Wednesday, August 21, 2013
An acceptance of violence targeting
healthcare workers has permeated all facets of Somali society, the
international president of Doctors Without Borders said.
The international healthcare organization said Friday it was closing
its offices in Somalia. Organization President Unni Karunakara said in
an article published Tuesday in The Standard newspaper in Kenya it was a
tough decision to make.
"Large parts of the Somali population live with undernourishment,
disease and injury," he said. "They have little chance of finding
quality healthcare when they need it."
Karunakara said 16 members of the Somali staff have been killed since
2007. A Somali national charged with the murder of two aid workers last
year was freed after serving three months of a 30-year jail sentence.
Somalia made gains last year when it formed its first functioning
central government since the 1990s. The government struggles to exert
its influence beyond Mogadishu but Karunakara said the security risks in
Somalia were too great to tolerate.
"What dashed our last bit of hope of working in the country was that
the very parties with whom we had been negotiating minimum levels of
security tolerated and accepted attacks against humanitarian workers,"