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or Belief and State
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Now is the Time

 

 

 

THE TANDEM PROJECT
http://www.tandemproject.com.

UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Separation of Religion or Belief and State

Universal Periodic Review reports in six languages

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/SOSession11.aspx

If reports below blue bar do not open, click to access all reports in the master link above

Universal Periodic Review - Somalia

Only contributions submitted in one of the United Nations official languages are admissible and posted on this webpage

Date of consideration: Tuesday 3 May 2011, 3:00pm - 6:00 pm

National report 1 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Compilation of UN information 2 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Summary of stakeholders' information 3 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Questions submitted in advance :
Addendum 1 :
Addendum 2 :

E only
E only
E only

Outcome of the review:

Report of the Working group :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Related webcast archives:

Flag of Somalia


Main Country Page: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SOIndex.aspx
Inter-active Dialoguehttp://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=110503


REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP – RECOMMENDATIONS
RELATING TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

There were 155 Recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council and other UN Member States. Somalia said they will be examined and provide responses in due time.  Many recommendations relate indirectly to freedom of religion or belief. They should be read with consideration for the interrelated and indivisible nature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its Conventions, Declarations and other human rights instruments. These include numerous recommendations on Rights of the Child, Freedom of  Expression, Rights of Women, etc. Recommendations that include a direct reference to religious practices include # 69, 71, 80. One recommendation that included religious leaders or mentioned religion directly #81. 

Open master link to Report of the Working Group

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/SOSession11.aspx


SEPARATION OF RELIGION OR BELIEF AND STATE

Can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam?

The question Can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? is from an article in The Economist asked of Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt: http://www.aligomaa.net/.
Shari’ah Law is a respected religious paradigm linked here to Human Rights Law, a secular paradigm on Freedom of Religion or Belief: Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

OBJECTIVE

The right of all persons to their own values, cultural identity and core principles based on religion or belief,
separate from state in tandem with human rights law on freedom of religion or belief for the common good.

ISSUE:  Everyone has a traditional or non-traditional paradigm, dogma, creed, truth claim, mythology, allegory, animism, atheism, agnosticism, paganism, spiritual or ethical core principle. Most people for one reason or another assume their core principles are morally superior to others.  Intolerance, negative stereotyping, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons is an increasing concern as this UN Human Rights Council panel discussion below on a Culture of Tolerance and Peace and draft resolution (A/HRC/18/16) illustrates, calling for open public debate of ideas, interfaith and intercultural dialogue at local, national and international levels, to strengthen democracy and combat existing misperceptions and hatreds based on religion or belief. 

Open the link to HRC Panel Discussion 14 June 2011 and read page one on the importance of (A/HRC/16/18) for human rights and freedom of religion or belief.

The Tandem Project suggests a Focus Group by Somali’s within and outside the country in the diaspora to build awareness of (A/HRC/16/18)

UN Human Rights Council Panel Discussion - Culture of Tolerance and Peace - 14 June 2011


INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

International human rights law on freedom of religion or belief protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief, - General Comment 22 on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  provides equal protection against discrimination for all members of all religions and beliefs or no belief.

http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9a30112c27d1167cc12563ed004d8f15?Opendocument

United History 1948-2010 – Freedom of Religion or Belief: http://www.tandemproject.com/program/history.htm


CONSTITUTION

DRAFT REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA

FINAL CDC 30 July ENG; FINAL ISSUES  QUESTIONS 30 JULY ENG; Final Main Consultation 30 July - ENG

Question: Is article 2 and 22 in the draft Constitution of the Republic of Somalia in compliance with international human rights law on freedom of religion or belief?


UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE TO SOMALIA

Somalia is experiencing violent terrorism and famine with a devastating impact on the country. The Somalia Universal Periodic Review is an opportunity to consider how the UN Human Rights Council encourages compliance with international human rights law on freedom of religion or belief  in the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Charter and the Somaliland and Puntland constitutions. The UN Human Rights Council held a day long dialogue on Somalia on 29 September,2010. To read a Summary of this dialogue open the link to the Main Page and click on: Summary stand-alone interactive dialogue on Somalia, 29-9-2010


LAW, EDUCATION, ANALYSIS, DEVELOPMENT

A synthesis between disciplines to activate a holistic approach to the inalienable, indivisible and interrelatedness of human rights and freedom of religion or belief.  Advocates and professionals of each discipline propose programs to contribute to a concrete foundation for human rights and freedom of religion or belief. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of each country is different depending on the constitutions, cultures and ethnicities of the country.  But the need to build a holistic core foundation for human rights and freedom of religion or belief in each country is the same. 

