UN holds talks in Somali capital on return of displaced persons

UN holds talks in Somali capital on return of displaced persons

The needs of hundreds of thousands of Somalis displaced from Mogadishu this year topped the agenda during talks there yesterday between officials from the United Nations and the country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Eric Laroche, led the joint mission to the capital to discuss improving the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the country, where fighting between the Ethiopian-backed TFG and the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC) caused 490,000 Somalis to flee from Mogadishu between February and May.

An estimated 112,000 have since returned to the capital, according to OCHA, which said most are attempting to restore their livelihoods after having lost property during the conflict.

Others who wish to return “face uncertainty over the Government’s future use of public buildings and the destruction of many of the buildings in which they formerly lived,” the Office said. While in Mogadishu, the UN team stressed that in repossessing public buildings in which the displaced had been living, the TFG “should respect international standards and provide alternate solutions for the displaced.”

In a separate development today, OCHA announced that the Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies, which just wrapped up a meeting in Stockholm, called for a stronger global regime to meet the challenges posed by climate change and other disasters.

“If we are going to see more disasters with climate change, all countries must be ready to participate in the international effort to cope with the environmental emergencies that follow many disasters,” said Chris Dijkens of the Netherlands, who chaired the meeting.