Excerpt of Deutsche Welle interview with UN Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay

9 Sep 2014

Excerpt of Deutsche Welle interview with UN Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay

Brussels - On 9 September, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, sat down with journalist Gebeyaw Nigussie Tessema from German broadcaster DW for an interview on a number of Somali-focused political and human rights issues. Below is an excerpts of the interview:

Q: Ambassador, you said that nowadays many Somalis now understand that their fate lies now in a democratic Somalia and elections... On one hand we believe, we think, that there is goodwill of the Somalis but practically, is it so? Do you observe that?

A: I think in the last few months we have seen some important progress in the process of federating the country, creating new federal member states. In south west Somalia – just yesterday I was in the town of Baidoa discussing with the leaders of the region the formation of a three-region federal member state, and that is something certainly which is important, and is also happening in the central regions of Somalia; Galgadud and (Gal)Mudug are discussuing forming a federal member state. Last year there was an agreement in the south of the country for the (Interim) Jubba Administration to be formed. So with those three entities, a new map of Somalia is beginning to emerge.

Q: How do you reflect on the allegations by Human Rights Watch on the crimes that AMISOM soldiers have committed?

A: I have seen that the African Union have said that they do take these allegations seriously and that they will investigate them thoroughly and take any necessary action that the investigation shows to be needed, and I think that’s a very good thing.

Q: What about this trend of intolerance, for example, journalists are victims of Al Shabaab and also the government has imprisoned or attacked some journalists.

A: Media freedom and freedom of expression is extremely important and certainly we as the United Nations and other international partners as well are always concerned if there is any attempt to limit the freedom of expression and to not observe normal international human rights standards.

I think it’s true to say that in the last few weeks, there have been some cases that have given cause for concern, where the actions against radio stations, against journalists, have raised questions. What I’m pleased to see is that there is a due legal process and judicial process being undertaken now transparently by the Somali authorities, and we do hope that proper legal process will clearly establish the rights of journalists to conduct their profession without intimidation, but obviously also the necessity for journalists to always respect the laws of the land as well.