News / Africa

    Report Finds Widespread Abuse of Minorities in Somalia

    Women and children fleeing the war in Somalia queue to register at Dadaab, the refugee camp in northern Kenya, 09 Sep 2010
    Women and children fleeing the war in Somalia queue to register at Dadaab, the refugee camp in northern Kenya, 09 Sep 2010
    Michael Onyiego

    Minorities in conflict-ridden Somalia are suffering rape, summary executions and other human rights violations, a report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) said Wednesday.

    Over the past twenty years, near-constant violence from civil war and recent Islamist insurgencies has forced hundreds of thousands of Somalis to flee their homes. Crossing the border to neighboring Kenya or the autonomous regions in the north, many refugees seeking reprieve are often met by corrupt police, inadequate shelter and miserable conditions in the camps they hope to call home.

    But according to a report by United Kingdom-based Minority Rights Group, Somalia's minority communities are met with even more desperate circumstances.

    The report, entitled No Redress: Somalia's Forgotten Minorities, found that members of Somali's minority clans face neglect and further marginalization upon arrival to supposedly safer areas. Report Author Martin Hill told VOA that many also face physical violence.

    "In Puntland the main problem is in the displaced camps which are very large and containing quite a high percentage of minorities," he said. "There it is a situation of gender based violence against women and girls by majority men from Puntland clans and security forces."

    Social, economic and political life in Somalia is dominated by the country's major ethnic groups, the Darod, Dir, Rahanweyn and Hawiye clans. While minority groups make up - by some estimates - as much as one third of the country's population, MRG says they have been largely excluded from mainstream life.

    This system of exclusion has been further entrenched by the "4.5 system" which guides the make-up of the Somali government. The system was introduced to ensure that power was shared among the four major clans, with consideration given to the so-called "fifth clan" of minorities, but in practice government positions have been dominated by politicians from the major groups.

    Hill explained that many of Somalia's minority groups, such as the Bantu, Benadiri and Gaboye are descendants of indigenous farmers taken over by invading pastoralists or slaves brought in from east and southern Africa. Therefore many of these groups have traditionally been viewed as lesser members of Somalia.

    The report also found that these minorities, as well as small numbers of Christians in the region, have been targeted by al Qaida-linked insurgent group al Shabab. According to the report, Shabab has carried out executions by shooting and beheading and imposed severe restrictions on religious freedom.

    Evidence of minority repression among Somali refugees has been briefly documented by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. In an earlier report, Human Rights Watch found that minority grievances were being suppressed by majority clans communicating to officials in the Dadaab refugee camps of Northeastern Kenya.

    But Martin Hill says such observations lack sufficient focus on minority rights. The author called on human rights groups as well as the United Nations to develop serious plans to prevent minority repression both in Somalia and among refugee populations worldwide.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.