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TITLE: SOMALIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995









                            SOMALIA*


Somalia has been in a state of nearly unceasing civil war since 
1988.  Its last president, dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, fled 
the country in 1991.  The fighting between factional clan 
leaders resulted in massive killing, dislocations, and 
starvation of thousands of citizens and led the United Nations 
to intervene militarily in 1992.

There continued to be no central authority in Somalia.  Despite 
U.N. Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM) efforts, the Somalis have 
not been able to reestablish traditional means of social 
control and administration of justice.  The clans and subclans 
that had dominated all important aspects of life lost influence 
to a variety of political factions and armed militias.  Large 
numbers of persons remained displaced and continued to live in 
fear for their lives and property.

The Hawiye clan's United Somali Congress (USC), which 
controlled much of southern and central Somalia, including 
Mogadishu, continued to be split between General Mohammed Farah 
Aideed of the Somali National Alliance (SNA) and Ali Mahdi 
Mohammed of the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA).  Attempts to 
reach reconciliation failed.  In the extreme south, where Darod 
clans are strong, remnants of Siad Barre's Somalia National 
Front (SNF) vie for control with other groups, including a 
divided Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM).  The Isaak-dominated 
Somali National Movement (SNM) continued to control the 
northwestern "Somaliland" area, and in the northeast, the 
divided Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) controlled the 
traditionally Majertain homelands.  In both areas, violent 
intrafactional conflicts developed during the last months of 
1994.  The fighting in Hargeisa, capital of the Somaliland 
region, was particularly intense and resulted in numerous 
civilian casualties and the suspension of almost all 
humanitarian assistance programs.

In response to worsening conditions, the U.N. Security Council 
(UNSC) passed several resolutions concerning Somalia and 
UNOSOM.  Resolution 897 scaled back the number of peacekeepers
                 

*The absence of progress toward reconciliation and a continued 
decline in security led to the relocation of the U.S. Liaison 
Office from Mogadishu to Nairobi on September 15.  U.S. 
diplomats based in Kenya made periodic visits to Somalia after 
that date.

and the goals of the U.N. mission.  In November, in the absence 
of political reconciliation and a deteriorating security 
situation, the UNSC ordered a total withdrawal of UNOSOM from 
Somalia by March 31, 1995.  At year's end close to 10,000 
peacekeepers from Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and 
Zimbabwe remained on the ground.

When UNOSOM was forced to abandon the development of a national 
police force, local law and order remained highly arbitrary and 
largely in the hands of factions and clan-based Islamic courts, 
some of which applied strict Islamic (Shari'a) law.

Somalia's economy improved in 1994, compared to 1992 when U.S. 
and other foreign troops intervened to halt mass starvation.  
UNOSOM was initially successful in facilitating the flow of 
food to the starving population, and, despite the deteriorating 
security situation, agricultural production revived in many 
parts of the country.  Excellent rains during the principal 
growing season resulted in a bountiful harvest--close to 75 
percent of prewar levels.  Thousands of displaced people and 
refugees returned to their homes.  Flooding in the fall of 1994 
caused extensive damage to crops in the Juba valley, apparently 
without causing too much harm to reserve food stocks.  
Commercial exports of livestock and fruit increased in 1994, 
including an estimated 13,000 metric tons of bananas.

The human rights situation deteriorated throughout the year as 
calls for military restraint went unheeded.  Intraclan conflict 
worsened as rival groups, including those of Aideed and Ali 
Mahdi, jockeyed for power and control of strategic areas.  
There were continuing reports that factional militia, bandits, 
and clan militias committed extrajudicial killings and also 
intimidated, detained, raped, and kidnaped persons in order to 
gain or maintain power in areas under their control.  It was 
impossible to investigate these charges in most instances.  
Violence and social discrimination against women and abuse of 
children remained widespread.

There were few reports of abuses by UNOSOM troops in 1994, in 
part because of the changes in UNOSOM's mission and the 
withdrawal of a significant percentage of foreign troops.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political or Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political violence and banditry have been endemic to Somalia 
since the overthrow of Siad Barre.  Tens of thousands of 
Somalis, mostly noncombatants, have died in interfactional and 
interclan fighting in the past 6 years since the revolt against 
Siad Barre (see Section 1.g.).  Somali factions also targeted 
UNOSOM peacekeepers, resulting in the deaths of 37 soldiers by 
year's end.  In one of the most brutal attacks, SNA militia 
murdered five Nepalese soldiers in May during an ambush outside 
the UNOSOM compound in Mogadishu.