SOMALIA & DIASPORA – COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY  

Suggestion: multi-disciplinary program by Somalia & Diaspora
Governments, Academia, NGO’s and  Development Agencies

  • Law, Education, Analysis, Development  (LEAD), a human rights strategy to synthesize four  components of the 1986 international conference on  Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief.  

1. Law--ways in which efforts can be supported to examine international legal structures; national constitutions, national and local legislation, to make sure there is a legal framework for the Declaration in each nation-state of the U.N; 2. Education--ways in which broadly-based programs of education can be developed at all levels in schools, government, universities, voluntary organizations, and the media; 3. Analysis--ways in which special studies, research, and curricula can be developed in theological seminaries, universities, and colleges to combat and to eliminate intolerance based on religion or belief; 4. Development--ways in which organizations of diverse ideologies may be able to work together on humanitarian service projects in the "name and spirit" of tolerance, with mutual understanding and respect for each other.

http://www.tandemproject.com/tolerance.pdf

Draft plan of action for the second phase (2010-2014) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education (A/HRC/15/28): U.N. Human Rights Council

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/InternationalLaw.aspx

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/education/training/index.htm

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/social-transformations/most-programme/

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/DevelopmentIndex.aspx

Teaching and learning processes and tools

27. Introducing or improving human rights education in the higher education system requires adopting a holistic approach to teaching and learning, by integrating programme objectives and content, resources, methodologies, assessment and evaluation; by looking beyond the classroom and the higher-education institution to society; and by building partnerships between different members of the academic community and beyond.
(v) Develop multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary human rights academic programmes. 20

20 Multidisciplinary programmes would include the study, research and engagement with human rights from different disciplinary perspectives, such as philosophy, sociology, languages, international and domestic law, etc. Interdisciplinary programmes would entail the crossing of boundaries between disciplines and the pooling of approaches and methodologies to study, research and engage with human rights with a new integrated perspective.

Just a few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of political scientists who had gathered to discuss why international relations theory had never considered the role of religion in society. Given the state of the world today, this is a significant oversight. There can be no adequate understanding of the most important issues we face when disciplines are cloistered from one another and operate on their own premises. It would be far more effective to bring together people working on questions of religion, politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, literature, art, religion and philosophy to engage in comparative analysis of common problems.  – New York Times Op-Ed: April 27, 2009, Mark C. Taylor, Chairman of the Religion Department, Columbia University, New York.

Indicators to measure inclusive and genuine awareness and understanding of International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief. QUESTIONNAIRE


FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

U.S. State Department 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, Somalia

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2010/148720.htm

Excerpts

“The constitution and charters governing the various regions provided the right to study and discuss the religion of one's choice; however, proselytizing for any religion other than Islam was strictly prohibited. The TFG neither observed nor enforced constitutional provisions guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Moreover, statutes and regulations provided no effective recourse for violations of religious freedom.

Similarly, Somaliland and Puntland established Islam as the official religion in their regions. The Somaliland constitution prohibited the promotion of any religion other than Islam. The Somaliland criminal code outlined penalties for Muslims who change their religion. The constitution states that candidates for president, vice president, or the house of representatives must be Muslim and further stipulates that Islamic education is compulsory at all levels and that the promotion of Qur'anic schools is the responsibility of the state. The constitution further stated that the laws of the nation shall derive from and not contradict Islam.

The Puntland constitution provides for the freedom to worship; however, it also states that Muslims cannot renounce their religion. In May 2009 the Puntland cabinet approved a new constitution; on June 30, 2009, the Puntland parliament approved the constitution, which went into effect immediately. The new constitution prohibited propagation of any religion other than Islam. It states that non-Muslims are free to practice their religion and cannot be forced to convert; however, the same article prohibits Muslims from converting from Islam. Puntland security forces closely monitored religious activities.

