News / Africa

UN Calls for Human Rights Probe in Somalia

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

As fighting intensifies between the fragile Somali government and Islamist rebels, civilians are increasingly being caught in the crossfire.  The United Nations is calling for Somali authorities and African Union troops to investigate human-rights violations and punish those responsible, who have acted up to now with impunity, in the Horn of African nation.

U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang is calling for the international community to combat the "culture of impunity" that has fueled more than two decades of war in Somalia.  Kang's comments followed an official two-day tour of the semi-autonomous Puntland region, in the northeast, and the self-declared state of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia.

Speaking late Wednesday in Nairobi, Kang told reporters that documenting human rights-abuses in the war-torn country would be critical to building a lasting peace.

"Even as conflict continues in some areas, we must begin the work of systematically documenting the most serious abuses throughout the years of conflict with the vision of one day holding perpetrators to account," said Kang.  "Addressing the continuing cycle of impunity and violence should be a cornerstone in the foundation of building peace in Somalia.  And it should be a deterrent  to would-be violators that they will be held to account."

The U.N.-backed Somalia government has been struggling to maintain control of parts of the capital, Mogadishu while battling Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab.  Just more than three weeks ago, the al Qaida-linked group launched an offensive to conquer more territory in the city.  The United Nations estimates more than 230 people were killed and another 23,000 were driven from their homes in the first two weeks of fighting.   

Al-Shabab forces often fire mortars at government controlled areas of the city, with government troops responding in kind.  Government forces, backed by 7,200 African Union troops, recently have been accused of indiscriminately killing civilians while firing on neighborhoods that harbor rebel forces.  

During her trip, Kang also visited refugee camps, where she said residents were suffering from neglect and mismanagement.  Kang urged the international community and the Somali authorities to "step up" their efforts.

"In my visit to the IDP camp I had a clear sense that much more needs to be done. They were not getting the sufficient levels of food assistance, health assistance, educational assistance that international norms require.  This is some of the worst situations that we find internally displaced persons in.  So, clearly, there is need for more support, more systematic support," said Kang.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was removed from power in 1991.  Government forces have been battling al-Shabab since 2007, but have lost control of much of southern Somalia, clinging to only parts of the capital.

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