- The Human Rights Watch has urged the donor governments meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday to follow up on their pledges to bolster the peacekeeping missions in war torn Somalia and to safeguard that their support does not perpetuate human rights violations.
The meeting which among other things seeks to pledge donor support to the Somali Transitional Federal Government will also look into the recent patterns of impunity for serious abuses that have been a primary cause of violence in Somalia over the years.
Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, Georgette Gagnon, said donors need to focus on improving security for Somali civilians, rather than securing stability for the transitional government inaugurated early this year.
“Since Somalia's security forces have committed so many violent abuses against civilians, efforts to strengthen them also need to make them more accountable,” he said.
Somalia has a long history of near-total impunity for serious abuses by all warring factions since the collapse of its last functional government in 1991.
Recent donor interventions in Somalia's security sector have often exacerbated problems in the country, according to the rights group. In 2007, international donors through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) embarked on training and other assistance for TFG police forces that included direct financial support for police salaries.
According the Human Rights Watch the police were widely implicated in serious human rights abuses, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians during combat operations; arbitrary detention of civilians in Mogadishu to extort ransom payments from victims' families, looting, armed robbery, and murder.
The Human Rights Watch has also urged that donor states ensure adequate vetting of TFG security forces to ensure that they have not been implicated in serious human rights abuses.
“Donors should support creating an independent vetting mechanism to remove and exclude members of the security forces responsible for serious human rights violations and should condition their support on acceptance of such a mechanism,” the rights organisation said.
It further called on the meeting to develop mechanisms to address abuses by TFG security forces and peacekeeping mission and also called for the independent human rights monitoring mechanisms in Somalia.
Somalia led to a broader-based government of national unity, headed by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has seen a wave of attacks since January, when he was elected into the office.
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