Demand Dignity Program Description

Across the country, thousands of vulnerable people including IDPs, women, children, elderly people and disabled people are undernourished. Somalia ranks high the countries in the world where women die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Many people in Somalia live in informal settlements such as IDP camps.

Everyone everywhere has the right to live with dignity. No one should be denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, and to education and health care.

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says (Article 22): “Everyone … is entitled to realization … of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his [or her] dignity.”

Gross economic and social inequality is an enduring reality in Somalia. Most of our people are unable to access even minimum levels of food, water, education, health care and housing. This is not only the result of a lack of resources, but also unwillingness, negligence and discrimination by some stakeholders and other actors. Many groups are specifically targeted because of who they are; those on the margins of society are often overlooked altogether.

Recently, Somali Journalists for Human Rights (SJHR) which is a dedicated Somali rights organization that is working relentlessly for the protection of the vulnerable people of Somalia has broadened its mission in recognition that there are many more prisoners of poverty than prisoners of conscience, and that millions of Somalis endure the torture of hunger and slow death from preventable disease.

Given the interconnected nature of all human rights violations, engaging with economic, social and cultural rights will enable SJHR to address complex human rights problems in a more holistic and comprehensive manner.

SJHR realizes how human rights violations drive and deepen poverty. SJHR also recognizes that people living in poverty have the least access to power to shape the policies of poverty and are frequently denied effective remedies for violations of their rights. We shall teach the people of Somalia their rights and we shall encourage them to demand dignity through the redemption of their human rights.

This is a program initiated by Amnesty International (AI). It is a program running globally. In particular, the program is being implemented in several other African countries. SJHR would like to adopt this priceless program and take it to Somalia for the benefit of our people.

University of Nairobi