Somalia should protect trade unions and their leaders, ILO recommends

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

The International Labour organization released a number of recommendations urging the Somali National government to do more to protect trade unions and trade leaders in the country.

The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) together with the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), filed complaints against the Somali Government accusing it of serious threats, acts of intimidation and reprisals against members and leaders of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the lack of adequate responses by the Federal Government of Somalia to the recommendations approved earlier by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in favour of Somalia´s independent trade union movement against the national government.

The complaint was backed by evidence of systematic violations of the rights to freedom of association, interference in internal trade union affairs, intimidation of trade union leaders and members, a smearing campaign against them and the restriction of the unions´ work.

The recommendations, approved during the 3311st Session of the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland, were made by the Organisation´s Committee on Freedom of Association following a complaint lodged by NUSOJ, the Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) against the Federal Government of Somalia.

The Committee urged the government to “rapidly provide information on the measures taken to ensure that the FESTU and the NUSOJ can fully develop their trade union activities without hindrance and that independent judicial inquiries are promptly instituted in the event of any complaints of threats or acts of violence against trade union members and leaders, this in order to fully uncover the underlying facts and circumstances, identify those responsible, punish the guilty parties, and prevent the repetition of such acts”

The committee made a number of recommendations that required the Somali government to “provide its reply to the allegations that the Chief Justice, namely Dr Aidid Abdullahi Ilkahanaf, who handed down a ruling in favour of Mr Osman – and against theGovernment’s position – was sacked by presidential decree. It also requests the Government to inform of the current duties of Dr Aidid Abdullahi Ilkahanaf, in particular whether he remained in the judiciary”.

The Committee also urged the government to provide explanations for the reasons of the arrest of specific union leaders, assassinations and attempted assassinations against members of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

For the third year in a row, Somalia has ranked as the world’s leading country where slain journalists’ deaths go unpunished.