Accessibility links

Breaking News

On Human Rights Day, U.N. Calls for Renewed Efforts to End Violence in Somalia


Somali man is carried away from scene of suicide bomb attack during university student graduation ceremony at a local hotel in Mogadishu, 3 Dec 2009

Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah says entire generation has never known peace

On Human Rights Day (12/10), the U.N. Special Representative for Somalia is calling for a “redoubling of efforts” to bring peace to that country.

“I’m calling on all people,” says Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, “to think of the basic principles of protecting Somalis against two decades of violence. These people are taken hostage by a small group of people determined to violate on a daily basis their basic rights, their freedom.”

A blind eye

He says Somali elites and the world have often turned a “blind eye to the horrendous plight of the Somali people.” The U.N. official says violators of human rights do so with impunity.

“Very few (organizations),” he says, “have called for impunity to be addressed. My sincere conviction is that impunity fuels violence and perpetrates conflict.”

It’s been a week (Dec 3rd) since the suicide bombing in Mogadishu killed more than 20 people. The blast killed medical students, government ministers, journalists, family members and friends.

“What happened on that day…is no more, no less than an outrageous assassination,” he says.

He says Somalis must unite to end the violence and calls on the international community, the U.N. and other agencies to help protect the Somali people.

Growing up with conflict

Ould-Abdallah says, “A whole generation is growing up having never known what it means to live in a peaceful stable environment where rights are respected.”

And, he says, it’s becoming commonplace to associate Somalia with violence.

“Even if there are two decades of violence, there is no reason to give up or to abandon Somalis to this tragic situation. It means also for a number of Somalis that impunity is a way of life. That they can kill, maim (and) assassinate and get away with it or get even a promotion,” he says.

The U.N. Special representative for Somalia also praises those who “risk their lives to protect and defend the human rights of their fellow countrymen, the elderly, women and children.”