In May 2009 the TFG ratified legislation to implement Shari'a (Islamic law) nationwide. In practice the TFG does not have the capacity or mechanisms to implement the legislation uniformly. Since the TFG's ratification of the legislation, there have been no reports of the implementation.

The judiciary in most regions relied on some combination of Shari'a, traditional law and Xeer (customary law), and the penal code of the pre-1991 Siad Barre government. Legal frameworks varied considerably as each community individually regulated and enforced religious expression, often on an inconsistent basis.”


Complete 2010 Religious Freedom Report, Somalia

November 17, 2010

Although the Transitional Federal Charter (charter) provides for freedom of religion, there were limits on the extent to which this right was respected in practice.

Active violent conflict among militia groups and the TFG continued during the reporting period. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) generally did not enforce legal protections of religious freedom in practice. There was a decline in the status of respect for religious freedom during the reporting period primarily as a result of extremist militias taking control over significant territory in the country although some territory has been transferred back to the TFG.

There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, and practice. Militia groups, particularly those associated with the U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) al-Shabaab harassed persons suspected of conversion from Islam, killed Sufi clerics, and destroyed Sufi graves and mosques There were also reports that non-Muslims experienced discrimination, violence, and detention because of their religious beliefs.

The U.S. government does not maintain a diplomatic presence, and travel to the country by U.S. government officials is restricted; however, the U.S. government discussed religious freedom with its contacts in the country and with regional authorities as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 246,200 square miles and a population of seven million; however, population figures are difficult to estimate since the last census dates from 1975, and the instability of the country makes precise data collection impossible. A large majority of citizens are Sunni Muslims of a Sufi tradition. There is a small, low-profile Christian community and small numbers of followers of other religions. The number of adherents of strains of conservative Islam and the number of Islamic schools supported by religiously conservative sources continued to grow.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The charter establishes the norms for protecting religious freedom. The charter states: "All citizens of the Somali Republic…have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without distinction of race, birth, language, religion, sex, or political affiliation."

Although the charter does not have a section that limits or protects religious practice, article 71 decrees that the 1960 constitution and other national laws shall apply "in respect of all matters not covered and not inconsistent with this charter." Article 29 of the constitution states: "Every person has the right to freedom of conscience and to profess freely his own religion and to worship it subject to any limitations which may be prescribed by law for the purpose of safeguarding morals, public health, [and] order."

The TFG exercises limited control over most of the country, with the exception of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest, which has its own constitution and legal and policy framework. Somaliland does not recognize the charter or the transitional process and is seeking recognition as an independent country. The semiautonomous region of Puntland, which does not seek independence, also has its own charter and legal framework.

A political process to establish peace and stability in the country continued as the TFG and the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) signed the Djibouti Agreement in 2008. In January 2009 the TFG and ARS formed a unity government, extended the transitional period by two years, and elected Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as the new TFG president. On March 15, 2010, as part of the implementation of the Djibouti peace process, members of a Sufi affiliation, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a (ASWJ), signed an agreement to join and support the TFG against armed terrorist and extremist groups opposed to peace and stability. The charter established Islam as the national religion.

The constitution and charters governing the various regions provided the right to study and discuss the religion of one's choice; however, proselytizing for any religion other than Islam was strictly prohibited. The TFG neither observed nor enforced constitutional provisions guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Moreover, statutes and regulations provided no effective recourse for violations of religious freedom.

Similarly, Somaliland and Puntland established Islam as the official religion in their regions. The Somaliland constitution prohibited the promotion of any religion other than Islam. The Somaliland criminal code outlined penalties for Muslims who change their religion. The constitution states that candidates for president, vice president, or the house of representatives must be Muslim and further stipulates that Islamic education is compulsory at all levels and that the promotion of Qur'anic schools is the responsibility of the state. The constitution further stated that the laws of the nation shall derive from and not contradict Islam.

