Somali Police Brutality Percussion Storming Sparks Concerns

Somali Police’s recent actions have sparked concern regarding the repression of freedom of expression. Reports indicate that officers have raided social media users, alleging misuse of these platforms to propagate hate rhetoric against the Somali government and social tribes.

While it’s crucial to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation and incitement to violence, targeting citizens, particularly young individuals for expressing grievances against the government’s malpractices or societal issues only exacerbates tensions.

The government’s failure to address its own role in perpetuating tribal slurs while focusing solely on prosecuting civilians is deeply troubling. The excessive use of force by police not only suppresses youth voices but also emboldens regional authorities to imprison political dissidents, social critics, and human rights activists under the pretext of combating falsehoods.

Somalia, like many developing countries, struggles to balance protecting freedom of speech with preventing violence and hate speech. However, using abusive police tactics to silence social criticism is not the solution. Instead, the focus should be on fostering better police policy approaches for handling racial tensions and promoting dialogue and understanding among different ethnic youth groups.

In navigating this delicate balance, Somalia must uphold international human rights standards, which include protecting freedom of expression while also taking measures to prevent violence, discrimination, and the spread of harmful falsehoods.

Prosecutions should target only those who spread lies, incite hate crimes, or defame personal and business reputations, but always done in a manner with respect for due process, transparency, and the rule of law. Additionally, police investigations should probe into the root causes of tribal tensions and submit detailed reports to address poor racial relations among youth.

The government’s reconciliation institute must actively work to reduce racial tension and promote national unity through awareness campaigns, dialogue, education, and initiatives aimed at fostering respect among different youth ethnic groups, that can play a crucial role in building a more inclusive and peaceful society.

Ultimately, Somalia should aim for a balance that protects freedom of expression while promoting social harmony, ensuring any restrictions on speech adhere to international human rights standards.

Dr. Said Mohamud (Sacim)
Chair of the Somali People’s Democratic Party

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