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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Somalia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012


The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) completed the September 2011 Roadmap for Ending the Transition during the year, partnering with representatives of Puntland, Galmuduug, Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a (ASWJ), and the international community. Completion of the roadmap included drafting a provisional federal constitution, forming an 825-member National Constituent Assembly (NCA) that ratified the provisional constitution, selecting a 275-member federal parliament, and holding speakership and presidential elections. On May 5, clan elders convened in Mogadishu to nominate NCA delegates and members of the federal parliament. On August 1, the NCA ratified the provisional federal constitution. The federal parliament was inaugurated on August 20. On August 28, parliament elected Professor Mohamed Sheikh Osman (Jawari) as speaker. On September 10, parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Former TFG president and 2012 presidential candidate Sheikh Sharif deemed the presidential vote to be fair and conceded defeat. Neither the TFG nor the newly established government had effective control over some parts of the country, and essential governance functions were provided by regional administrations, if at all, including by the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland State in the northeast. There were instances in which elements of the Somali security forces acted independently of civilian control.

Civilians continued to suffer from conflict-related abuses, including killings, displacement, and the diversion or confiscation of humanitarian assistance by armed groups, principally al-Shabaab--a terrorist organization. According to the UN, there were more than 1.36 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, and more than one million persons had taken refuge in other countries by the middle of the year.

Severe human rights abuses included killings; restrictions on freedom of the press, including violence against and targeted assassinations of journalists; and discrimination and violence against women and girls, including rape and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).

Other major human rights abuses included harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary and politically motivated arrest and detention; denial of a fair trial; corruption; trafficking in persons; abuse of and discrimination against minority clans; restrictions on workers’ rights; forced labor; and child labor.

In general impunity remained the norm, particularly in the south and central regions. Governmental authorities took some steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses, particularly military and police officials accused of committing rape, murder, and extortion of civilians.

Al-Shabaab retained control of some rural areas of the south and central regions, but lost control over all major population centers it previously controlled. Al-Shabaab continued to commit grave abuses. It attacked towns where its forces had withdrawn or been defeated by Somali National, African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ethiopian, and TFG-allied forces. Al-Shabaab committed abuses including extrajudicial killings; disappearances; cruel and unusual punishment; rape; restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of movement; restrictions on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian assistance; and conscription and use of child soldiers.

Read full report here

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