SOMALIA COUNTRY REPORT 2003

 

 

6.C HUMAN RIGHTS - OTHER ISSUES 

Humanitarian Issues 

6.130 As is inevitable in a country that has been embroiled in conflict for more than a decade, and continues to be subject to fierce factional fighting, the general humanitarian is reported to be extremely poor. [1a][2a][3a][5] The UN and both international and Somali NGOs are involved in reconstruction projects within Somalia.  Humanitarian workers are at great risk in Somalia, several Somali workers were kidnapped or killed during 2002. [6b] 

6.131 However, improving security conditions in many parts of the country enabled refugees and IDPs to return to their homes in 2002. [2a] However, the security situation, particularly in the south of the country and around Mogadishu and Baidoa poses serious difficulties for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. [3b] The fighting and insecurity, along with a lack of trading activities, have all contributed to an acute humanitarian situation in parts of the country.  In August 2002 UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Somalia issued a press statement expressing "deep concern" about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in many parts of Somalia including Baidoa in Bay region and the capital, Mogadishu.  The UN warned that the effect that the fighting was preventing the UN, aid agencies and civil society groups from protecting communities caught in areas of conflict.  [10z]  

6.132 UN Agencies report that the Somali people have struggled with chronic food insecurity, during 2002 this was compounded by disruption to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people already suffering from acute poverty, malnutrition and lack of access to the most basic of services. [3c][10z] Disease, drought and severely limited employment and educational opportunities are also major problems; Somalia's human development index remains one of the lowest in the world. However, two good rainy seasons in 2002 have helped alleviate the food security situation, cereal production in March 2003 was a post-war high with an average 80% increase nationwide.  Exceptions to this are the some areas of the north-west where drought conditions prevail and some southern regions where security conditions prevent farmers from harvesting their crops.  Areas in southern Somalia of continuing vulnerability include the central Mudug and Galgudud regions, Bay, and parts of Gedo, Lower Juba and Middle Juba. [3c]     

6.133 In April 2003 the authorities of both Puntland and Somaliland warned of water shortages, Somaliland also reported food shortages. Reports suggested almost all parts of Somaliland and some areas of Puntland were affected. [10ae][10af] Saanag, an area disputed by both self-proclaimed states is reported to be the worst affected; the Sool (also disputed) and Bari (Puntland) regions also continue to suffer from the effects of successive years of drought. [3c][10af] Livestock, the source of most of the populations' livelihoods, has reportedly begun to die in both Puntland and Somaliland. Both administrations have issued appeals for international aid. [10ae][10af] International aid organisation MSF said the flight ban imposed by the Kenyan authorities between 19 June 2003 and 8 July 2003 severely hampered the provision of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, most of which is transported by air from Wilson Airport in Nairobi. [10bg] 

Internally displaced persons  

6.134 In 1993 it was estimated that three-quarters of Somalia's population had been internally displaced by civil conflict. By late 1997 there were an estimated 250,000 internally displaced Somalis. [1a] An upsurge in factional conflict and the worst drought in seven years displaced an estimated 25,000 people from their homes during the 2001. In its report of 2002 (covering 2001) United States Refugee Committee (USCR) noted that the continued instability impeded hopes of widespread reintegration, an estimated 400,000 Somalis remained internally displaced at the end of 2001. At this time more than 200,000 displaced persons continued to live in some 200 Mogadishu-area camps and squatter settlements. [42] 

6.135 As of 2002 the US Department of State reported there were approximately 300,000 IDPs in the country, representing approximately 4% of the population; in June 2003 the UN Security Council report referred to there being up to 370,000 IDPs. [2a][3c] However, given that many Somalis are largely nomadic it is difficult to assess patterns of displacement. [38] The majority of IDPs in the country reportedly lived in old schools and former government buildings.  The UN Independent Expert on Human Rights visited several IDP camps in Somaliland and found them "among the worst in the world".  He reported that the camps were overcrowded, had poor sanitation, and there was little or no access to employment and education.  No local, regional, or UN authorities have taken responsibility for the camps. [2a]. 

