Human Rights

Somalia's human rights situation is poor, and serious human rights abuses continued through 2001. Citizens' right to change their government is circumscribed by the absence of an established central authority. Many civilian citizens were killed in factional fighting, especially in Gedo, Hiran, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Middle Juba, Lower Juba regions, and in the cities of Mogadishu and Bosasso. Kidnaping remained a problem. There were some reports of the use of torture by Somaliland and Puntland administrations and militias. In Somaliland and Puntland, police used lethal force while disrupting demonstrations. The use of landmines, reportedly by the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA), resulted in several deaths. Prison conditions were harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and detention remained problems. Somaliland authorities detained a number of persons who challenged President Egal and his management of the nascent political party system. In most regions, the judicial system relied on some combination of traditional and customary justice, Shari'a (Islamic) law, and the pre-1991 Penal Code; reports of harsh physical punishments by Islamic Shari'a courts, including public whippings and stonings, were rare. Citizens' privacy rights were limited. There were restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion. There were restrictions on freedom of movement. There were several reports of attacks on NGO's during the year. Violence and discrimination against women, including the nearly universal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), continued. The abuse of children remained a problem. Abuse and discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in the various clan regions persisted. There was no effective system for the protection of workers' rights, and there were isolated areas where local gunmen forced minority group members to work for them. Child labor and trafficking remained problems.

Source: U.S. Department of State