A new report criticizes
the Somali Transitional Federal Government, its Ethiopian allies and insurgents
for failing to protect human rights workers.
The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights
Defenders Project issued a new report Tuesday, saying there's been a
significant deterioration in conditions in Somalia. It reports the situation is
particularly bad for journalists, nine of whom were killed in the past year.
Hassan Shire Sheikh is the chairperson of the group. From
the Ugandan capital, Kampala, he told VOA English to Africa Service reporter
Joe De Capua that the situation in Somalia "can best be described as a
persistent pattern of human rights violations, including…disappearance, unlawful
killings and widespread and targeted rape…. And every day we see a number of
people being uprooted and abandoned and scattered in IDP (internally displaced
persons) camps, which themselves are not secure and cannot access basic
humanitarian assistance from outside the country."
he blames the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), their Ethiopian
allies and the insurgents for the deteriorating conditions, he places most of
the responsibility on the TFG. In a statement released earlier, he says, "The
TFG has largely failed to create the enabling environment necessary for human
rights defenders to carry out their legitimate work. The TFG and their
Ethiopian allies have often been the first to undermine those seeking to shed
light on the continued human rights violations being committed against Somali
tells VOA, "The transitional federal authorities have a
constitutional…responsibility to give protection to the Somali population and
also to create (an) atmosphere conducive for peace and tranquility in the
country. (The) TFG and the Ethiopian allies have failed completely to provide
that vital provision for the past four years."
it supported the TFG, Ethiopia did not actually send troops into Somalia until
says that Somalis had managed to build "vibrant "media outlets even though the
country had been without a formal government for many years and that those
media reported regularly on human rights violations. However, he says, "That
has been shattered by the TFG, Ethiopian troops and the Islamic Courts Union."
The East and Horn of Africa Human
Rights Defenders Project makes a number of recommendations. They include ending
the "culture of impunity" in Somalia and the creation of "impartial
internationally supervised justice mechanisms;" the presence of peacekeeping
troops throughout south-central Somalia; a greater UN human rights office
presence; and a call for the TFG to do more to seek reconciliation with