GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - A U.N. Human Rights Expert warns a host of natural and man-made disasters is impeding Somalia's efforts to stabilize the country and improve conditions for its population. The U.N. human rights council examined the expert's report this past week.
This is the independent expert's last report to the Council before his mandate expires.
Bahame Nyanduga said a number of changes have taken place in Somalia over the past six years, many for the better. He said there has been considerable progress in the security, political, socio-economic and human rights situation in the country.
Unfortunately, he said during that period, the conflict with the militant al-Shabab group has continued. He said the clampdown on freedom of expression and other rights, and the failure to hold perpetrators of crimes accountable have continued.
"Somalia has suffered grave human rights violations, in particular the endemic loss of lives due to improvised terrorist bombs by al-Shabab, inter clan violence, and the absence of the rule of law. Violations of the rights of women, through conflict related gender-based violence, and other sexual offenses such as rape…Violations of children's rights, including abduction and forced recruitment by al-Shabab," he said.
Besides the man-made disasters, Nyanduga notes Somalia has had to contend with climatic and natural disasters, which have displaced 2.6 million people. He said climate change has exacerbated the competition for pastures and water, which are critical for pastoralism in Somalia.
"Access to water is a fundamental human right. Addressing the problem of water scarcity will contribute significantly to the peace and the reconciliation among clans, because it has been identified as one of the problems creating inter clan conflicts," said Nyanduga.
Tanzanian human rights attorney, Nyanduga urges the International community to continue its assistance to Somalia. He says helping the government strengthen its institutions will boost the probability of the country one day achieving the peace, security and stability it needs and deserves.