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights and freedoms in conformity with both international and regional standards.

This thus may appear there may be a few issues being misunderstood about the quest for the spirit of peace and reconciliation across Somaliland and thus the government may perceive SHURO-Net as pro-opposition or even SHURO-Net perceive government as an interferer. In all our submission as Civil Society, the need for partnership is very necessary; it is a tri-partnership where Government, Private Sector and Civil Society work together for national development. The closure of SHURO-Net impacts negativity on several NGOs working for youth, children, prisoners, media, women, minorities and PWDs rights. The two groups a must, have to meet and engage in a dialogue.

Amir Ahmed Manghali

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