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TITLE:  SOMALIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Following 2 years of civil war and total anarchy, Somalia 
continued in 1993 to be without central authority of any kind.  
In the 2 years since the fall of Siad Barre in January 1991, 
traditional means of social control and administration of 
justice have not been reestablished.  Even with the presence of 
United Nations peacekeepers, many Somalis remain beyond the 
rule and protection of recognized law and social order.  Almost 
20 percent of the population is displaced or has sought refuge 
abroad.  Communities, ravaged by war and famine, have 
disappeared in some regions.  Somalis of every clan and faction 
live in fear for their lives and property.  Traditional 
authorities, unable to cope with the unprecedented conditions 
of the country, have often withdrawn from their historical 
function, leaving the clans and subclans without the restraints 
that would serve to protect human rights.

The United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM) and its 
predecessor the United Nations Task Force (UNITAF) have 
attempted to protect the lives and property of both Somalis and 
foreign relief workers.  However, in doing so and in attempting 
to carry out its mandate to support a broad agreement by 
Somalis in March, 1993 in Addis Ababa, U.N. forces were 
attacked and drawn into violent confrontations in which they 
and Somalis were killed, creating an atmosphere of wariness 
between the peacekeepers and some of those they were sent to 
protect.  Some foreign forces were accused of mistreatment, 
even murder, of Somalis and in several instances from June to 
October, 1993, U.N. peacekeepers were attacked and killed by 
Somalis.  In response, under the authority of the United 
Nations, U.S. forces attacked and apprehended Somalis believed 
to be responsible for the attacks upon U.N. peacekeepers.  
UNOSOM detained these Somalis without trial.  All but eight 
were released by year's end. 

In the months before the attacks on the peacekeepers, the 
United Nations was largely successful in ensuring the flow of 
food to the starving population by ending large-scale looting 
of relief supplies and extortion of humanitarian agencies by 
bandits and warlords.  The early months of 1993 saw a rapid 
drop in death and malnutrition rates measured by international 
relief agencies.  Despite this amelioration, lawlessness 
continued in parts of Somalia.  Conditions varied widely.  In 
some towns, a semblance of civic order remained, with local 
populations respecting the traditional authority of clan 
elders.  However, no central authority was acknowledged; power 
rested in the hands of clan-based warlords and heavily armed 
gangs of looters; more than half a million refugees fled to 
neighboring countries over the past few years; and there was no 
functioning network of police, courts, or civil 
administration.  In the second quarter of 1993, the United 
Nations made a start in addressing these problems.

The Addis Ababa accords, which the 15 major Somali faction 
leaders signed in March, outlined steps toward political 
reconciliation and the formation of a Transitional National 
Council (TNC).  The accords committed all signatories to 
disarmament and the reconstruction of Somali society in a 
fashion consistent with the Geneva Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights.

Building on the March accords, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) 
passed several resolutions establishing and defining UNOSOM II.
UNOSOM II, created under UNSC Resolution 814, had broad 
responsibilities, including the basic reconstitution of Somali 
civic society and the creation of preconditions for the 
observance of human rights.  It was tasked with creating a 
secure environment; promoting political reconciliation; 
disarming clan factions; re-establishing the police and 
judiciary; and prosecuting those responsible for serious 
violations of international law.

Informal talks held among faction leaders in Addis Ababa in 
November and December did not produce agreement on how to 
implement the Addis Ababa accords, but did not repudiate their 
commitments to these accords.

As UNOSOM II began the task of disarmament in Mogadishu, it met 
sudden, violent resistance from one of the signatories of the 
Addis Ababa accords.  In response to a UNOSOM arms sweep, the 
SNA (Somali National Alliance, led by Mohamed Farah Aideed) 
reportedly organized an ambush of UNOSOM Pakistani troops on 
June 5, killing 24 and wounding another 50.  On June 6, the 
UNSC passed Resolution 837, condemning the armed attacks upon 
U.N. peacekeepers and authorizing the U.N. Secretary General, 
under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary 
measures against those responsible for the attacks, including 
arrest, detention, trial, and punishment.  In November the UNSC 
created a commission of inquiry to investigate this and other 

Throughout June, July, August and September, UNOSOM II forces, 
including U.S. forces working with UNOSOM contingents, made 
efforts to capture Aideed and other key SNA personnel in 
accordance with UNSC Resolution 837.  SNA forces countered by 
conducting ambushes of UNOSOM forces in which armed attackers 
were shielded by civilians, especially women.  Peacekeepers 
from Italy, Pakistan, Nigeria, the United States, and Morocco, 
as well as hundreds of Somalis, died during such incidents.  In 
September and October, SNA rocket and mortar attacks on the 
U.N. facility and U.S. Liaison Office in South Mogadishu became 
more frequent.  SNA forces unlawfully detained two 
peacekeepers, a Nigerian and an American (see Section 1.d.), 
the American after an attack October 3 on an SNA stronghold in 

Outside Mogadishu, progress was made in reestablishing local 
police forces and courts and with the establishment of new 
district and regional councils.

Faction militia, bandits, and clan militia are routinely 
charged with using intimidation, detention, rape, kidnaping, 
murder, and looting to gain or maintain power over the Somali 
population but these charges have been difficult to 
investigate.  Relations between UNOSOM forces and local 
populations varied widely from region to region, and were often 
dependent on relations between UNOSOM and local faction or 
traditional leaders.  In general, the forces enjoyed good 
relations with the people, but there were some complaints that 
Belgian, Canadian, and U.S. forces used extreme or 
inappropriate force against Somalis, including incidents which 
resulted in deaths.  The governments involved launched 
investigations, some of which continue, of these incidents.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political violence and banditry have been endemic to Somalia 
since the overthrow of Siad Barre.  Levels of violence were 
significantly reduced with the establishment of UNITAF, 
followed by UNOSOM II.  Within areas controlled by UNITAF, the 
efforts of volunteer, unpaid former policemen appear to have 
aided the return of stability.  However, in the past year, 
attempts have been made on the lives of several politically 
active Somalis.  Although large scale interclan clashes in 
Mogadishu diminished with an interclan cease fire in October, 
gun fights between rival factions were still common and lethal 
attacks by bandits in the city increased, as did interclan 
fighting outside Mogadishu.

Some foreign forces were accused of extrajudicial killings.  
Canadian peacekeepers stationed at Belet Weyne were alleged to 
have been responsible for two civilian Somali deaths.  On March 
4, a Somali attempting to break into the Canadian base was shot 
while fleeing, and allegedly shot again while lying on the 
ground.  While in Canadian custody on March 16, Shidane Omar 
Aroni was allegedly beaten to death .  Canadian authorities 
conducted a full investigation and launched judicial 
proceedings which had not been concluded by year's end.  In 
April, a U.S. Marine was convicted in a military court of use 
of excessive force in an incident in which one Somali was 

On July 7, at the height of the conflict between Aideed and 
UNOSOM forces, six Somali distributors of the UNOSOM newspaper 
were assassinated in Mogadishu.  It is alleged this took place 
at SNA or Aideed instigation.

On June 5, forces loyal to Aideed reportedly launched an ambush 
against Pakistani peacekeepers, who had just completed a search 
for arms at Aideed's radio station and other locations in 
Aideed-controlled territory.  Twenty-four Pakistanis were 
killed, two of them executed after being taken captive.  Women 
were combatants in the attack and reportedly participated in 
mutilating the bodies of the dead.  The arms search had been 
initiated after written notification to the SNA, and was in 
accordance with the disarmament provisions of the Addis Ababa 
agreement.  Following the deaths of the Pakistani peacekeepers, 
UNSC Resolution 837 authorized UNOSOM to take all necessary 
measures against those responsible for the attack.

Fighting on June 17 between the SNA and UNOSOM began with an 
ambush of Moroccan troops; women among the attackers reportedly 
pulled grenades from under their clothes and threw them among 
the Moroccan troops.  Similar tactics were reportedly used to 
ambush Nigerian troops on September 5.

     b.  Disappearance

Reliable information concerning politically motivated 
disappearances was not available.  Most observers assumed that 
it was a frequent phenomenon, masked by massive displacement of 
the population.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Reports of torture in the aftermath of clan fighting cannot be 

In Hargeisa on January 8, five women suspected of prostitution 
were stoned to death, after having been buried up to the neck.  
The instigator was a local religious leader, Sheikh Dahir.  The 
Sheikh reportedly acted without convening a formal Islamic 
tribunal.  No other incidents of this nature were recorded in 

Independent sources alleged that Somalis held in Belgian 
custody in Kismayo suffered mistreatment.  Doctors who examined 
released detainees found marks of burns on their bodies.  The 
Belgian Ministry of Defense launched an investigation, and 
announced that military authorities had taken appropriate 
action in cases of apparent misconduct.  Thirteen cases were 
still under investigation at years's end.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

