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United States Intervention at the 11th Session of the UPR Working Group – Somalia
May 4, 2011

The United States warmly welcomes Her Excellency Ms. Zahra Monahed Alis Samantar and the Somali delegation to the UPR Working Group. We greatly appreciate the efforts the government has made to complete its National Report and to participate in today’s session under what we recognize are extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

We share the concerns raised regarding continued reports of human rights abuses in Somalia. We note with extreme concern, the significant number of civilian casualties caused by the ongoing hostilities, as well the increased recruitment, training, and use of children in armed conflict by all parties to the conflict. Reports of summary executions, forcible marriages of young girls to al-Shabaab terrorists, abuse and discrimination based on religious belief and practice, and the use of human shields are also deeply troubling. We remain concerned by unlawful killings as part of the ongoing conflict in Somalia. We commend the (TFG) for its efforts to establish a commission focused on ending child soldier recruitment in Somalia and request a status update on those efforts. We remain very concerned about the prevalence of child labor in Somalia.

We condemn the actions of al-Shabaab against civilians, including their practices of extra-judicial killings and amputations, recruitment of child soldiers and forcible conscription, and restrictions on press and assembly.

The United States makes the following recommendations:

That the TFG expand its outreach and political reconciliation efforts as broadly as possible, as part of comprehensive efforts to stabilize Somalia.

That the TFG reverse its position favoring a three-year extension for the Transitional Federal Parliament and instead adopt a one-year extension coupled with governmental reforms and benchmarks, including the completion of a national constitution within one year, and elections for the President and Speaker of Parliament this summer.

That the TGF cease the use of children as combatants.

That the TFG address the prevalence of exploitative child labor by enforcing its labor laws.

Finally, we commend the TFG for efforts to broaden media expression in Somalia amid al-Shabaab’s efforts to repress the media, but recommend that the TFG uphold freedom of expression in all cases.

Again, we sincerely thank the Somali delegation for its participation today and look forward to its continued and committed engagement with this Council. We look forward to our continued cooperation with Ambassador Bari Bari in this regard.