Somali civil society launches IFISO Coalition to end impunity through vetting processBy Gasasira, Sweden
As Somalia puts in place its end-of-transition political institutions a coalition of civil society actors have united to fight impunity in the context of the nominations of candidates for Parliament and the Presidency.
IFISO, a Somali word roughly translated as ‘she who shines the light on wrongdoers’, has been chosen as the name to represent the Independent Vetting Coalition. The Coalition has been convened in order to assess candidates named to fill parliamentary positions and identify individuals associated with war crimes, crimes against humanity, or gross human rights violations.
After 21 years of civil conflict, Somalia on 25th July 2012 convened an 825-member National Constituent Assembly, the first step in a process to ratify a draft constitution, and form a New Federal Parliament and New Federal Government by the end of the Transition period 20th August 2012. Recognizing the threat of factional warlords and militias subverting the democratic process, IFISO has been created in order to scrutinize the nominations process done by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission to reject candidates with verifiable records of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or gross human rights violations.
“In order for the transition in Somalia to truly conclude with a new political era, its people must have confidence in its new institutions of governance,” said IFISO Chairperson Hassan Shire Sheikh today, “and nothing would erode that confidence faster than seeing the very people who perpetuated and profited from decades of warfare taking a part in civilian government. IFISO consists of members of Somali civil society advocating for a just, effective and democratic Federal Republic of Somalia.”
At the Consultative Meeting of the Signatories of the Process for Ending the Transition, held in Nairobi 22 June 2012, and pursuant to Presidential Decree as well as agreements adopted at Kampala, Mogadishu, Garowe, Galka’yo, and Addis Ababa, a Technical Selection Committee was established in order to guide the selection of candidates to the National Constituent Assembly and New Federal Parliament. IFISO will serve as an independent counterpart to lobby, support, and raise awareness on the mandate of the Technical Selection Committee.
“We must grasp this historic moment of creating the post-transition government institutions to sever the cycle of conflict, impunity, and corruption,” continued Chairperson Hassan Shire Sheikh. “In particular we call upon the Somali Traditional elders to propose Parliamentary candidates with clean records and a strong technical capacity.”
IFISO consists of representatives from all sectors of Somali society, and relies on voluntary contributions from national and international human rights bodies, media houses, grassroots movements, civil society, and other experts in order to parse information from existing reports, media coverage, and past human rights monitoring projects.