6.136 In July 2003 fire twice broke out at the Buulo Elay IDP camp in Bossaso, Puntland.  The first fire resulted in the death of 5 people and displacement of 1,200 families; the second resulted in the displacement of over 150 families.  There was no suggestion of any suspicious circumstances surrounding either blaze.  During his visit to the camp in 2002 the UN Independent expert for human rights had described the conditions at the Buulo Elay camp as "sub-human". [10bm]   

6.137 Following his visit to Somalia in August 2003 the UN independent expert for human rights spoke of the appalling conditions in IDP camps within Somalia and asserted that these should be tackled urgently.  He referred to there being absolutely no basic facilities such as water, health facilities or schools and reported that people have to pay rent for the land where they are settled and pay for use of very basic toilet facilities.  Camps were visited in the northern regions of Somaliland and Puntland as well as Kismayo in the south; Mogadishu was not visited during the 11-day mission. [10bu]  

Returning refugees 

6.138 The relative security prevailing in the Somaliland and Puntland regions has led to the spontaneous return of hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries with no recorded back-flows into exile.  Authorities in these two regions have assumed the protection of the returnees and ensure they are integrated into society, the UNHCR recognise both regions as safe and promote voluntary returns from neighbouring countries.  Refugees have also returned to other areas of Somalia, including Mogadishu. However, these other areas continue to produce new refugees who mainly flee to Northern Kenya or Yemen; indications are some of those fleeing were former returnees. [30b] 

6.139 In late 2000 it was estimated that there were nearly half a million Somali refugees outside Somalia, nearly two thirds of whom were in Kenya and Ethiopia. [1a] Some 40,000 Somali refugees were repatriated during 2001, primarily from Ethiopia and Kenya. Of these, and estimated 25,000 were voluntarily repatriated from Ethiopia.  Although the UNHCR officially reported that nearly 55,000 refugees returned home from Ethiopia, according to the USCR the actual number of returnees was likely to be less than half that number because of massive fraud in Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia that led to inflated refugee and repatriation lists. Relatively few Somali refugees repatriated from Djibouti because of political tensions between Djibouti and Somaliland and the border's closure for part of 2001. [42] 

6.140 Most refugees repatriated during 2001 to the Somaliland cities of Hargeisa, Borama, and Burao returned in UNHCR-organised convoys. Some 14,000 Somali refugees who fled to Mandera, Kenya in March voluntarily repatriated to southern Somalia in June 2001, some 4,000 of them returned with assistance from UNHCR. Some 120 Somali refugees were repatriated from Yemen to Mogadishu on an UNHCR-chartered plane in April 2001. Many returnees on the plane claimed that they were forced to repatriate involuntarily, although UNHCR called these allegations "baseless". A further 350 refugees were repatriated from Yemen to Mogadishu during the remainder of 2001. [42]   

6.141 Most returnees during 2001 received plastic sheeting, kitchen items, blankets, and a small cash transportation allowance to reach their homes from border transit centres. They also received reintegration grants from UNHCR and a nine-month food supply or cash equivalent from the World Food Program (WFP). [42] 

6.142 During 2002 a total of 50,216 Somali refugees were returned to the country from Ethiopia under the auspices of the UNHCR.  Despite sporadic harassment, including the theft of humanitarian provisions and convoys by militiamen, repatriation generally took place without incident.  [2a] The Somaliland authorities expect infrastructural and rehabilitation assistance in return for facilitating returns. [31] In their 2002 report (covering 2001) USCR comment that the Somali refugees who have gradually repatriated to Somaliland in recent years continued to struggle to rebuild their lives amid bleak economic prospects and inadequate social services. [42] 

6.143 The UN estimate 34,000 refugees, mostly from Djibouti and Ethiopia will be repatriated, primarily to the Somaliland and Puntland regions, during 2003. [3c][30b] These form part of the 50,000 repatriations UNHCR expected to take place between January 2002 and December 2003. Of these 35,000 were expected from Ethiopia and 5,000 from each of Djibouti, Kenya and Yemen.  Most of these repatriations were expected to be UNHCR facilitated and result in returns to Somaliland or Puntland.  In their Country Operations Plan covering 2003, UNHCR indicated that during 2002 it had not been able to perform its refugee protection function in southern Somalia and did not anticipate that the situation would change during 2003.  However, improvements in delivery of the protection function in Puntland, albeit with some constraints, was reported. [30b] 

6.144 In May 2003 UNHCR commenced a programme to return 2,880 refugees originating from Puntland and located in camps in northern Kenya who had, in 2001, signed up for voluntary return to their places of origin.  Under this scheme refugees receive a nine-month food ration from the World Food Programme and support to integrate back into their communities. [10am]

Current security situation

6.145 According to the US State Department report covering events in 2002 security conditions improved in many parts of the country. [2a] However, in its review of 2002 the UN Integrated Regional Information Network reported that Somalia saw an escalation of fighting and violence. [10z] In April 2003 the UN Resident Representative and Humanitarian Co-ordinator commented in an interview that "probably much more than 50 percent of the country is actually at peace and people get on with their lives."  [10ah] 

