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UN urges Somalis to adopt humanitarian principles at upcoming peace talks

UN urges Somalis to adopt humanitarian principles at upcoming peace talks

On the eve of Somali peace and reconciliation talks set to start tomorrow in Eldoret, Kenya, the United Nations is calling on those attending to adopt a set of humanitarian principles which would facilitate the delivery of relief supplies in the war-ravaged nation, where insecurity is blocking aid efforts.

A statement issued today in Nairobi by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office for Somalia underscored that the country’s leaders must understand their responsibilities in guaranteeing human rights to hundreds of thousands of Somalis “in desperate need of food, water, shelter and basic security.”

“The UN calls on Somalis to ensure all rights and freedoms laid down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and all relevant international legal instruments on human rights, refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarian law,” according to the statement, released in advance of the conference being organized by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In return for that guarantee, the UN pledges that international agencies would be impartial, proportional, accountable and transparent in their delivery of assistance to Somalis. The agencies would also seek out local partners and be sensitive to local culture, laws and customs, while supporting Somali efforts aimed at achieving peace and reconciliation.

Fighting in parts of northeastern and southern Somalia as well as a series of kidnapping in Mogadishu have curtailed UN and other humanitarian operations over the past year.