The Puntland constitution provides for the freedom to worship; however, it also states that Muslims cannot renounce their religion. In May 2009 the Puntland cabinet approved a new constitution; on June 30, 2009, the Puntland parliament approved the constitution, which went into effect immediately. The new constitution prohibited propagation of any religion other than Islam. It states that non-Muslims are free to practice their religion and cannot be forced to convert; however, the same article prohibits Muslims from converting from Islam. Puntland security forces closely monitored religious activities.

In May 2009 the TFG ratified legislation to implement Shari'a (Islamic law) nationwide. In practice the TFG does not have the capacity or mechanisms to implement the legislation uniformly. Since the TFG's ratification of the legislation, there have been no reports of the implementation.

The judiciary in most regions relied on some combination of Shari'a, traditional law and Xeer (customary law), and the penal code of the pre-1991 Siad Barre government. Legal frameworks varied considerably as each community individually regulated and enforced religious expression, often on an inconsistent basis.

The TFG and regional administrations in Puntland and Somaliland observe the following religious holidays as national holidays: Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Muharam (Islamic New Year), and Mi'raaj; in addition, Friday is designated a weekly day of prayer.

The Somaliland constitution restricted the formation of political parties based on a particular religious group, religious beliefs, or interpretations of religious doctrine; however, the new Puntland constitution had no such restriction on the formation of political parties based on religious orientation.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs was authorized to register religious organizations; however, the ministry has no capacity to conduct registrations.

In Somaliland the government required religious schools and places of worship to obtain the Ministry of Religion's permission to operate. In Puntland religious schools and places of worship must receive permission to operate from Punt land’s Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs.

The TFG and the Somaliland and Puntland administrations permitted religious instruction in public schools. Private schools provided the primary source of education in all regions, with the majority offering religious instruction. A significant number of externally funded madrassahs existed throughout the country, providing inexpensive basic education and adherence to conservative Islamic practices. Mogadishu University; the University of East Africa in Bosasso, Puntland; and many secondary schools in Mogadishu were externally funded and administered through organizations affiliated with Al-Islah, an Islamic organization.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the TFG during the reporting period. The TFG generally did not enforce legal restrictions or protections concerning religious freedom.

There were no public places of worship for non-Muslims. Although it was illegal to convert from Islam in Somaliland and Puntland, there were no reported cases of persons punished for doing so. Proselytizing for any religion except Islam was prohibited in Puntland and Somaliland and was effectively blocked by informal societal consensus elsewhere in the country.

Abuses of Religious Freedom

The TGF engaged in armed conflict with various groups, some of which professed conservative Islamic beliefs, including al-Shabaab and Hisbul Islam. There also were intermittent clashes between al-Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ) militia in Galgaduud and Banadir Regions.

There were no developments reported in the case of Abdi Welli Ahmed, a Kenyan citizen and Christian convert from Islam, whom Somaliland border officials in Wajaale reportedly detained and assaulted in February 2009 as he tried to cross the border from Ethiopia.

There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees in the country

Forced Religious Conversion


There were no reports of forced religious conversion.

Abuses by Rebel or Foreign Forces or Terrorist Organizations

Active violent conflict among militia groups and the TFG continued during the reporting period. Some of the militia groups were aligned with al-Shabaab, which the U.S. secretary of state designated an FTO in 2008.

During the reporting period, al-Shabaab militia expanded areas under its control in Galgaduud Region. In the areas they controlled, al-Shabaab systematically closed cinemas, burned kiosks selling the narcotic khat, shaved the hair of persons with Western haircuts, ordered women to be fully veiled, instituted total bans on smoking and music, and strictly prohibited behavior they deemed un-Islamic.

Throughout the reporting period, al-Shabaab destroyed graves of Sufi saints, prominent clerics, and members of other religious groups in areas under its control, igniting conflict with ASWJ. Al-Shabaab militias killed many prominent leaders from ASWJ in the Galgaduud Region.

On May 4, 2010, al-Shabaab militia fatally shot an underground church leader in Nur who had been on a list of persons they had suspected of being Christians.

On January 17, 2010, an al-Shabaab administration in Lower Shabelle stoned and killed Hussein Ibrahim Mohamed for sexually abusing a young girl under his care.

On November 17, 2009, al-Shabaab followers stoned a woman to death for alleged adultery in Wajid District, Bakol Region.

