HRW: Somalia government evicted thousands of displaced people

HRW: Somalia government evicted thousands of displaced people

[JURIST] Somali government officials evicted [HRW report] thousands of displaced people from Mogadishu in early March, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] stated Monday. The Somali government order stated that people were to be evicted from a 600-650 meter section of Mogadishu within a week. Security forces reportedly beat residents resisting the eviction, destroyed all their shelters and threatened individuals. The displaced population is made of about 1.1 million individuals displaced by the 2011 famine and fighting. According to HRW, the displaced people have been subject to numerous abuses, including rape, physical attacks, restrictions on access to humanitarian aid and discrimination. The displaced are now congregating in an area called the Afgooye corridor where HRW says they do not have clean water or sanitary facilities, and there are increased security concerns. International laws dictate that displacing individuals requires a lawful reason, like public interest, and that displacement must be carried out with proper notification and due process protections. After displacement, individuals must be given alternative housing with access to food, education, health care, employment and other opportunities. HRW argues that Somali authorities should cease evictions and assist the displaced people while protecting their rights.

The country of Somalia [JURIST news archive] has been in turmoil for years due to issues of poverty, hunger and war. In February Somalia’s prime minister appealed to the US government and US banks [JURIST report] to resume allowing money transfers to Somalia, a crucial service for many in the war-torn country. Earlier in February the Spanish National Court sentenced [JURIST report] six Somali pirates to 16 years in prison for an October 2012 attack on the Spanish boat Izurdia. In November 2014 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution [JURIST report] renewing its international call to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. In August a Somali police official reported that security forces arrested Somali pirate [JURIST report] Mohamed Garfanji. Garfanji, second-in-command of Somalia’s pirate industry, was arrested for possessing illegal arms and other charges related to piracy. In April 2014 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] Somali authorities to place a moratorium on the death penalty.