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16 March 2007

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar, issued the following statement today:

"It is with great sadness that I learn of the murder of Mr. Isse Abdi Isse, the chairperson of the KISIMA non-governmental organization, based in Kismayo, Somalia. Mr. Isse was shot at a hotel in Mogadishu where he was attending a workshop on 14 March 2007.

Mr. Isse was a friend, colleague and a committed human rights defender, who often risked his life for others. He will be warmly remembered by the human rights community and every Somali victim that he helped and supported. His death is a great loss and I wish to extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

I also wish to strongly condemn his killing and all attacks on human rights defenders in Somalia. Human rights defenders must be allowed to carry out their human rights work in safety and without fear of retaliation.

The killing of Mr. Isse starkly highlights the absence of human rights protection mechanisms for human rights defenders as well as other civilians, and the atmosphere of impunity in which Somalis live. I urge the Somali authorities to investigate this case and all cases in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.

After 16 years of conflict, Somalia is at a critical juncture. I wish to remind all that the work carried out by human rights defenders is crucial to building the foundation for security and a lasting peace."


For use of the information media; not an official record