Human rights defender
For many years, Osman has been working on numerous human rights issues in Somalia. Osman works as the Executive Director of a human rights organisations and as Programme Coordinator of a human rights network. Osman’s human rights work involves investigating and documenting human rights violations, monitoring and reporting on special cases that are related to human rights issues, advocating for marginalized groups (such as women, disabled persons and children), facilitating human rights education and promoting democratic sustainability. Osman also works on skill-building strategies such as teamwork, communication, planning and organizing skills.
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. The fear of attacks prevents many human rights defenders from leading normal lives. Some were killed after they were attacked, 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.
Osman conducts his work under harsh circumstances. He faces threats and intimidation by unknown militia groups through the phone. Moreover, his office was attacked by a militia group and they took away some important material. Before his stay in The Netherlands, Osman had to move to a new house every two to three months to protect himself.
“Bringing some peace into my life has been priceless, and I truly appreciate this golden opportunity”.
(Experiences of a Human Rights Defenders from Somalia)