Forced evictions in Somalia lead to human rights abuses: AI

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday warned [press release] that the forced evictions of people from makeshift camps in Mogadishu has led to human rights abuses. For the past two years, Mogadishu has been undergoing reconstruction, while tented camps continue being cleared for development. Some residents have been forced to move to the outskirts of the city, where security forces are unable to have effective control. Currently, more than 300,000 people are living in the nation's capital in basic camps. Urging the government to protect this vulnerable population, AI's Somalia researcher Gemma Davies stated that "[i]t is completely unacceptable for people who have fled to the capital for protection to be forcibly evicted. It has resulted in large scale human rights abuses." The evictions began in January 2013 when the Somali government announced a plan to relocate displaced people from Mogadishu to proposed camps outside the city to make way for reconstruction and development of the capital. In light of the human rights abuses, AI is urging the Somali government to halt all evictions until necessary safeguards are in place in line with its obligations under international human rights law.

Human rights violations of abuse and rape have been a continued concern in Somalia. In March, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF; press release] revealing that displaced people in face the risk of physical abuse and rape. Also in March, a Somali appeals court judge dropped charges [JURIST report] against a woman who alleged she had been raped by Somali government security forces and was consequently charged with defamation against the government. That ruling followed the recommendation [JURIST report] of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] to reopen the case. In February, Somalia's new prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, said that the Somali authorities would become more involved in protecting rape victims [JURIST report].

 

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