New York

05 February 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Somalia

The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed over the one-year sentences handed down in Mogadishu today against a woman and a Somali journalist. The woman alleged she was raped by armed men in government uniforms while living in a camp for internally displaced persons.

The United Nations has repeatedly expressed alarm over reports of pervasive sexual violence in IDP camps in and around Mogadishu.  These crimes are underreported because of risks to victims, witnesses and family members, as well as of intense stigmatization. It takes extraordinary courage for survivors to come forward.

Somalia is emerging from a long and difficult period of instability, with representative institutions and a new Government that has made a commendable commitment to uphold human rights and the rule of law for all.  This journey must begin with a solid foundation based on respect for human rights, freedom of expression and fair judicial process.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of Somalia to ensure that all allegations of sexual violence are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice. Above all, it is essential that the rights of the alleged victim and the journalist to a fair and transparent judicial process, including the right of appeal, are fully respected.