Transnational Government Developing in Somalia
Human rights in Somalia are the subject of renewed attention
as the Somalia Peace and Reconciliation Conference was being held in
Mbagathi, Kenya. Somalia is moving towards the formation of a new and
inclusive interim government and right now strong international support
for human rights reconstruction is needed more than ever.
Within a few months, if the various Somali political-military faction
leaders are able to reach agreement, Somalia could have a viable caretaker
government with the possibility of stopping the fighting and violence.
Nineteen faction leaders and the current Transitional National Government
(TNG) signed a ceasefire declaration in October 2002. Yet there have
been many ceasefire violations and arms continue to flow to these groups
in violation of the international arms embargo. International ceasefire
monitoring is about to commence but considerable support is required
for successful ceasefire monitoring. Due to the ill-defined nature of
armed conflict in Somalia and the prevailing culture of violence among
political factions, it is important that cease-fire monitoring not be
confined to a narrow frame of inter-faction combat.
The faction fighting in Somalia results directly in extreme harm to
civilians, and indirectly affects the wider population far beyond any
actual single incident. Intimidation, repression of fundamental freedoms,
and violence by non-state actors underlie a long-term pattern of conflict
and human rights abuses. Notably rampant in several areas are kidnappings,
rape, killings, plunder and financial extortion. Women need especially
are in need of protection from gender-targeted violence, including female
genital mutilation. The minorities also continually face social exclusion,
discrimination and violence committed with impunity. There are over
one-third million internally displaced persons, mostly women and children,
facing the most extreme deprivation.
A cease-fire agreement are the formation of a new and inclusive interim
government would open the door to holding of the first multi-party elections
since the 1960s, when democracy was cut short by two decades of dictatorship.
It would also mark the end 12 years of state collapse which continues
to threaten international and regional security.
INDEX: AFR 52/003/2003 15 April 2003
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