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HRC: Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somalia
March 25, 2010


Human Rights Council, Geneva in Session, March 2010

Human Rights Council 13th Session, Geneva

Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with independent Expert on Human Rights
in Somalia Mr  Shamsul Bari

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Mark J. Cassayre

March 24, 2010

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States thanks Mr. Shamsul Bari, for his detailed and informative report and for his efforts to promote and defend human rights. We also thank the Somali Ambassador for his active engagement on this issue and his government’s support for the Independent Expert, a welcome example of positive cooperation with special procedures mandate holders.

Mr. Bari, your report cites the tremendous problems that Somalia faces, including a dire security situation, an ongoing humanitarian crisis, and severe challenges to human rights, particularly to women and children. We highlight these serious concerns and the Independent Expert’s decreasing optimism about the situation and stress the need for international support for Somalia. We were particularly troubled by extensive reports of Al-Shabaab’s summary executions and mutilations, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas by all parties to the conflict, pervasive gender-based violence, the conscription of children into the armed conflict, and blocked humanitarian assistance.

We note the report’s suggestion that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights establish a full-fledged presence in Somalia and ask if the Independent Expert can elaborate further on the steps that OHCHR can take to assist the country.

One of the tragedies of the ongoing conflict in Somalia has been the depletion of human capital in the country.

Can you elaborate on what can be done to address this issue so that when Somalia does return to normalcy, it will have the human capital required to rebuild its institutions?

In your report you also indicate that while you were able to visit Somaliland and Puntland, the security situation prevented you from visiting southern Somalia and Mogadishu. The UN and international community need access to those areas in order to assess humanitarian needs, to determine work options for the UN and international aid agencies in those areas, and to address human rights issues. As your report notes, focus on the security situation in Mogadishu and the south and central parts of Somalia may overshadow areas where human rights initiatives could be successfully implemented.

Given the serious security concerns throughout the country, can you identify or provide suggestions for parts of the country where justice and human rights initiatives might expand and how the Council may be helpful in the area of technical assistance?

Also, we would like to ask the Independent Expert to elaborate on what the goals and outcomes of holding a Special Session would be as well as what are the recommendations for additional steps that the Human Rights Council should take on Somalia?

On behalf of the United States, we thank the Independent Expert for the important work that he is undertaking.

Thank you, Mr. President.