Human rights key to peace and stability, says expert

A UN-appointed independent expert on human rights for Somalia has said that the interim government should base its agenda on human rights to guarantee long-term stability in the country.

Speaking at the end of a 13-day mission to Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar called on the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to pursue actively the integration of international human rights norms and standards into the reconstruction of its executive, legislative and judicial branches.

"Unless human rights become a cornerstone of the TFG's agenda, the longterm stability of the country cannot be guaranteed", a press statement released by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator's Office for Somalia quoted him as saying.

He agreed with the TFG prime minister, Ali Muhammad Gedi, on the importance of establishing a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission to redress the suffering of the millions of Somalis who lost either their relatives and/or livelihoods during the many years of conflict and to bring those responsible to justice", the statement said.

Alnajjar visited Hargeysa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, and Garowe and Bosasso, the capital and coastal port of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, respectively. He also met members of the TFG, local authorities, civil society groups and representatives of donor countries.

Among issues discussed were "women's and children's rights, prison conditions, the rule of law, the establishment of independent human rights commissions and the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs)".

The expert also discussed the condition of Somalia's coastline and coastal waters, which have been severely affected by illegal fishing by foreign vessels, and more recently by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Alnajjar called on the authorities in both Somaliland and Puntland to release all prisoners of war, captured during clashes between the two sides in the disputed region of Sool, last year.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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