On November 6, 2009, al-Shabaab members stoned and killed Abdirahman Hussein, in Lower Shabelle Region, for raping a woman.

\ At different times in March 2010, al-Shabaab destroyed graves of Somali clerics, reportedly exhuming the clerics' remains. Destruction of graves and mosques in Mogadishu caused ASWJ and other local militia groups to arm themselves and wage war against al-Shabaab in parts of Mogadishu and other regions of the country.

As part of its efforts to have exclusive control in areas under its control , al-Shabaab confiscated the keys of four mosques in the Bakara market area. On May 9, 2010, al-Shabaab arrested a prominent Kismayu cleric and several of his students. Al-Shabaab earlier warned the sheikh not to conduct Islamic classes in the mosque because they disagreed with his "questionable views."

On May 4, 2010, ASWJ militia conducted an operation to confiscate face veils from women at Dabka junction in Mogadishu. The militia stopped public passenger vehicles at Dabka intersection and ordered women to remove their face veils. The militia forcefully removed the veils from women who refused to comply with their order and burned the veils.

In early February 2010 al-Shabaab started a campaign to shave forcefully young men and teenagers who they believed to have inappropriate hairstyles.

In October 2009 al-Shabaab militia banned women from wearing brassieres. The militias patrolled Mogadishu streets inspecting women suspected of contravening the ban. The media reported that some women were forced to remove their brassieres. Al-Shabaab claimed wearing brassieres constituted "deception."

On May 14, 2010, al-Shabaab released Abdullahi Siyad Kanyare after 75 days of captivity in Middle Shabelle. Speaking to the media after his release, Siyad said al-Shabaab arrested him on suspicion that he converted to Christianity after they found a copy of the Bible in his house. He said a group of foreigners with whom he worked with in 1993 had given him the Bible. Al-Shabaab claimed its courts found Siyad not guilty of converting to Christianity.

Section III. Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom

There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, and practice. There was strong societal pressure to respect traditions that reflected the traditional interpretation of Sunni Islam.

Non-Muslims who practiced their religion openly faced occasional societal harassment. Conversion from Islam to another religion was considered socially unacceptable. Those suspected of conversion faced harassment or even death from members of their community.

On June 15, 2010, Muslim parents of a Somali teenage girl beat her severely for converting to Christianity from Islam. Reports indicated that she had been tied to a tree on a regular basis from May 10 when her family became aware of her conversion, and she had also been badly beaten when she refused to recant her Christian faith.

Al-Shabaab and affiliated organizations imposed their own interpretation of Islamic laws and practices on other Muslims. Al-Shabaab destroyed the tombs of Sufi clerics and killed clerics, civilians, and government officials of Sufi orientation. In targeted assassinations members of these extremist groups killed TFG officials and allies and denounced them as non-Muslims or apostates.

Al-Shabaab killed and wounded hundreds of civilians in several separate suicide car bomb attacks against TFG and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) targets during the year.

On September 17, 2009, al-Shabaab suicide bombers killed 21 persons, including a dozen AMISOM peacekeepers, and wounded several others. Five suicide bombers in two cars laden with explosives drove past security guards at AMISOM headquarters and detonated the explosives inside the compound.

On December 3, 2009, al-Shabaab killed an estimated 30 persons, including three government ministers, and wounded more than 60 when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a university graduation ceremony in Mogadishu.
On May 1, 2010, a twin explosion at a mosque in Bakara market, Mogadishu, killed an estimated 30 persons and wounded up to 70 others, including a senior al-Shabaab leader.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. government does not maintain a diplomatic presence, and travel to the country by U.S. government officials is restricted; however, the U.S. government discussed religious freedom with its contacts in the country and with regional authorities as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.


The Tandem Project a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance, and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference material and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights- Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion – and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

In 1968 the United Nations deferred work on a legally-binding treaty on religious intolerance as too complex and sensitive and passed a non-binding declaration in its place. The Tandem Project believes until a core legally-binding human rights Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief  is adopted international human rights law will be incomplete. It may be time to begin to consider reinstating the 1968 Working Group to better organize and bring all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief under one banner, a core international human rights legally-binding treaty.