.....(Hal-ku-dhigyo Dhaxal-gal Noqday) = ..... President, C/raxmaan A. Cali: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland dib ayay ula soo Noqotay Qaran-nimadeedii sidaa awgeed, waa dal xor ah oo gooni u taagan maanta (18/05/1991) laga bilaabo''...>>>>> President, Maxamad I.Cigaal:''Jiritaanka Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland'' Waa mid waafaqsan xeerasha u-degsan Caalamka! Sidaa darteed, waa Qaran xaq u leh in Aduunku aqoonsado''...>>>>> President, Daahir R. Kaahin: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa dal diimuqraadi ah oo caalamka ka sugaya Ictiraafkiisa''...>>>>> President, Axmed M. Siilaanyo: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Boqol sano haday ku qaadanayso helista Ictiraafkeedu way Sugaysaa! Mar dambena la midoobi mayso Somalia-Italia''.....[***** Ha Jirto J.Somaliland Oo Ha Joogto Waligeed *****].....

Monday, June 20, 2011

UNHCR trains Somaliland journalists on refugee protection to counter xenophobia in the media

Over 30 Hargeisa-based journalists received training on international law to tackle negative articles about refugees

HARGEISA, Somaliland, 20 June (UNHCR) – On a recent visit to Hargeisa, refugees showed the UNHCR Somalia Representative a number of articles in local publications that portrayed them in a negative light, often with incorrect information and a lack of understanding of their plight. UNHCR offered to organise a workshop for local media where the work of UNHCR and basic principles of international law could be explained to journalists to foster a greater understanding of the realities of the daily lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the region.

Over 30 journalists from public and private TV, radio, print and internet media houses attended the workshop in Hargeisa, which was organised in conjunction with the Ministries of Information and Interior. Given the instrumental role of the media in shaping public opinion and the perception of the displaced in Somaliland, the workshop underlined the media’s responsibility to ensure that the information it provides to the public is accurate, based on verified facts and impartial.

The workshop delivered information on international protection as well as answering key questions including: who is a refugee, who is an asylum seeker, and what constitutes a displaced person, as well as outlining the national legal framework on refugees and asylum seekers in Somaliland.

Some participants were surprised to learn the actual number of refugees living in Somaliland. A straw poll at the workshop showed that many believed Somaliland was hosting up to 30,000 refugees. UNHCR told the journalists that approximately 1,750 refugees reside in Somaliland, the vast majority being Ethiopian nationals. Additionally, there are approximately 1,850 asylum seekers in Somaliland – people who have fled other countries and are seeking refugee status. UNHCR stressed the importance of the media conveying the correct figures to the public to avoid inflaming opinion against this vulnerable group of people.

The Director General of the Ministry of Information of Somaliland, Faysal Ali Sheik. stressed that “the role of the media is very important for presenting to the Somaliland community the actual situation regarding refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people (IDPs) as well as the overall responsibility of the government and the international community".

UNHCR Somalia Representative Bruno Geddo said that the workshop was a crucial first step in sensitizing both media and public about the realities of life for persons of concern to UNHCR. “Ignorance breeds hostility, but understanding fosters acceptance,” Geddo said.

The refugees who participated – including those drawn from the recently-formed Refugee Affairs Committee – said they were impressed by the workshop and its role as a “very good forum to sensitize the host communities on their rights” and that it gave them hope that understanding of their situation would improve as a result. On World Refugee Day, when UNHCR’s 1 campaign is highlighting the fact that one refugee without hope is too many, the workshop has brought greater understanding of the plight of refugees in Somaliland, a situation replicated all around the world.

Stability in Somaliland remains a pull factor for many people fleeing insecurity and lack of livelihood from Ethiopia and South-Central Somalia. In addition to 3,600 refugees and asylum seekers, Somaliland hosts 67,000 internally displaced people. Somalia remains the country generating the highest number of refugees in the world after Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, more than 700,000 Somali refugees live in other countries in the region including Yemen, Ethiopia and Kenya.

by Rose de Jong

Source: Reliefweb

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