23 April 2008
The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar, issued the following statement today:
GENEVA-- The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Ghanim Alnajjar, today raised his deep concern about the continued escalation of violence and the deterioration of human rights in Somalia, following a renewed flare-up of intense violence between the troops of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) backed by the Ethiopian Army and the anti-government insurgent forces. The use of heavy weaponry into areas where civilians are concentrated left reportedly 81 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded. The Independent Expert especially condemned the alleged deliberate killing of numerous of clerics belonging to “Altabligh Group” at the “Alhidaya Compound/Mosque”.
The Independent Expert appealed for calm and an immediate cease fire and urged the TFG and the international community to protect Somali civilians and preserve humanitarian access at all time, reminding all the parties to abide by the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law. He also conveyed his sympathy to the families of the victims and those who have been wounded.
The Independent Expert reiterated that the killings have to be investigated expediously and impartially, and any lasting peace in Somalia must be based on justice, truth and accountability.