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HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN OVER HOSTILITIES IN MOGADISHU

30 March 2007


The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar, issued the following statement today:

"Fierce fighting has once again erupted in the city of Mogadishu and I am deeply concerned about the civilian population.

In the past two days, severe hostilities have taken place between Ethiopian and Somali forces and insurgent groups in the southern part of the city.

It is reported that possibly dozens of civilians have been killed, and that more than 200 have been injured. While thousands are stranded because of the fighting, over 12,000 people have fled the city in the past days adding to the 400,000 internally displaced persons inside Somalia. Protection of the most vulnerable civilians is of utmost importance as disabled persons, women and children are among the dead and injured.
There are other reports of inhumane and degrading treatment having taken place during this fighting.

I strongly urge parties to cease hostilities immediately and I remind all concerned that the laws of war must be respected by all sides at all times.
I reiterate to all parties the need to fully respect humanitarian law during conflict and of the duty to protect the human rights of civilians at all times