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Somali crisis: Amnesty criticises evictions in Mogadishu

Amnesty says it has seen evidence of camps being destroyed

Friday, September 13, 2013

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Amnesty International has denounced the forcible eviction of tens of thousands of homeless people from makeshift camps in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The human rights group says the process has led to "large-scale human rights abuses" including the killing of two people during protests.

Some 370,000 people have been living in the camps, having fled drought, famine and fighting.

But their presence is hampering the government's drive to rebuild the city.

In the past year the authorities have gained greater control of Mogadishu from the Islamist group al-Shabab.

The government announced in January a plan to relocate hundreds of thousands of displaced people to camps on the outskirts of the city.

The Amnesty report says the "relocation plan could have been a positive development" if it had respected "the security, fundamental rights and basic needs" of displaced people.

However, Amnesty added, the government plan proved to be "inherently flawed" and "seems to have resulted in large-scale human rights abuses and forced evictions".

Shelters flattened

The report says an eight-year old child and a mother of nine children were killed and several other residents were injured on 14 August when security forces opened fire on residents protesting against the eviction of a large settlement.

Some residents told Amnesty bulldozers had flattened their shelters, destroying their possessions and leaving them with nowhere to go.

When Amnesty delegates visited the area on 21 August they said they had seen evidence of a large number of shelters having been recently destroyed.

The Somali authorities have not yet responded to the Amnesty report.

In March, Human Right Watch said displaced women in Mogadishu were reporting being gang-raped in the camps.

The group said managers of the camps - often allied to militias - were siphoning off food and other aid.


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