News / Africa

US Rights Group Alleges Abuses by all Parties in Somali Conflict

A new report by Human Rights Watch released Monday calls for holding those responsible for abuses accountable

Al-Shabab fighters march with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu (File)
Al-Shabab fighters march with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu (File)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Butty interview with Rona Peligal of Human Rights Watch

James Butty

A U.S.-based rights group says all parties to Somalia’s armed conflict have committed serious violations of the laws of war that contribute to the country’s humanitarian catastrophe.

In a report released Monday, Human Rights Watch calls on all sides in the Somali conflict to immediately end abuses against civilians.

Rona Peligal, deputy director for Africa at Human Rights, says the report also calls for holding those responsible for human rights abuses to account and ensuring access to aid.

“The report looks at abuses by al-Shabab, the Somali Transitional Federal Government, African Union peacekeeping forces and others.  It also looks at the current refugee crisis in Kenya of Somalis fleeing the Somali crisis,” she said.

Peligal says the 58-page report entitled, You Don’t Know Who to Blame: War Crimes in Somalia, documents numerous abuses during renewed fighting in the past year by parties to the Somali conflict.

She says the report was compiled based on interviews with recently arrived Somali refugees in Kenya, as well as from other sources.

Peligal says Human Rights Watch has evidence that all sides to the conflict have caused civilian casualties.

“There have been times where, for example, al-Shabab has fired mortars indiscriminately in densely populated areas and the TFG and AMISOM forces have responded with indiscriminate attacks. At the same time, we have found that the TFG has engaged in violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, restriction of free speech and assembly,” Peligal said.

Somali government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman says the claim that his government has failed to provide basic security for unarmed civilians is inaccurate.  He says the TFG deserves praise, not criticism, for forcing al-Shabab to withdraw from Mogadishu.

But, Peligal says it is unclear what the TFG means that al-Shabab has withdrawn from Mogadishu.

“Al-Shabab does control large swaths of territory and the TFG controls a small part of Mogadishu.  That’s part of the problem.  And, the other part of the problem has been that there has been no accountability for the abuses that have been committed,” Peligal said.

Human rights Watch urges all parties to the Somali conflict to take concrete steps to protect civilians.

The group reiterated its call for the establishment of a U.N. commission of inquiry to investigate violations of human rights and the laws of war by all sides.

“Most importantly, what we want to see now and this goes to al-Shabab is, first of all, an end to the attacks and, secondly, humanitarian access to those fleeing the conflict and, thirdly and a more longer term, our recommendation would be the creation of a U.N. commission of inquiry to look at the violation of human rights,” Peligal said.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs