Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Human Rghts Violations in the Horn of Africa


From the northern tip to the southern periphery of the Horn of Africa to the shores of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, the cry of innocent civilians dying of starvation and neglect and from indiscriminate shellings by wild and unrestrained militias is hard to ignore. The Horn of Africa is home to over a 100 million inhabitants with most governments of the region practising undemocratic modes of administrations ranging from dictatorships to religious fanaticisms, feudalisms and warlordisms-impracticable systems, insouciant and insolvent leaderships not in line with modern human governance.

Ironically, such heinous administrations have been a chosen career for most African leaders who inherited the thrones of power through the use of the barrel of the gun. Since the dawn of the 60s when Africans embarked on agressive efforts to free themselves from the shackles of colonialism and imperialism, and upto this day, suffering either as a result of marginalization, repression, one-party-rule, genocide, slavery, abuse of power, arbitrary arrests, mismanagement of economies, disease, hyperinflation, and other inhuman practices remain to be the norm under the glare of the international community.

In Somalia, since the fall of the central government in 1991, bloodshed continues unabated with the political situation remaining utterly interregnum. The modus operandi for Somalia at the moment is one of insurgency and religious inclination. In Ethiopia, many thought the fall of Mengistu Haile Miriam would be replaced by eternal bliss. Not so. The toppled regime has been replaced by a more war mongering ruthless regime whose ineffctiveness bred more factions and bitter enemies. Kenya, long thought of as a 'model of democracy' descended into chaos in December of 2007 mainly over election irregularities and political wrangglings that left over a thousand dead in the span of three months. Sudan has been embroiled in intermittent wars for decades with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) commanded by Dr. John Garang who perished in a heicopter mishap. Despite coming into common terms with the Southern Sudanese people through power sharing, the government of Hassan Al-Bashir has come to the international limelight once again as the President has been indicted in war crimes and genocide related cases. The tiny nations of Djibouti and Eritrea have had horns locked over a piece of barren desert.

Besides war, the people of the Horn of Africa have had many predicaments related to nature's fury. Drought has decimated the fauna and flora alike; locusts invasions have become common; TB, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, diphtheria, malnutrition and a host of uncontrolled and unmonitored disease carrying microbial organisms continue to devastate urban and rural communities. Thus, progress has been hampered in all ways.

The life expectancy rate has tremendously declined, child mortality rate is one of the worst in the world, while overall human suffering show impalpable pictures. Unemployment, lack of social services, delapidated medical institutions, lack of water and sanitation, deplorable sewarage systems, shortage of food and reliance on handouts have created misery for millions. Overcrowded refugee camps, bloated concentration camps, uhygeinic dungeons, and other despicable living conditions are to be found in the Horn of African countries.

In the western Darfur state of Sudan, a plethora of vertiginously incalculable devastation of life and property by armed militias against unarmed Darfuris has in the initial end attracted the attention of the international community. Historically, Darfuris are thought to have decended from caravans of Muslim pilgrims who originally hailed from the western coast of Africa. The pilgrims are thought to have settled in Darfur after their journey back home to West Africa proved futile due to lack of resources and transportation. Whoever is attempting to evict Darfuris from their 400-year old settlements must come with a credibe reason proving them sojourners and not permanent settlers. If the only reason Darfuris are being exterminated is tied to untapped fossilifeorus resources buried beneath the earth's geological formations remains a deathwatch responsibility for the international community.

Horn of Africa's leaders' rapacious appetite for human destruction will have long immedicable effects in the long run. Whether the Horn's insecurity revolves around forceful religious indoctrinations and expansionisms or ardent desire for political irredentisms remains to be seen. Whether these leaders are immitating or borrowing leaf from past Athenian-Spartan wars, barbarian plunders, Roman wars of annihilation, Ottoman expansionism, British imperialism or just for the leisure of baying on human blood are issues worth watching in the distant future.

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