Although civilians were routinely killed during the fighting, 
politically motivated killings appeared to be less common.  
However, in one incident in August, three Indian medical 
officers were killed at their hospital in Baidoa.  The attack 
may have been in retaliation for the deaths of several armed 
Somalis killed by Indian troops a few days earlier during an 
ambush of a U.N. convoy.  In early December, pro-Aideed gunmen 
killed two Somalis demonstrating against General Aideed's 
efforts to form an interim government under his leadership.  In 
August unidentified interfactional crossfire killed a Swiss 
reporter in the south, where he was visiting an aid project.

In June the U.N. Security Council issued a report of the 
findings of a Special Investigatory Commission established late 
in 1993 to investigate armed attacks on UNOSOM personnel, 
including the June 1993 incidents that sparked the unsuccessful 
effort to apprehend General Aideed.  While acknowledging that 
General Aideed refused to cooperate with its investigation, the 
Commission harshly criticized UNOSOM in several ways, including 
UNOSOM's apparent policy of arbitrary detention.  The 
Commission also criticized inadequate command-and-control 
arrangements for UNOSOM peacekeeping troops.  It concluded that 
the United Nations should refrain from further peace 
enforcement actions along the lines of its Somalia mission.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known reports of unresolved politically motivated 
disappearances, although kidnaping remained a major problem, 
particularly for relief workers (see Section 1.d.).

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

There continued to be credible but unconfirmed reports of the 
use of torture by various warring factions against each other 
and against civilians.

Several unofficial Islamic courts were established late in the 
year, filling the vacuum created by the absence of normal 
government authority.  These courts, following strict Islamic 
(Shari'a) law, meted out particularly severe punishments on 
persons detained in connection with robbery and other crimes 
(see Section 1.e.).  For example, in October, following the 
decision of an Islamic court in Mogadishu, authorities 
operating in the area controlled by Ali Mahdi amputated one 
hand each of two teenagers, allegedly for stealing the 
equivalent of less than $20.  UNOSOM and international human 
rights monitors expressed concern about the decisions of the 
Islamic courts, but UNOSOM took no action to interfere with 
their operations.

There were no credible allegations of abuse of Somali civilians 
by foreign peacekeeping forces.  In March, a Canadian national 
peacekeeper was tried in Canada and found guilty of torture and 
manslaughter for his involvement in the March 1993 death of a 
Somali detained on suspicion of theft, Shidane Abukar Arone.  
The peacekeeper is being held without bail pending appeal.  
There was no reported progress in the investigation by Belgian 
authorities into alleged abuses committed by their forces, 
which left Somalia early in 1994.

The status of prison conditions was unknown but believed to be 
harsh and potentially life threatening.  There was no 
independent monitoring of prisons.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

All Somali factions reportedly held prisoners arbitrarily, but 
there were no known estimates of the number held at any one 
time.  The various Somali factions and armed bandits engaged in 
large-scale hostage taking of foreign citizens, in particular 
personnel from the international relief agencies, including the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  In most 
instances, the Somali gunmen held their hostages for short 
periods, often demanding large ransoms.  Those taken hostage 
included American, British, Italian, Swedish, Nepalese, 
Sudanese, and other nationalities.  For example, on February 9, 
Somalilanders kidnaped two British Members of Parliament, three 
British aid workers, and a journalist in Erigavo in northwest 
Somalia.  Subsequently, a local Somali doctor rescued the group 
and drove them to a safe area on February 11.  These attacks, 
led humanitarian organizations either to withdraw from the 
country or substantially reduce their activities.

On January 17, UNOSOM released the last 8 of 750 Somalis 
detained in connection with its 1993 attempt to apprehend 
General Aideed and persons suspected of attacking U.N. 
peacekeepers.  UNOSOM denied the detainees access to relatives 
but permitted the ICRC to visit all U.N. detainees.  Several of 
those held complained of ill-treatment at a press conference on 
January 20, but the conditions of their confinement met 
international standards.

UNOSOM held no prisoners at year's end.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

There was minimal progress toward reestablishing a system of 
justice in Somalia.  The three-tier national judicial system 
based on the 1962 Criminal Code and the 1963 Penal Code that 
was prepared by UNOSOM in 1993 could not be implemented because 
of the poor security situation.  Although local authorities 
have attempted to administer some type of justice, few Somalis 
feel confident of protection from retaliation based on clan 
loyalties.  By the end of the year, no civil courts functioned.

The vacuum created by the lack of a functioning government led 
to the expansion of the role of traditional clan-based Islamic 
courts.  While in the past Islamic courts were used to settle 
property disputes, these courts increasingly heard criminal 
cases.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Islamic courts are 
applying a very strict interpretation of Shari'a law, as 
evidenced by the amputation sentence against two teenagers (see 
Section 1.c.).  These informal courts are not standardized and 
do not provide for procedural safeguards that meet accepted 
international standards for a fair trial.  There is no right to 
appeal the verdict of the Islamic courts, and defendants 
reportedly are not provided with legal counsel.