All Somali factions reportedly held prisoners arbitrarily in 
1993.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
negotiated the release of 348 persons, mostly detained by the 
United Somali Faction (USC), but some by the Somali Salvation 
Democratic Front (SSDF), and the Somali National Force (SNF).  
The SNA has accused the United Nations of violations of the 
rights of the accused.  Under the authority of UNSC Resolution 
837, UNOSOM detained, but did not try, Somalis suspected of 
complicity in the attack on Pakistani peacekeepers.  For 
reasons of security, the location and condition of the 
detainees was not revealed to their families or the Somali 
public, although regular visits by ICRC representatives were 
permitted.  The last of these detainees were released in 
January 1994.  When the SNA unlawfully detained a captured U.S. 
pilot and one of the Nigerian peacekeepers, the ICRC visited 
the detainees and assisted in their release.

Former National Police Commander Ahmed Jama Mousa claimed in a 
deposition to UNOSOM that, during a military operation on 
September 13, U.S. forces shot and wounded him outside his 
home, invaded his home, beat, and detained him and three 
unarmed members of his family for 5 days.  Mousa has filed a 
claim for compensation to UNOSOM.  The U.S. Department of 
Defense is investigating the incident.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

There is little structure for the administration of justice in 
Somalia.  UNOSOM has declared the Somali Penal Code to be the 
law of the land, and in the few functioning UNOSOM-administered 
courts that law is applied.  It is impossible to judge the 
impartiality of the administration of local justice.  
Throughout the country local authorities have attempted to 
administer some type of justice.  Islamic law and traditional 
mediation have been used to settle property crimes.  However, 
these methods are not governed by any universal code or 
administration.  A high proportion of Somalia's educated elite 
has fled the country.  The fear of renewed anarchy hampers 
impartial justice; few Somalis feel confident of lasting 
protection from retaliation based on clan loyalties. 

Prosecution of Somalis for war crimes committed during the past 
2 years is difficult.  In April when humanitarian operations in 
Baidoa were under the protection of Australian forces, one such 
prosecution resulted in the conviction and execution of Hassan 
Gutaale Abdul.  He was tried under the Somali Penal Code for 31 
murders.  Eleven eyewitnesses testified.  Both trial and appeal 
were conducted by former Somali judges.  However, contrary to 
Somali law, the appeals panel sat the day after the trial, 
instead of giving the defense the legally required 15-day 
preparation period.  Court officials purportedly feared they 
could not hold Hassan Gutaale Abdul in jail for the prescribed 
period.  He was executed by gunshot immediately after the 
handing down of the appeal verdict.

At the time of the Addis Ababa accords in March, an interim, 
three-tier judicial system was planned, with courts of appeal, 
regional courts, and district courts.  It was envisaged that 
these courts would operate under the 1962 Somali Criminal 
Procedure Code and the 1963 Penal Code.  Drafting of a new 
constitution was to be delegated (see Section 3) to the 
Transitional National Council (TNC).

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

These rights were constantly violated by the warring factions.  
The civil conflict resulted in huge displacements of people and 
the destruction of the infrastructure of the country.  Although 
these rights have not been systematically violated by a central 
authority, there is no right of privacy in Somalia.  Military 
operations by the major factions have led to home searches and 
evictions.  Militia in Mogadishu, Kismayo, and other urban 
centers occupy private homes and buildings without the 
permission of the owners.  Homes belonging to former government 
members have been destroyed and the contents looted.  Somalis 
have been forced to flee their homes because of violence 
directed at them.  The relatively peaceful northwest and 
northeast of the country suffered less disruption.  At year's 
end, no action had been taken to deal with property claims, a 
problem that looms large as refugees and the displaced prepare 
to return. 

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Violations of humanitarian law in internal conflicts by Somalis 
have been common since the civil war began in 1991.  The use by 
factions of women and children as human shields or combatants 
in conflicts is well-documented.  The brutalities of armed 
looters who continue to roam Somalia are unlikely ever to be 
completely catalogued.  Humanitarian convoys and base camps 
were the targets of these bandits.  The Geddo region on the 
border with Kenya, unprotected by UNOSOM deployment, suffered 
severely.  When the remnants of Somalia's judiciary formed an 
association, they particularly wanted inquiries into war crimes 
to focus on the looting of relief supplies.  Except in regions 
with UNOSOM protection, humanitarian aid workers were 
constantly under threat, often in pay disputes with their armed 
Somali employees.  Three non-Somali humanitarian aid workers 
were murdered in incidents of random violence.  

