|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives | Search|
Somaliland: UNHRC Praises Continued Progress
New York, March 26, 2008 – The UN Human Rights Council has praised Somaliland's democracy spread ahead of elections in August 2008 - in stark contrast to its neighbors.
Below is an excerpt and full summary from a report published by the United Nations Human Rights Council:
The situation in “Somaliland” was comparatively peaceful in contrast to south and central Somalia. Following the first-ever parliamentary elections in 2005, “ Somaliland” continued to make incremental progress on public administration and governance. Authorities continued to undertake modest infrastructure projects and NGOs carried on with their local human rights work, albeit with little or no resources…During past missions to “Somaliland”, the independent expert has been impressed with the activities of the Rule of Law and Security Programme of UNDP and further to his briefing while in Nairobi on this mission, it is his understanding that UNDP will expand further these activities to other parts of Somalia.
Full Summary of the report
Somalia in 2007 witnessed intense and repeated rounds of fighting between Ethiopia military/Somali forces and insurgent groups, particularly in the capital city of Mogadishu. It was also a year of political deadlocks and fragmentation for the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI), some of which were finally based in Mogadishu. These military and political conflicts further weakened the fledgling TFIs and fostered an environment of impunity resulting in a marked deterioration in the already dire human rights situation in Somalia.
It must be noted that human rights in Somalia have for almost two decades been marked by widespread insecurity, extrajudicial killings and disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, threats to freedom of opinion and expression, violations of the human rights of women, children and minorities, and infringements on economic, social and cultural rights. To a large extent, the present report focuses on how the conflicts of the past year have in a great many cases made the human rights situation in Somalia worse.
In the several fierce battles which took place in Mogadishu commencing in December 2006 and continuing throughout most of 2007, there were widespread reports of indiscriminate artillery fire, shelling and car bombs in civilian areas and that non-military targets, such as hospitals and schools were bombed in the fighting. It was also reported that the wounded were prevented from fleeing or from receiving humanitarian assistance and protection and that urgent deliveries of food aid and other humanitarian assistance were hampered or blocked. Cycles of massive internal displacement took place. Many of the reports suggest violations in contravention of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
However, independent and corroborated information about the battles continues to be difficult to obtain in south and central Somalia due to the security situation and the relative weaknesses in reporting on human rights issues. What can be identified is that virtually all parties to the conflict violated human rights, that the general human rights situation has further seriously deteriorated and that civilians have overwhelmingly paid the price. The independent expert supports a thorough human rights investigation of the events of last year as well as other serious violations of Somalia’s past.
The independent expert, Ghanim Alnajjar, undertook his annual mission to Kenya and Somalia from 17 to 21 September 2007. During this mission, he visited Mogadishu and Nairobi. Due to time constraints he was unable to undertake visits to “ Somaliland” and “Puntland”. A planned and authorized visit to Baidoa was prematurely cancelled when he was prevented by authorities from disembarking from the plane at the airport.
The expert met with various staff of the United Nations, representatives of the international community, Somali civil society, clan and tribal leaders, as well as senior officials of the TFIs, including President Abdullahi Yusuf and (then) Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. He was also able to hold productive meetings with the newly-appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould Abdallah. Despite the deterioration in Somalia in the past year, the independent expert noted optimism surrounding the appointment of the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the continued commitment among
the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Eric Laroche, and United Nations Country Team to continue working together on the difficult issues of Somalia.
The independent expert also noted that despite the overall worsened situation, very small, yet incremental changes in terms of human rights awareness and knowledge, if not human rights compliance, were taking place in pockets around Somalia.
He encourages the international community to continue to support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Somali civil society in the critical human rights work that must occur if peace and security are to prevail in Somalia. He especially underlines technical and financial support in order to establish independent national institutions, protect internally displaced persons, establish and uphold the rule of law and protect economic, social and cultural rights. The expert also underscores the need for continuing dialogue and engagement between the TFG’s and the international community on human rights and humanitarian issues and urges that a standing dialogue mechanism be established in this regard.
Finally, the independent expert continues to urge the TFG and TFIs to make decisions and take actions, with the meaningful inclusion of women, minorities and civil society that promote and protect human rights in Somalia. He underlines that it is the ultimate responsibility of the Somali authorities to provide protection for the Somali people and to effectively govern the country based on the rule of law and international human rights standards.
To access the full UN Human Rights Council Report on Somaliland (A/HRC/7/26), please click here, select 'Documentation for the 7th session of the Human Rights Council' and click on the link adjacent to A/HRC/7/26.