Only in Somaliland, under "President" Mohammed Egal, was there 
a functioning legal system, based on the 1962 Penal Code.  The 
current system replaced Islamic law and includes a supreme 
court.  There was no information available on the ability to 
receive a fair trial in Somaliland or on the independence of 
the judiciary.  Continued fighting during the latter part of 
the year in the part of Somaliland claimed by Egal brought a 
halt to the work of many civil institutions, including the 
courts, as territory changed hands repeatedly.

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

These rights were regularly violated by the warring factions.  
During fighting in Mogadishu, heavily armed bandits 
systematically looted the property of rival groups.  Similar 
incidents occurred after the fighting in Kismayo in February.  
During military operations, the major factions have conducted 
home searches and evictions, and homes and property belonging 
to the former government and international bodies have been 
looted and destroyed.  Although there has been some discussion 
about property claims, the continued fighting has rendered the 
issue moot.

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

The warring factions continued to commit numerous violations of 
humanitarian law throughout the year, including the killing of 
many civilians, particularly in Mogadishu and Kismayo.  In 
February heavy interfactional fighting between the forces of 
Colonel Omar Jess and General Mohammed Hersi Morgan in Kismayo 
killed at least 60 civilians.  In April fighting between 
General Aideed's SNA militia and the Hawadle, a rival Hawiye 
subclan, in Merca and southern Mogadishu, killed another 32 
civilians.  At year's end, with the approaching departure of 
UNOSOM, heavy factional fighting in Mogadishu over access to 
the port area reportedly killed 20 persons and wounded hundreds 
more.

Armed Somali factions continued to target UNOSOM peacekeeping 
troops, beginning in January with the wounding of two Indian 
soldiers in an ambush near Kismayo.  Subsequent attacks 
resulted in deaths of peacekeepers from India, Egypt, Nepal, 
Malaysia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.  Armed bandits and militia 
often targeted peacekeepers in order to seize supplies or to 
retaliate against actions by UNOSOM forces.

International humanitarian nongovernmental organizations 
(NGO's) and others, including journalists (see Section 1.a.), 
increasingly became targets for attacks by Somali factions and 
bandits.  These attacks were widespread and often without clear 
motivation, although in some cases warlords sought to extort 
money from NGO's in exchange for providing security.  After 50 
armed Somalis looted 340 tons of food from a World Food for 
Peace (WFP) warehouse in January, more than 15 relief 
organizations decided to reduce or cease operations for a time 
in various parts of the country because of the lack of 
security.  The few NGO's that remained in operation at year's 
end had experienced continuous harassment and disruption of 
their operations at the hands of the warring factions.

There were several instances in which UNOSOM forces killed 
Somalis, but these incidents decreased sharply compared to 
1993.  In January Pakistani peacekeepers killed five Somalis in 
Mogadishu, and on January 9, U.S. Marine snipers firing at a 
man with a machine gun inadvertently killed a pregnant woman.  
Although the Pakistanis claimed that they had been fired on, 
General Aideed's faction said the Pakistanis fired without 
cause.  On January 31, U.S. Marines responding to an attack on 
a relief convoy killed 3 Somalis and wounded 13 others.  A 
subsequent UNOSOM investigation fully exonerated the Marines 
involved.  UNOSOM forces fired on Somali crowds on several 
occasions during the year, notably after troops began to 
withdraw from the country.  In October a crowd rampaged through 
the UNOSOM compound over the loss of jobs.  UNOSOM quelled the 
riot by firing tear gas into the mob.  The last U.S. forces 
departed in March, and at year's end approximately 10,000 
foreign peacekeepers remained in Somalia.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Most Somalis obtain news from foreign news broadcasts, notably 
the British Broadcasting Corporation, which transmits a daily 
Somali-language program.  The major political factions also 
operate radio stations.  UNOSOM has its own broadcasts and 
newspaper (Maanta), publicizing its activities, but its radio 
signal is not strong enough to reach all over Somalia.

The print media are small and consist largely of brief news 
broadsheets published by the various factions.  Several of 
these are nominally independent publications published 
anonymously and are critical of the faction leaders.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

General Aideed's and Ali Mahdi's factions held regular rallies 
in Mogadishu until fighting resumed in April.  Although Somalis 
are free to assemble, the lack of security effectively limits 
this right.  Despite the insecure environment, several 
political factions held conferences and congresses in various 
parts of the country.  A few professional groups operate in 
Mogadishu as the security situation permits.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Somalis are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, but the violence and 
chaos, principally in Mogadishu, 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 
Muslims or orthodox Muslim sects are often looked on with 
suspicion by more mainstream Somalis.  There is a small 
Christian community, but its members often find it necessary to 
conceal their beliefs.  Foreign Christians generally practice 
their religion without persecution as long as it is private and 
does not include attempts to ridicule or undermine Islam.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Most Somalis do not have access to documents or resources 
needed for international travel.  Domestic travel continued to 
be dangerous, but this did not deter movements of displaced 
persons and refugees back into the country.  By November (the 
last month for which there were figures), over 57,000 refugees 
had returned to various regions from camps outside Somalia's 
borders, and the relocation of displaced persons continued at 
year's end.  There were about 200,000 officially registered 
Somali refugees in Kenya (and around 40,000 nonregistered).  In 
Ethiopia, there were 185,000 registered and 25,000 
nonregistered Somali refugees.