In attempting to enforce the disarmament agreements reached in 
the Addis accords, UNOSOM Pakistani peacekeepers were attacked 
without warning, reportedly by the forces of the Somali 
National Alliance, which controls south Mogadishu.  UNOSOM's 
efforts to capture key SNA leaders resulted in confrontations 
with elements of the south Mogadishu population.  Although UNSC 
Resolution 837 authorized the U.N. to "take all necessary 
means" against those responsible for the June 5 attack, 
Medecins Sans Frontieres and the human rights group, Africa 
Watch, alleged that UNOSOM forces, including U.S. forces, 
violated international humanitarian law and that UNOSOM had 
itself become a party in an internal conflict.  The charges 

--that U.S. missile-firing helicopters on July 12 attacked 
without warning the Abdi House, an SNA control center, killing 
participants in a political meeting.  In other incidents, 
UNOSOM forces had issued warnings and called for evacuation 
before striking at an inhabited target.  UNOSOM apparently did 
not issue a warning before this attack.

--that UNOSOM forces did not take adequate care to minimize 
noncombatant casualities in a firefight at the Digfer Hospital 
on June 17, during which five Somali patients died.  UNOSOM 
forces were pursuing SNA militia who had fired on them from 
within the hospital, which turned out to be used by the SNA to 
house troops and store arms, and as a intermittant command 

The 1994 Human Rights Watch World Report charges General 
Aideed's forces with apparently using civilians to shield 
troops and with violating the neutrality of hospitals on two 
occasions, including the one noted above.  Africa Watch notes 
also reports that General Aideed's forces conducted summary 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Most Somalis obtain news from British Broadcasting Corporation 
and Voice of America Somali-language radio broadcasts.  Brief 
news broadsheets continued to be printed.  UNOSOM has its own 
broadcasts and newspaper (Maanta), but its radio signal is not 
strong enough to be heard throughout the country.  The major 
factions also have radio stations.  There has been a recent 
increase of journals in Somalia.  These publications are most 
often pamphlets for one faction or another, but some are 
developing a journalistic independence new in Somalia's recent 
history.  There have been no obvious attempts to restrict the 
distribution of these local papers.

Aideed monopolized use of the national radio.  His faction took 
control of the station and used it and mobile transmitters to 
broadcast harsh anti-UNOSOM themes.  UNOSOM allowed Aideed to 
broadcast without interference until the June attack on 
peacekeepers, when the radio station was destroyed.  Aideed 
continues to broadcast freely from a mobile transmitter.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Periodically, pro-Aideed forces held anti-UNOSOM rallies in the 
Aideed-controlled area of south Mogadishu.  Supporters of 
Aideed-rival Ali Mahdi also held demonstrations, usually in 
favor of UNOSOM actions, in north Mogadishu.  Similar 
demonstrations have been held wherever UNOSOM has offices, 
mostly in urban centers.  UNOSOM often monitored these 
demonstrations, but did not interfere with unless violence 
broke out.  UNOSOM was accused of firing on protesters in an 
incident in June following the attack on Pakistani 
peacekeepers.  The incident was under investigation at year's 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Somalis are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, but the violence and 
chaos, principally in Mogadishu, in 1993 made it difficult for 
them to practice their religion in some locations in a mosque 
or other formal setting.  Local tradition and past law make it 
a crime to proselytize for any religion except Islam.  
Non-Sunni Moslems or orthodox Moslem sects are often looked on 
with suspicion by more mainstream Somalis.  Somalia has a small 
Christian community, but these men and women often find it 
necessary to conceal their beliefs.  Foreign Christians 
generally practice their religion without persecution as long 
as the practice is private and does not include attempts to 
ridicule or undermine Islam.  Christian churches and cemeteries 
have been desecrated, but these acts seemed to be more often 
the work of looters and thieves than of zealots.
     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The collapse of the Government has left the Somali people 
without travel documents needed for international travel.  
Those Somalis who remain in the country have difficulty leaving 
as neighboring countries often refuse to accept their passports 
or restrict entering Somalis as suspected immigrants. Travel 
within Somalia continued to be dangerous in 1993, but this did 
not deter huge movements of displaced people.  Some left the 
country as refugees; some moved within Somalia to feeding 
centers; others returned to Somalia as repatriates.

