Monday, July 26, 2010


Appeal To: The President of Puntland

His Excellency Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole),

President of the Puntland State of Somalia,

Tel: + 2525 844151 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 2525 844151 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or + 2525454764 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 2525454764 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: + 2525 4 54764

Your Excellency,

First of all, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of the Republic of Puntland and to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of Oromo and Somalia and other refugees from Ethiopia who fled their home land to escape persecutions by the Ethiopian Government. Especially since the TPLF Government came to power, thousands of Oromo, Ogaden and other nationals have run away from arbitrary detentions, degrading tortures and violent killings in Ethiopia to save their lives by seeking refuge in Puntland and other neighbouring countries. In the same way, since the collapse of the Somalia Government in 1991, thousands of Somali citizens have fled to the neighbouring countries including to the Puntland State of Somalia in order to escape the civil wars among the war-lords.

However, HRLHA recently received a disheartening report that the Puntland Government has started to expel all Oromos, Somalis and other refugees currently staying in Puntland. According to the report HRLHA received from Bosasso, Garoowe and Galkayoo in Puntland on July 23, 2010, more than 900 Somali and 200 Oromo refugees have already been taken out of Puntland to the borders of Somalia and Ethiopia. HRLHA has also learned that most of the deported refugees are those who have been registered with the UNHCR and obtained refugee status. Among the hundreds of victims of this recent wave of depotationand arrests, HRLHA reporter has managed to obtain the names of the following Oromo nationals:







Mustafa Musa










Aliyi Mohamed Nur





Yadeta Ahamed Abrasha





Ibrahim Ahmed Hasen





Tahir Kemer Mohamed





Elias Hamid Habuderar





Jabir Ali Musa





Ali Ahmed Husen





Bekelcha Abdurahman Dadhi





Mehamed Ahmed Kala





Nuria Jibril Mehamed





Hasen Ahmed Nur





Awal Jemal Adem





Abduaziz Ahmed Isma’el




By so doing, the Puntland Government put the lives of hundreds of asylum seekers at risk. The reason given for such a decision was that “… all refugees are threat to the Puntland State and Government”.

Your Excellency, these asylum seekers are innocent people who escaped their homeland because of the reasons mentioned above; and cannot be a threat to the Puntland People and the Government. We would also like to bring to your attention that this is a reality that has already attracted international focus, including that of Ethiopia’s Western allies. For example, in its 2009 Country Report on Ethiopia, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor acknowledged that:

  • “… there were widespread human rights abuses including: unlawful killings and beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the opposition; restrictions on freedom of the press; restrictions on freedom of assembly and association; and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, among other human rights violations.”

  • In the case of Somali refugees, it has been widely reported that there were civil wars for over nineteen years among different war- lords; and recently between acting government of Somalia and the Al Shabab militant group.

The HRLHA believes that, based on such facts, your government has a moral obligation and national, regional as well as international responsibilities to reconsider and reverse this very serious decision and refrain from deporting those people who are taking refuge in your state.

In the case of Oromo refugees from Ethiopia, the Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, kidnapping and disappearances, arrests and indefinite imprisonments and torturing of its own citizens; and this include those who were involuntarily returned to the country. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.

By deporting refugees of Ethiopian Somalis, the Oromos and others, the Puntiland government will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.

Under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185), the Puntland Government has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they are likely to face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides that:

1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

We strongly urge the Government of Puntland to respect these international treaties and obligations; and we are hopeful that the cases of Somalis, Oromos and other refugees from Ethiopia would be reconsidered accordingly.

The HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

Garoma B. Wakessa,

Executive Director, HRLHA.

Cc: H.E. Abisamad Ali Shire, Vice President of the Puntland State of Somalia

Tel: + 2525454764 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 2525454764 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: + 2525 4 54764

  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 917 9656 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +41 22 917 9656 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

  • UNHCR main office Geneva, Switzerland.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    Case Postale 2500
    CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
    telephone number: +41 22 739 8111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +41 22 739 8111 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

  • African Commission on Human and Peopls’ Rights

The Gambia Tel : (220) 4410 505 – 6 ,

Fax: (220) 4410 504

Email :

  • Amnesty International – London Telephone: +44-20-74135500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44-20-74135500 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Fax number: +44-20-79561157

Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel: +1-212-290-4700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1-212-290-4700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Containing al-Shabab (BBC)

Containing al-Shabab

Andrew Harding | 15:38 UK time, Thursday, 15 July 2010

It's ten years since I covered my first Somali peace deal story. It was on a scorching hilltop in Djibouti and everyone was talking hopefully about how this, the 13th peace process I think, would finally end the anarchy and violence. It didn't and nor did the many deals that followed.

Somalia breeds pessimism more assiduously than any other country I've covered as a journalist. It is very tempting to conclude that this week's bombings in Uganda mark the beginning of a new, regionalised and increasingly dangerous stage in the conflict.

coffinsrtrs595.jpg"The kaleidoscope has been shaken," was how one western diplomatic source put it to me.

A bomb attack somewhere beyond Somalia's borders was almost inevitable. If an international naval taskforce patrolling the coast couldn't stop Somalia's pirates, then a dangerously under-resourced peacekeeping force in Mogadishu protecting an embattled and feuding transitional government was hardly going to contain al-Shabab. The organization had made its intentions clear beforehand.

So what happens next? How should Somalia's neighbours and the wider international community respond?

The same, but better, seems the most likely answer, at least in the short term. As Ethiopia and the US have learned to their cost, heavy-handed foreign intervention in Somalia is unlikely to advance the cause of peace.

The trouble with the current carrot-and-stick approach has been that the stick is too short and weak, and the carrot too often ends up in someone's back pocket in Mogadishu.

Donors, regional and international, need to help beef up the African Union force in Mogadishu to its intended strength or beyond, and to accelerate the training of Somali troops in Uganda. "More needs to be done, and quickly," said the diplomatic source.

There's been talk for months of a big offensive against al-Shabab in Mogadishu. The Ugandan peacekeepers, sinews stiffened, may well feel more inclined to take robust action. But this is where the carrot starts to come into play.

There's no point in seizing territory if you can't keep it. Somalia's transitional government is hopelessly factionalised and weak, but it is the only show in town and it has had some success in forging alliances with other groups in Somalia. Somehow this needs to be encouraged and supported.

As this recent report spelled out, al-Shabab itself is not a united front. The Ugandan bombs are likely to encourage divisions in a group that seems increasingly torn between its original and purely Somali agenda, and the cause of global jihad.

Last year I made a couple of short trips to south and central Somalia, and met members of al-Shabab. It was clear then that the flood of foreign jihadists joining the group was a source of potential tension, which might now be exploited. Attacking Ugandan peacekeepers in Mogadishu can be squared with al-Shabab's nationalist agenda, but killing foreign civilians in Kampala reveals an entirely different, imported and alien ideology.

"If we're learning anything from other conflicts it is that you need to hold your nose and talk to the bad guys," said the western diplomatic source. "This may be an opportunity to split off some of the more moderate elements."

An opportunity? Don't hold your breath, but Somalia needs to grab at every straw.