This update provides information on the protection environment in Somalia, including apparent violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law as reported during the month of April 2015 by SJHR members on the ground and through the media in Somalia.
Incidents mentioned in this report are not exhaustive. They are intended to highlight credible reports in order to inform and prompt programming and advocacy initiatives by the humanitarian community and national authorities.
This is a report on some of the issues with regard to protection and human rights in Somalia in that reporting period. It gives explanations on what has been transpiring during that reporting period. These are mainly based on our monitoring and findings and hence there are indeed other violations of human rights or abuses against civilians especially the most vulnerable people such as women, children, and the elderly people, the IDPs and the poor as well as the needy.
By using the power of the media and our journalistic and humanitarian skills, we hereby strove to capture what other organizations that work on protection and human rights might have left out.
In this reporting period, some 1000 refugees from the Yemeni war arrived in Bossaso at once. This was the highest number of the refugees from the Yemeni war to arrive in Bossaso at one go. These refugees include children. The boat in which they travelled came from Mukala town in Yemen.
Basic Social Protection Needed for Refugees from the Yemeni War
SOMALI JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (SJHR) recently took part in a brain storming meeting in Garowe Puntland Somalia with local and international organizations discussing on how best to assist the refugees from Yemeni war who are arriving in Somalia in their numbers.
These people need basic human needs such as food, shelter and clothing (basic social protection). They arrive at Bossaso and Berbera by boats. Some of them sustained gun wounds in Yemen and others are weak because of the destituteness.
There is need for humanitarian and protection organizations to work together on this as some of these refugees live at the mercy of the hand-outs from well-wisher families and businesses in Bossaso and elsewhere in Somalia.
(April 22, 2015)
The AU said they don’t have clear evidence that AMISOM soldiers raped Somali Women. The AU issued a report on investigation on the matter that it has compiled following a report by a rights organization (Human Rights Watch) that the AMISOM soldiers raped Somali women in Mogadishu after those women sought water and medicines from the AMISOM camps in Mogadishu.
The report which AU issued from its headquarters in Addis Ababa denied the rape allegation by AMISOM against women and girls below the age of 12.
Human Rights Watch posted on its website in September last year a press release which part of it read, “This 71-page report documents the sexual exploitation and abuse of Somali women and girls on two AMISOM bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, since 2013. The AU soldiers, relying on Somali intermediaries, have used a range of tactics, including humanitarian aid, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity. They have also raped or otherwise sexually assaulted women who were seeking medical assistance or water at AMISOM bases. Human Rights Watch interviewed 21 women and girls who described being raped or sexually exploited by Ugandan or Burundian military personnel serving with the AU forces”.
Elsewhere in Mogadishu, on April 21st 2015 several civilians were killed in an explosive attack and scores others were wounded at a hotel, opposite Central Hotel by the name Panooda Restaurant. The deceased and the injured persons were mostly customers who were eating in the hotel. Some of the hotel stuff included the victims of the explosion.
- The refugees from Yemen should be assisted in the best way; they should be assisted first and foremost with basic human needs such as food, water, shelter and clothes. Then, donors and well-wishers should also try to assist them with other needs such as healthcare and education;
- More awareness should be done that armed groups should not target or harm civilians;
- Civilians who were in one way or another harmed in explosives and other violent incidents who cannot afford treatment should be assisted to pay hospital bills;
- Also, more awareness should be carried out that armed groups should not fight in places populated with civilians;
- Non-profit organizations that work on protection should come up with inclusive mechanisms of utilizing reports on protection issues by collecting them, analyzing them and acting upon what should be done on the abuses; reports which are informative and useful for protection should NOT go to waste;
- Young rights and protection organizations such as SJHR should be assisted by donors and well-wishers in terms of capacity building and funding so that they can efficiently monitor, report and address abuses against civilians including vulnerable people such as IDPs, refugees, women, children, the elderly people, people who are disabled and minorities.