Somalia:UN, Intel partners urged to seek justice for victims in Somalia

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STR/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9930580b) People carry a wounded man after a suspected suicide bombing in Baidoa, some 250km northwest of the capital Mogadishu, southern Somalia, 13 October 2018. Media reports say the explosions were caused by two suicide bombers, killing unknown number of people. Casualties reported in twin blasts in southern Somalia, Baidoa - 13 Oct 2018

Somalia-based rights group is calling on the International Community to help bring justice to victims of 13-15 December 2018 in Baidoa town, some 250km south west of the capital of Mogadishu.

Baidoa, is a town where Somali Police Force killed at least 15 unarmed civilians during a protest against the arrest of former Al Shabaab No.2 Mukhtar Robow, who was running for the region’s presidential election.

A Justice for South West State Protest Victims, an advocacy volunteer group has written a letter to International Community to express their concerns about a letter from the office of South West State Administration on Jan 5, 2019 appointing fact finding commission.

The group says it was a vital to bring justice for those who were killed, injured and unlawfully detained on the events in question on 13-15 December, 2018 to help nurture and develop a culture of respect for human rights in South West State.

“We urge you to take decisive measures on these said events of 13-15 December 2018 where at the hands of government forces 15 lives where abruptly cut too short, many injured and others detained unlawfully.The government forces in questions are the Somali Police Force and South West State Police in Baidoa supported by international donor money”,  said in a statement seen by Mareeg Online.

The rights group added that the letter from the office of South west Administration on Jan 5, 2019, was another form of abuse against Baidoa victims and their families.

“It is abhorring that the letter appoints fact finding committee in which the committee members are the actual perpetrators of the brutal actions in question”, the group said.

It says the fact finding committee falls short and speaks volumes of structural accounts of how power or domination is typically established (in terms of possession or exclusion). To put it bluntly, this letter from the South West Administration is telling of the social injustices to come for the people in Baidoa.

Once again, it is counterproductive to appoint the perpetrators as fact finding committee.

“We know that the right to life is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia and binding international human rights law such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Somalia is a State Party. The duty of states to protect that right to life includes the obligation to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into the killing of civilians during the protests in Baidoa between December 13- 15, 2018”, the group said.

The Justice for Southwest Protest Victims called on international community to hold the Federal Government of Somalia for using donor supported police forces to brutalize, detain and kill innocent citizens in Baidoa town.

The group has urgently requested the establishment of a commission of inquiry tasked with a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal killings, arbitrary detentions and other human rights abuses during the protests in Baidoa in accordance with the United Nations Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (“UN Principles”) and the UN’s Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016) (“the Minnesota Protocol”).