A U.N. Special Investigator says he believes Somalis are ready to make
peace and the international community should seize the opportunity to
push this process along. The expert has presented a grim view of the
current situation in Somalia to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, independent expert Shamsul
Bari described the multiple horrors experienced by the Somali people
during nearly two decades of conflict. He notes more than one million
people have been displaced, hundreds of thousands have been killed and
many more maimed or wounded.
Bari says people who cannot afford
to leave, suffer a precarious existence. He says there are few work or
educational opportunities. He says war and drought have affected the
food supply and hospitals are devoid of even basic facilities.
top of this, there are unscrupulous traders who exploit the plight of
the people for personal gain," said Bari. "There can hardly be a worse
example in the world where ordinary people are faced with such a
hopeless situation. Added to this, of course, is the fact that the
people of Somalia have to live in constant fear for their lives because
of the war that rages around them almost all the time."
U.N. investigator says he was unable to visit Somalia because of the
security risks. And, so, he says he gathered the information for his
report from Somali refugees in neighboring Kenya and Yemen.
Shamsul Bari says he is convinced that after years of unending war, the
people of Somalia are more ready now than ever to give peace a chance.
says the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General
for Somalia Ahmedou ould Abdullah are yielding tangible results.
Djibouti Peace Agreement, which he has so painstakingly worked out in
the last one year, has already led to the complete withdrawal of the
Ethiopian troops from Somalia, the enlargement of the Transitional
Federal Government, the election of a new president and the formation
of a government of national unity under a new prime minister," said
"This has created a new momentum and a window of opportunity for
lasting peace and security in Somalia which must not be lost," he added.
urges the international community to support the new government to
ensure its success. He says the United Nations has a key role to play
in bringing peace to Somalia.
He says the protection and
promotion of human rights and humanitarian law in Somalia must be
inextricably linked to the political process. He says it is of utmost
importance that peacekeeping/stabilization forces be deployed in
Somalia, as foreseen in the Djibouti Peace Agreement.