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Broad concerns cloud Somalia's progress

July 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (UPI) -- The United Nations said it was concerned by Somalia legislation containing "extremely broad" measures restricting the rights to freedom of expression.

Somalia last year managed to form a formal central government for the first time since the 1990s. But the new government of the African country has so far struggled to establish a solid footing beyond Mogadishu because of threats from terrorist group al-Shabaab and separatist campaigns along the eastern coast.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said additional concerns stemmed from draft legislation on media laws in the country. He said he was concerned by legislation requiring media agencies to adhere to Islamic principles.

"We are particularly concerned that the draft legislation contains vague language and extremely broad categories that could easily be used to curtail freedom of expression," he said in a statement Friday.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis, deputy U.S. envoy to the United Nations, said members of the Security Council expressed concern Thursday over Somali national security challenges.

"We also discussed the significant progress the Somali government has made, as well as the challenges it still faces, particularly in the areas of security sector reform, management of public finances and strict compliance with sanctions measures," he said in a statement.

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