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But, Peligal says it is unclear what the TFG means that al-Shabab has withdrawn from Mogadishu.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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid