Global assistance could boost protection, security in Somalia – UN expert

24 April 2009
Internally displaced persons in Somalia

On the heels of donors pledging over $200 million for Somalia yesterday, a United Nations human rights expert stressed that these funds could greatly help protect civilians in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation and bolster its security forces.

At the donors’ conference in Brussels under the joint auspices of the UN, the African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States, pledges of $213 million were received by the days’ end.

That amount surpassed the $166 million requested by the AU, of which $135 million was targeted to the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and $31 million for Somali security forces.

“There is now a greater need for such assistance in view of the stabilization of the political situation owing to the establishment of a new Transitional Federal Government and extended Transitional Federal Institutions,” which now includes the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) as a result of the UN-facilitated Djibouti peace process, according to Shamsul Bari, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

But he noted that the accountability and transitional justice initiatives are essential in Somalia, “where human rights is a victim of endless and myriad violations on a daily basis.”

Mr. Bari pointed out that there is a consensus among many that the “success of the security mechanisms will be judged on their capacity to protect the civilian population rather than abuse.”

Thus, he stressed, to ensure that security forces are human rights-compliant, vetting processes, command structures and international disciplinary structures and independent oversight are essential.

In an address to yesterday’s conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that security support will help the Government establish its authority throughout the country and give it the space to rebuild state institutions, adding that it would also help it to address the humanitarian emergency and to facilitate economic recovery.

Further, he said, by helping the Government extend its authority, progress could be made against global challenges that emanate from lawless areas, such as piracy.

“The equation is clear: more security on the ground will mean less piracy on the seas,” Mr. Ban told representatives of more than 60 countries and regional organizations, including Somalia’s president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, along with Javier Solana, EU High Representative; Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; and Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, UN Special Representative for Somalia.

 

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