After UNITAF's deployment it was expected that massive numbers 
of refugees would return.  Repatriation from neighboring Kenya 
was slower than the UNHCR anticipated.  A few thousands, out of 
tens of thousands, have been repatriated by the UNHCR.  An 
undetermined but probably equal number repatriated themselves 
without assistance.  Unassisted repatriation is relatively easy 
because many Somali refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia are nomads, 
and borders in the region do not correspond to ethnic 
boundaries.  Though repatriation has been slow, the massive 
outflow of population recorded in 1991-92 was halted, evidence 
of the broad improvement of conditions in the southern 40 
percent of Somalia in 1993.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The Addis Ababa accords contained provisions for the 
reintroduction of a political structure.  The election of 
district and regional councils, followed by establishment of a 
Transitional National Council, and the drafting of a new 
constitution, was the agreed process to bring about a political 
consensus and reconciliation.  More than 50 district councils 
and 6 regional councils were established by Somalis with the 
help of UNOSOM

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

No local human rights organizations could function normally 
under the conditions that prevailed during the year.  But 
international humanitarian organizations were generally welcome 
in all parts of Somalia, regardless of local clan dominance.  
The ICRC had access to prisoners held by the major factions and 
by UNOSOM in urbal and some rural areas.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Women are harshly subordinated in Somali society.  Somali 
culture is overwhelmingly restrictive and patriarchal.  Women 
suffered disproportionately in the Somali civil war and in the 
strife that followed.  Traditional rulers have reported 
systematic rape and abduction of young women to serve as sexual 
slaves to roving gangs.  The population of Brava, an ethnic 
minority, was especially hard hit.  In February women from 
Brava were still being held by SNA militia as far from their 
homes as Baidoa.  The same fate befell the women of Hamar Weyne 
in Mogadishu, another minority group, when marauding Hawiya 
reportedly raped scores of women inside a city mosque where 
they had taken refuge.  Women were often used as spoils of war 
and denigrated to humiliate their clan or family. 


Female genital mutilation (circumcision), which has been 
condemned by international health experts as damaging to both 
physical and psychological health, is commonly inflicted at an 
early age.  An independent expert in the field estimates that 
98 percent of Somali females have undergone this operation.

Other forms of abuse stem from the civil conflict.  Children 
were pushed by Somali factions into armed conflict with foreign 
troops and other Somalis.  In the conflict with UNOSOM in south 
Mogadishu, Aideed's forces used civilians as human shields and 
deliberately involved women and children in combat to reap 
propaganda advantages from casualties and protection from 
UNOSOM military action.  In February Somali children were given 
water pistols that looked very much like real guns.  Children 
claimed they were told to squirt U.N. soldiers with these 
toys.  This practice led to many near shooting incidents.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

More than 80 percent of Somalia's people share a common ethnic 
heritage, religion, and nomadic-influenced culture.  However, 
clan affiliation has always been more important than political 
and cultural unity.  Under the pressures of social breakdown 
and civil war, clan and subclan loyalties grew ever stronger.

The largest minority group consists of "Bantu" Somalis.    They 
are victims of visible discrimination even in refugee camps.  
They fall into two major groups; those who claim to be 
aboriginal Somalis, and those who are descended from east 
African slaves brought to Somalia by Arab traders in the 14th 
century.  Somalis also practice a caste/subordinate clan 
system.  The Tumal and Mitgan are Somali clans despised for 
their professions (leather and metal workers) and forbidden to 
marry or mix with other Somalis.  Educated Somalis have refused 
to eat at the same table with members of these groups.  In 
fact, Somalis will often hesitate to discuss the existence of 
these two groups.  No Tumal or Mitgan organization has emerged 
to champion their rights.  Many "Bantu" refugees in Kenya fear 
to return to Somalia, feeling that as a threatened minority 
they would become still more vulnerable.

In Kismayo in July, two Bantu Somalis, members of one of 
Somalia's minority populations, were killed by townspeople for 
their part in assisting UNOSOM to resettle the displaced.  
Townspeople feared the resettlement program threatened local 
food distributions.

     People with Disabilities

No reliable information was available on this topic.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Nothing remains of the General Federation of Somali Trade 
Unions.  Given the extent of the country's economic breakdown 
and the lack of legal enforcement mechanisms, trade unions were 
not able to function in 1993.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Wages and work requirements in traditional Somali culture are 
largely established by ad hoc bargaining, based on supply and 
demand.  There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

No information on this topic was available.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The reestablishment of schools is only beginning.  Formal 
employment of children is unlikely; but children often 
participate in armed militias.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There was no organized effort to monitor acceptable conditions 
of work during 1993.

[end of document]


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