Saturday, June 19, 2010

Human Rights Abuses in Somalia


The issue of human rights abuses in Somalia goes back to the days of the military junta when select clans were targetted for voicing their concerns. The worst form of human atrocities, extrajudicial killings, trial without legal representation followed by prolonged jail terms, denial of freedom of speech, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of cruel and dehumanizing punishments including aerial bombing of densely populated places, forceful conscription into the armed forces, lack of reliable healthcare facilities, poor infrastructure, lack of clean tapped water, and the forceful adaption of communism and Scientific-socialism that were contrary to Islamic values remained prevalent up until the fall of Somalia's last central government.

The fall of the military government in 1991 exploded intertribal and interclan rivalry leading to the worst form of humanitarian crisis never before witnessed in modern human history. The rise of dreadful warlords culminated in the formation of fiefdoms and eventual cantonization of the once unified and homogenous state of Somalia. The rise of startling crimes of extortion and murder, rape of young girls and women, destruction of the nation's infrastructure, pollution of the environment, destruction of national forests through charcoal burning, dumping of toxic wastes, and the indiscriminate killing of defenseless civilians opened a path to the most grueling mass exodus of people and wild animals inside and outside of Somalia's borders such that Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya has become home to 300,000 refugees mainly of Somali origin. Dadaab refugee camp is reputedly the biggest refugee camp in the world according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR.

International, interregional, and intraregional migration became the only possible means of escape for those with the willpower and resolve, energy and drive. Hundreds of wild animals including elephants, giraffes, buffalos, rhinos, zebras, and other bigger animals who could cover longer distances sought refuge in countries neighboring Somalia. In the Diaspora, the number of Somali teenagers langushing in foreign jails for felonies and misdmeanors is hard to grasp. Somali youth in the Diaspora have become victims of crime because their illiterate or drugged parents have failed to guide them and act as role models.

Currently, Somalia remains the most dangerous place to live. It is a place where life has no meaning at all. Regardless of where one lives in Somalia, the truth of the matter is, peace, liberty, and happiness remain elusive. In the areas controlled by the Islamists, uneducated and brainwashed young men wielding considerable power have made life unbearable for the millions who look to them for protection. In their attempts to consolidate power, the Islamists have become adept at imposing unbearable rules and regulations that are an impediment to peace and progress.

Almost all Somali factions, religious or secular, continue to exploit and suppress even the most vulnerable of their subjects-children. Children as young as ten carry AK-47s in the streets imposing strict rules and lashing unobservant, defenseless civilians. What the west refers to as child labor has become a common practise for armed groups. The absence of human growth and develpment has depleted Somalia's human capital such that even those who have been hale and healthy at one time, have lost their mental and moral fiber.

Disruption of humanitarian supplies, exposure to hazardous waste, the defeaning noise of artillery and gunfire, and a host of undiagnosed and protracted maladies leave many reeling in pain on a daily basis. Theocracy, authoritarianism, and pseudo-democracy are the only forms of leadership styles currently existing in the Somali landscape.

Women and girls escaping the mayhem in Somalia, often find themselves abused, roughed-up, or raped by the security personnel of the host country. The political imbroglio in Villa Somalia and the Transitional Government's failure to capture lands in the hands of the opposition, will excercabate the current negative trends and alien traditions the nation is engulfed in.

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