Human rights defender
Jama has been working as a journalist and a human rights defender for the last ten years in Puntland, a territory with contested autonomous status in north-eastern Somalia. He currently works with a foreign TV channel as the Director for the Puntland region. Jama also produces and presents a popular TV show. The TV show discusses topics such as political accountability, gender and human rights advocacy. Recently, Jama has highlighted how Al-Shabaab exploits disadvantaged children, focused on the political representation women during the elections in 2016 and reported on an infamous gang-rape case, which finally led to the sentencing of five suspects. Jama is also the member of a media association. In the course of his career he has worked for various local and international media outlets, mainly focusing on politics and human rights issues.
Human rights violations in Puntland and Somalia
Somalia is deeply ridden with terrorism and organized crime, which have been increasing in the past few years, especially in Mogadishu. The jihadist terrorist group Al-Shabaab targets anyone who is working on democracy or the development of the society. Al-Shabaab has moved hundreds of its fighters to Puntland where they cause insecurity in major cities. The fear of attacks prevents many human rights defenders from doing their work and leading normal lives. They also suffer from direct threats and harassment. Some were even killed, others were abducted or flew the country as refugees. The absence of effective investigation into violations committed by state or non-state actors against human rights defenders remains a big issue in Somalia. This results in the impunity of perpetrators and recurrent violations.
Threats and harassment
After airing an interview on corruption, justice and politics with the Puntland Minister of Information, Jama was arrested and imprisoned for 11 days in 2015. In 2016, Jama received a (death) threats and intimidations from Al-Shabaab as a result of revealing how the terrorist group exploits disadvantaged children. As a journalist who lobbies for secularism, media rights, democracy, women’s and children rights, Jama goes contrary to what they stand for.