Alarmed by the worsening human and trade union rights situation in Somalia, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Mr Pier Antonio Panzeri made the following statement:
“I am alarmed by the threats and intimidations coupled with a smear campaign against the Secretary General of the Somali trade union ‘National Union of Somali Journalists’ (NUSOJ), Mr Omar Faruk Osman, who is also General Secretary of the ‘Federation of Somali Trade Unions’ (FESTU). Other union leaders and activists are also targeted for standing up and defending freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. Somalia’s unjustifiable anti-trade union campaign must stop.
Leadership and members of trade union organisations in Somalia, and in particular FESTU and NUSOJ, are the target of serious human rights violations such as bans on union meetings, interferences in internal union affairs and even risks to their personal safety. These attacks appear to be part of a coordinated strategy to destabilise legitimate and independent trade union work and to pave the way for government-sponsored individuals to take over independent unions.
I therefore urgently call on the Somali government to stop human rights abuses and smear campaigns against the NUSOJ and FESTU leadership. I also call on the Council, the European External Action Service (EEAS), EU member states and the wider international community to apply pressure on the Somali government so that it fully complies with decisions of and commitments made to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and with appeals from UN human rights experts. Last but not least the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights will consider further action on this situation”.