Puntland Human Rights Defenders is an autonomous Human rights institution established under Article 117 of Puntland Constitution. The Office for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (OHRD) consists of the Human Rights Defender, the regional representatives of the Human Rights Defender, and the personnel assigned to the Office. The seat of the Human Rights Defender is the capital of Puntland State, with jurisdiction over the whole of the territory of Puntland State.
The operations of the Office are guided by the United Nations-approved Paris Principles on the establishment and functioning of independent national human rights institutions and also Cairo Declaration. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are key institutions in the protection and promotion of human rights in every state, given the fact that they contribute to addressing critical human rights gaps and promoting the rule of law. NHRIs are increasingly recognized nationally and internationally as essential mechanisms to promote respect for the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level. The “Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights” of 1993 (herein after “the Paris Principles”) are the main normative source for these bodies. The Paris Principles set the minimum standards that such mechanisms/ structures should comply with in order to function effectively; including independence, pluralism, a broad mandate to protect and promote human rights, accessibility, functional and structural autonomy, interaction with civil society, and ideally, powers to handle cases of human rights violations.
Human Rights Defender
On 27 November, Mr Mohamed Yusuf Ali was appointed the Puntland Human Rights Defender, after he secured the majority of the Parliamentary votes. Mr Mohamed brings along a wealth of experience and will provide strategic leadership for the implementation of the mandate of the office. He holds a Masters of Law Degree in International law. He worked for various offices and institutions in Puntland.
Our work (Mandate)
In accordance with Article 118 of the Constitution of Puntland State of Somalia and Article 12 of the Human Rights Defender Act of 2011, The Human Right Defender plays key broad mandates including the following:
The Human Rights Defender shall have the following responsibilities and powers:
- To prevent violations of human rights by providing advice to the relevant authorities.
- To promote awareness and respect, among the public and public officials, of the importance of protecting human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of Puntland, as well as in international protocols and human rights conventions.
- To protect and promote human rights that are enshrined in this Constitution and other related laws.
- To investigate any allegations reported by citizens or social organizations regarding violations of human rights and to present the results of those investigations to the relevant authorities, the public and to make recommendations to protect human rights in Puntland State.
- To support victims violated their human rights, and defend these victims in the court or in public.
- To appoint special committees that helps the defender to fulfill his/her duties.
- To monitor places where he/she suspects human rights violations have been or are taking place.
- To advocate the reform of laws or administrative procedures in order to increase the protection and respect of human rights.
- To issue an annual report on the condition of human rights in Puntland State.
- To submit a proposed legislation to the Council of Ministers related to human rights.
- To interrogate any person who has link/interfere with any ongoing investigation issue that the office is dealing with.
- The defender has the power of investigator and fact finding when discharging his/her duties.
- To investigate any allegations that arises on violations or abuses of the citizens’ human rights.
The Puntland Office of Human Rights Defender is headed by a Defender elected by the Parliament for a term of 5 years and can be re-elected to additional terms. The main office is located in Garowe and has administrative and technical staff under the leadership of the Defender.
Department of Legal Affairs, Investigation, Complaints and Redress: This department receives complaints of alleged violations of human rights, investigates them and advises the office on possible options for redress. The department investigates human rights violations.
Department of Human Rights and Public Relation: The Department conducts research/Assessment on various human rights issues with the objective of informing the developing human rights strategy and informing the public legal rights available to them. In collaboration with stakeholders, the Public Education and Training department educates and sensitizes the public, state and non-state actors on human rights for the purposes of enhancing respect of such rights.
Department of Public Relations: The department plans, develops and implements the Office’s internal and external communications strategy in order to support and promote the work of the Defender using appropriate communications channels and tools. The programme designs appropriate communication and media strategies to facilitate responsive communication with and between relevant internal and external publics with a view to create consistency between the Office’s goals, objectives, and societal expectations.
The Regional Offices will be set up offices in all nine regions of Puntland headed by Regional Representatives to ensure that its services are widely accessible to all the people in Puntland and enhance enhance / expand People’s access to the services of the Office. The office also has regional representatives in all 9 regions of Puntland as part of outreach.
State of Human Rights
Head Office, Garowe
Mohamed Yusuf Ali,