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Human rights expert welcomes Somali agreement, calls for respect of law



20 August 2008

Geneva--- The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, today welcomed the signing of the Djibouti Agreement on 19 August 2008 in Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia. He noted that a joint communiqué in which both sides condemned the ongoing violence against innocent civilians, including targeted attacks, indiscriminate shelling, looting, rape and acts of piracy, was a hopeful sign.

The Independent Expert however said he remains deeply concerned by the continued escalation of violence and the deterioration of human rights in the country, evidenced by last week’s killing of innocent civilians on board of two buses on the road between Afgooye and Mogadishu, for which both sides to the conflict accuse each other.

“The Djibouti agreement offers hope. Now both sides have to seriously commit to it so that civilians can be protected and lasting peace can start to take root”, Bari said.

Dr. Bari, who visited Somalia in July, appeals for calm and the immediate implementation of the cease-fire agreed upon in Djibouti. He urged all parties to the conflict to abide by the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights, as well as to their commitments under the Djibouti Agreement. He also encouraged the Joint Security Committee and the High Level Committee established by the Djibouti agreement to address these violations, the culture of impunity and national reconciliation.

The Independent Expert conveyed his sympathy to the families of the victims and those who have been wounded.

For more information on the mandate of the Independent Expert, please go to http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SOIndex.aspx