‘Human rights abusers must be punished’ – Independent Online

March 11th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Nairobi – The United Nations must act to halt daily violence in lawless Somalia and ensure that those responsible for the chaos that has left thousands dead in 2007 are held accountable, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to present a report on Somalia to the Security Council later this week, while the council is set to debate the actions it should take in response to the report on March 20. (more…)

Nairobi – The United Nations must act to halt daily violence in lawless Somalia and ensure that those responsible for the chaos that has left thousands dead in 2007 are held accountable, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to present a report on Somalia to the Security Council later this week, while the council is set to debate the actions it should take in response to the report on March 20.

New York-based HRW chided the UN for not addressing the human rights abuses committed by the transitional government, insurgents and Ethiopian troops in the country backing the interim administration.

“The Security Council needs to send a clear message that crimes committed in Somalia will not go unpunished,” said Georgette Gagnon, HRW’s Africa programme director.

“Establishing an international commission of inquiry will send that signal to all the warring parties, including the Ethiopians.”

The warring parties in Somalia’s crisis have all been accused of hurting civilians in their battles, with indiscriminate shooting, bombings and grenades a mainstay of life in the capital Mogadishu.

More than 600 000 people have fled Mogadishu since violence convulsed the city in January 2007. Thousands have been killed in an Iraq-style insurgency that sparked what the UN has called Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Since the start of2008, fighting has spread to towns outside the capital, displacing scores and causing food shortages that have become “life threatening”, according to the Red Cross.

Somalia was plunged into anarchy after the 1991 toppling of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre but has seen some of the worst violence since then over 2007.

The Ethiopian-backed government ousted a popular Islamist group in late 2006, setting off the renewed violence in Mogadishu that has cleared out entire neighbourhoods.

Ban has ruled out a UN peacekeeping mission to Somalia and the idea elicits memories of a joint UN-US mission in the early 1990s that saw naked and beaten bodies of dead US soldiers dragged through the streets after their helicopter was shot down over Mogadishu.

An African Union force is currently in the capital but has struggled to keep peace in the volatile city. – Sapa-dpa

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