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

Citizens did not have this right.  Somali factions met 
periodically during the year, but all efforts to reestablish a 
national government foundered on the ambitions of the two major 
leaders, General Aideed and Ali Mahdi, both from opposing 
subclans of the Hawiye clan.  Under heavy pressure from UNOSOM, 
the two leaders signed a joint communique on March 24 that 
pledged the major factions to the maintenance of peace prior to 
two reconciliation conferences to be held in Mogadishu by 
mid-May; neither reconciliation conference took place in 1994.  
The Imam of the Herab attempted unsuccessfully to convene a 
conference of the Hawiye clans in September.  At year's end, 
General Aideed continued to work to establish an interim 
government under his leadership, but Ali Mahdi still refused to 
participate, and, with the approaching departure of UNOSOM 
troops, factional maneuvering for strategic positions began to 
accelerate.

Although several women are important behind-the-scenes figures 
in the various factions, women as a group remain outside the 
political process.  No women hold prominent, public positions; 
and few participated in the reconciliation process.

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

There were no local human rights organizations in operation.

International humanitarian NGO's continued to operate, but the 
poor security situation limited their activities.  UNOSOM's own 
human rights office was not operational.

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

Societal discrimination against women and widespread abuse of 
children continued to be serious problems.

     Women

Women are harshly subordinated in Somalia, which has an 
overwhelmingly patriarchal culture.  Women suffered 
disproportionately in the Somali civil war and in the strife 
that followed.  However, during the past year, there were no 
reports of systematic attacks on women in connection with the 
continuing civil strife.  The imposition of new security 
measures in Kenyan refugee camps led to a sharp decline in the 
instances of rape, where the crime was considered to be an 
insult to the victim's clan.  The Islamic courts acted in at 
least one instance to execute a man convicted of raping a woman 
outside Mogadishu.

     Children

Children remain among the chief victims of the continuing 
violence in Somalia.  Although many youths are members of the 
marauding gangs known as "Morian," the factions also are 
directly responsible for involving young people in the 
interclan and interfactional violence.  Boys as young as 14 or 
15 years of age have participated in militia attacks.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by 
international experts as damaging to physical and mental 
health, is accepted in Somali culture and society and is widely 
practiced.  FGM is carried out at an early age, and an 
independent expert in the field estimates that 98 percent of 
Somali females have undergone this operation.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

More than 80 percent of Somalia's people share a common ethnic 
heritage, religion, and nomadic-influenced culture.  The 
largest minority group consists of "Bantu" Somalis.  These 
people are descendants of slaves brought to Somalia about 300 
years ago.  Many originated in an identifiable area in the 
interior of Tanzania, and speak a dialect which mixes Somali 
with a native version of KiSwahili.  These minorities suffer  
discrimination in many forms, even in refugee camps.  Many 
"Bantu" refugees in Kenya are afraid to return to Somalia, 
feeling that they would become still more vulnerable as a 
result of the political instability.  Similar views are 
expressed by the Barawanese, another minority in Somalia.

     People with Disabilities

There were no laws mandating accessibility to public buildings, 
transportation, or government services for the disabled before 
the collapse of the State.  No functioning government is yet in 
place that could address these issues.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The 1990 Constitution provided workers with the right to form 
unions, but the civil war and factional fighting negated this 
provision and shattered the single labor confederation, the 
then government-controlled General Federation of Somali Trade 
Unions.  Given the extent of Somalia's political and economic 
breakdown and the lack of legal enforcement mechanisms, trade 
unions could not function freely in the country at this time.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Wages and work requirements in traditional Somali culture are 
largely established by ad hoc bartering, based on supply, 
demand, and the influence of the clan from which the worker 
originates.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There was no information available on this topic.

     d.  Minimum age for Employment of Children

Formal employment of children was rare; but armed adolescents 
participated in various militias (see Section 5), and youth are 
commonly fully employed in herding, agriculture, and household 
labor across Somalia from an early age.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There was no organized effort by any of the factions to monitor 
acceptable conditions of work in Somalia during 1994. (###)




[end of document]

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