(New York, April 25, 2008) – Relentless violence in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, is worsening the humanitarian and human rights crisis faced by hundreds of thousands of Somali civilians, Human Rights Watch said today.
The latest clashes pitting a coalition of insurgent forces against Ethiopian and Somali government troops resulted in scores of civilian deaths on April 19 and 20, 2008, according to Somali human rights groups, including at least 11 civilians reported killed in fighting at Mogadishu’s Al Hidaya mosque. The United Nations Security Council is discussing a new resolution on Somalia and will vote on it next week.
“The latest round of violence in Mogadishu shows that just when you think it can’t get worse for Somali civilians, it does,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The UN Security Council should act decisively to end abuses. It ought to establish an international commission of inquiry into the recent crimes and consider targeted sanctions on the worst abusers.”
The conflict in Somalia has escalated since early 2007, when Ethiopian troops intervened in support of the Somali Transitional Federal Government and ousted the Islamic Courts Movement from Mogadishu. Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured and up to 700,000 have been forced to flee indiscriminate attacks, targeted killings, destruction of property and other abuses documented by Human Rights Watch.
For more of Human Rights Watch’s reporting on Somalia, please visit:
· March 31, 2008 statement to the UN Security Council, at:
· August 2007 report, “Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu,” at:
For more information, please contact:
In New York, Georgette Gagnon (English): +1-416-893-2709 (mobile)
In Washington, DC, Leslie Lefkow (English): +1-240-486-7259 (mobile)
In London, Tom Porteous (English): +44-79-8398-4982 (mobile)
In New York, Steve Crawshaw (English, French, German, Russian): +1-646-596-3348 (mobile)