6.146 Though there are areas of relative peace there are also many areas where violence continues to occur, particularly in the south of Somalia. [2a][3b][3c][4] It is reported that numerous civilians have been killed in factional fighting. Since the beginning of 2002 regions where fighting has occurred include Gedo, Bay, Bakool, Middle Shabelle, Middle Juba, Lower Juba, and in Mogadishu and Bossaso (Puntland); in the first 8 months of 2002 a total of 488 people were killed in factional fighting. [2a][3b][4][10z] 

6.147 During 2002 clashes were reported between the following groupings: RRA and TNG; the TNG and the militia of warlord Musa Sude in Mogadishu; warlord Hussein Aideed's militia and the TNG; Abdullahi Yusuf's forces and those of Jama Ali Jama in Puntland; and the SRRC and JVA in Kismayo. [2a][4] According to the most recent report of the UN Security Council published on 10 June 2003 inter-clan fighting has continued to break out in a number of places. [3c] This is in spite of the signing of the Eldoret declaration in October 2002 that had provided for a cessation of hostilities. [3b] By June 2003 repeated violations had reportedly occurred in Mogadishu, Baidoa and Las Anod.  Violations in Bari, Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle and Middle Juba regions were also reported. [10at] 

6.148 In February 2003 a panel of experts issued their report on arms in Somalia.  The panel had been appointed by the UN in 2002 to give force to the arms embargo that had been introduced back in 1992 but generally neglected since.  The panel found that Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen had all violated the embargo over the previous ten years and supplied arms, militia training and financial support to Somali factions.  The panel found that it was easy to obtain an assortment of military ammunition and a range of weapons within Somalia arms markets.  The panel did not find that international terrorist groups used Somalia as a haven.  The experts recommended further investigation and targeted secondary sanctions. [11h] 

Mogadishu  

6.149 During 2002 violence continued unabated.  Incidents of abductions, car-jackings, armed robberies and general banditry all reportedly increased. [10z] Reports attributed to Mogadishu residents suggest that the situation has worsened still further during the first half of 2003 with rapes, robberies and abductions all increasing, these crimes are mostly blamed upon freelance bandits.  The inability of various factions to take responsibility for what goes on in areas under their control has been publicly criticised. [10ap] 

6.150 Following a visit to assess the humanitarian and security situation in April 2003 the UN Resident Representative and Humanitarian Co-ordinator noted that the current situation in Mogadishu was problematic and severely affected the ability of the international community to do anything very meaningful.  Regarding the security situation in the city, the report stated it was "good in some areas and not so good in others." [10ah] However, the UN Security Council report published on 10 June 2003 described the situation in Mogadishu as unpredictable and dangerous with crime a very significant problem; reports of kidnappings, robberies, hijackings and other violent acts were common. [3c] In spite of the signing of the Eldoret Declaration and subsequent agreements in December 2002 the seaport and airport remain closed as of June 2003. [3b][3c][10ah] 

6.151 Clan related violence is a serious and on going problem, in February 2002 twelve people were reportedly killed and an unknown number injured during fighting in Medina district.  [3c][4][6a] This was between militias loyal to Mogadishu faction leader Musa Sude and supporters of Omar 'Finish', his former deputy.  Omar 'Finish' had joined forces with factions who had signed a peace agreement with the TNG. [4] Reportedly the worst violence occurred in May 2002, between 24 and 28 May 2002 alone more than 60 persons were killed and hundreds injured in clashes between militia loyal to Musa Sude and TNG forces. [2a][10z]Hospital sources said most of the casualties were civilian non-combatants, including women and children, injured by indiscriminate fire. [2a] Clashes between Musa Sude and Omar 'Finish' again flared up in July 2002 ahead of the peace talks in Kenya, this time 30 people were killed and 50 wounded. [3b][4] 

6.152 In December 2002 Mogadishu fighting between members of the Abgal sub-clans in the Bermuda area of South Mogadishu resulted in the death of 10 militiamen and injury to a further 20.  Fighting spread to both the K-4 area and Medina district of the city where an unspecified number of civilian casualties were reported. Although Elders were successful in establishing a temporary ceasefire more that 20 people were killed in a minibus attack on 24 December 2002. [3b]  

