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SOMALI REPUBLIC: Satellite imagery reveals devastation amid forced evictions of thousands who fled conflict and drought

31 Jan 2018
[International Secretariat]
Region: SOMALI REPUBLIC
Topic: Forced Eviction

New satellite imagery analysis by Amnesty International gives the first comprehensive view of how thousands of structures, including several schools, were turned to rubble in sudden forced evictions in two days that left more than 4,000 families homeless on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in late December.

No warning was given before armed men accompanied bulldozers to raze the sites on 29 and 30 December 2017, according to UNICEF and Save the Children. UN agencies have said the forced evictions left more than 24,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) homeless, including 3,000 children.

Many of the thousands of people affected had only recently sought protection in Mogadishu after fleeing insecurity, drought and impending famine elsewhere in Somalia.”

Forced evictions are a longstanding concern across Somalia – according to figures cited by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), since 2015 an average of 155,000 people have been evicted every year. Such evictions routinely take place without prior notice or consultation and make no provision for alternative accommodation for victims.

On 17 January, Gamal Hassan, Somalia’s minister for planning, investment and economic development, stated there would be an investigation into the recent forced evictions.

It’s encouraging to hear the Somali authorities express concern and promise an investigation, but much more clearly needs to be done to end the recurring nightmare that forced evictions pose for internally displaced people in Somalia.

Amnesty International is calling on the Somali government to halt all evictions until necessary safeguards are in place, in line with its obligations under the Kampala Convention, as well as other international and regional human rights treaties it has ratified. Victims of previous forced evictions must receive effective redress for the human rights violations they have suffered, including adequate compensation and alternative accommodation.

Blighted by conflict and drought

In the midst of conflicts for decades, the humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate. The country is currently experiencing a devastating drought and there is a persistent threat of famine.

This combination of factors has led to a huge internal displacement crisis. As of January 2018, there were 2.1 million IDPs in Somalia, many of whom have crowded into urban areas, placing a huge strain on resources. The lack of clean water in Somalia has also triggered a cholera outbreak which killed at least 1,155 people between January and July 2017.

19 January 2018
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

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