Guleid Ahmed Jama
Lawyer & Human Rights Defender from Somaliland
Photo by: Olga Hesse
Guleid Ahmed Jama is a lawyer and founder of the Human Rights Centre that advocates for human rights in Somaliland. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law at Maastricht University. His focus is on the rights of children in Somaliland in the context of international human rights law.
As Somaliland is an unrecognized state and considered internationally as part of Somalia, the applicability of international human rights law is uncertain. There is no legal protection for attacks on freedom of expression, gender-based violence, and other forms of discrimination. To fight for greater democratic values and human rights, Guleid plans to focus on activism and academic research in the future.
“Normally, we as human rights defenders don’t like to leave where we are, we would like to continue fighting. It’s only the last resort option to try and go somewhere. And that gives us a very good time to be safe, to think and come up with better strategies.”
During his stay in Maastricht in 2015 as part of the Shelter City initiative, he followed courses at Maastricht University and engaged with the local community. With the opportunity to step away from a dangerous environment, he visited schools and institutions in the city. Since then, he has continued to put Somaliland on the map within the academic context.
Guleid is confident that creating safe spaces for human rights defenders makes an important contribution to the global system of peace. It is more than just hosting a few people because cities and people’s contributions can make a change.
Written by: Marie Theis, with the support of Guleid Ahmed Jama and Justice & Peace Netherlands