6.153 On 27 February 2003 a further violation of the ceasefire agreement signed in Eldoret occurred when fighting again erupted in Medina district between the rival militia of Musa Sude and Omar 'Finish'; 7 people were reported to have been killed and hundreds fled their homes. [3c][11g] There was further fighting in Medina between forces of the same two rival militias in June 2003 with at least 7 more deaths reported. [11k]  

Middle Shabelle 

6.154 The British/Danish fact finding mission report published in mid July 2002 reports that the Governor of Middle Shabelle, Mohammed Dehreh, maintains an effective monopoly on the means of violence by enforcing a strict “no guns” policy on the local population. [7] However, in May 2002 over a dozen people were reported killed in inter-clan fighting in the Middle Shabelle region of south-central Somalia, over the disputed authority of the "governor" of the region. [4] Further fighting was reported to have broken out in mid June 2002 prompting hundreds of families to flee their villages.  Both militias sustained an unconfirmed number of casualties.  The reason for fighting relates to the political animosity between Dhereh and Interior Minister Dahir Dayah. [9c] 

6.155 Further unrest in the region was reported in March and June 2003 when clashes between Dhere's militia and members of the Abgal sub-clan Muhammad Muse were reported.  The clashes in June resulted in at least 23 deaths, a high proportion of whom were civilians. Reports suggested that the fighting stemmed form an attempt by Dhere, who controls the town of Jowhar, to extend his area of influence.  There was a suggestion that violence occurred whenever Dhere returned to the region from the Nairobi peace talks. [10at]   

Kismayo and Juba Regions 

6.156 Since August 2001 when General Morgan briefly captured Kismayo the JVA have expanded its area of control significantly, and thus far successfully, to guard against any repeat of this. [7] During the second half of June 2003 reports began to emerge that forces led by General Morgan were preparing to launch an attack on Kismayo.  There were estimates that as many as 900 militia under his control had entered Somalia from Ethiopia in readiness. [48d]  

6.157 Commenting on the impending threat of an attack, JVA chairman, Col. Hiirale, confirmed JVA forces were on the highest state of alert.  According to the Mogadishu based Ayaamaha newspaper, Hiirale claimed that Ethiopia and Puntland had equipped Morgan's forces, but expressed confidence that JVA were capable of defending the region. [18e] Following Hiirale's statement, most Mogadishu faction leaders declared they would back the JVA and agreed to dispatch a convoy of vehicles carrying ammunition and guns.  According to the Somali Ruunkinet web site, the decision to participate in the impending battle was taken after it was reported that Ethiopian soldiers and forces from Puntland would join Morgan's forces. [47a] As of late August 2003 there had been no attack on Kismayo and a group of Morgan's militia with seven armed vehicles were however reported to have surrendered to JVA forces on 24 August 2003. [47b] 

6.158 In January 2003 there was fighting in Kismayo between the Marehan and Habr-Gedir clans. Casualties were reported on both sides; in addition there were reports that two civilians were killed on 21 January 2003.  Intervention by clan Elders from both sides helped stop the fighting. [3b][51] In May 2003 a dispute between Marehan and Galjeel militias resulted in the death of the driver of a car hired by UNICEF to provide two international humanitarian staff with a tour of the city.  However, in spite of this and similar incidents, the UN Security Council report that local leaders have made efforts to improve security in Kismayo.  This has prompted humanitarian NGOs to re-establish operations and compliment the long standing work of UNICEF, Muslim Aid and the Somali Red Crescent Society. [3c] 

6.159 In August 2003 the JVA launched a security operation to clear guns from the town's streets.  The intention of the exercise is to control the JVA militia and identify and arrest freelance gunmen who are reportedly a major source of insecurity in the town.  The JVA forces have reportedly been put in four camps outside of Kismayo, according to a JVA spokesman anyone carrying a gun outside these camps will be treated as a criminal.  It is reported that previous operations of this nature have been undertaken but not sustained. [10bs] The UN independent expert for human rights was able to visit the town during his visit in August 2003 and meet JVA officials, he spoke positively of the initiative. [10bu] The JVA are also reported to intend expanding its anti-crime operation to remove militia checkpoints on the road to Mogadishu. [10bs]  

6.160 In the UN Security Council report published on 10 June 2003 it was stated that fighting had subsided between the Bartire and Aulehan clans for control of the Buale district in Middle Juba; tensions however remain. [3c][51] According to the UN numerous lives were lost as a result of this conflict, but as of June 2003 peace talks supported by businessmen, clan elders and religious groups were in progress. Buale however remained off limits to UN staff due to insecurity. [3c]