Somaliland:Human Rights Center Strongly Condemns the Closure of Haatuf newspaper
7th April 2014 4/2014
Today, 7th April 2014 about 16:00 local time, Somaliland Police produced a court warrant ordering the immediate shut down of the headquarters of the independent Haatuf newspaper and sister English paper, Somaliland Times. Human Rights Center strongly condemns the closure which is in violation of the freedom of the press guaranteed by the constitution of Somaliland.
On 13th December 2013, in the same manner the Police closed Hubaal newspaper which is so far on suspension without any suit initiated against it.
The suspension of the papers critical to the government is serious human rights problem that concerns Human Rights Center. The independent press is the backbone of democracy.
As stated in article 32 of the constitution, all the acts that suppress the media are prohibited. Article 28 of the constitution obliges the parties to have equal opportunity before the judiciary.
The judiciary shall be independent from the executive branch. The Center is very concerned the judicial acts which seem to be aimed at silencing the press.
Haatuf has recently published stories related to oil explorations and how it is managed.
The acts against Haatuf and Hubaal are in violation of the freedom of the press and the rule of law.
Human Rights Center requests the government of Somaliland:
To immediately lift the suspension of Haatuf, Somaliland Times and Hubaal newspapers and to allow the papers to continue their publications,
To halt the acts that harm the independent press,
The judiciary to provide equal opportunities of hearing the parties before issuing decisions.
MS Mulaho Mohamed Ali
The spokesperson of Human Rights Center