TITLE=U-N SOMALIA (L-O)
INTRO: A U-N human rights expert says there is
growing stability in Somalia. Lisa Schlein in Geneva
reports the U-N expert recently returned from an 11-
day fact-finding trip to Somalia.
TEXT: The U-N expert, Mona Rishmawi, says the
northeastern and northwestern parts of Somalia are
quite stable. The areas, Somaliland and Puntland,
comprise about half of the country.
Ms. Rishmawi says the two areas are not without
problems. But, she says local governments, in
general, are functioning well.
But the situation in southern Somalia remains
turbulent. Ms. Rishmawi says fighting and human
rights abuses are a daily staple of life in the
capital, Mogadishu, and outlying areas.
But, even there, she says positive changes are
occurring. She says a number of Somali clan leaders
have suffered defeat. Although their factions are
still fighting, she says their leadership has been
weakened and many of the leaders now live outside
/// RISHMAWI ACT ONE ///
I am very cautious about this. But, there are
reasons to be optimistic. Why I am cautious --
because still there is no central government.
The capital itself, Mogadishu, is still
extremely dangerous. A lot of the areas in the
south also -- there is a lot of fighting there
and so on. But, there are areas which are
/// END ACT ///
Ms. Rishmawi says the business community in southern
Somalia is becoming a positive force for change. She
says business people are demanding more security and
are beginning to get it. Also, she says many areas
have set up Islamic courts that are successfully
enforcing law and order.
The U-N expert says another encouraging sign is a
peace initiative by the president of Djibouti. She
says the initiative appears to be gaining momentum.
She says it has attracted a lot of support because it
excludes the clan leaders as intermediaries.
/// RISHMAWI ACT TWO ///
One has to be very cautious with regard to peace
initiatives in Somalia because, as we know,
Somalia has been fighting since 1991 and there
are so many peace plans and we do not know. It
seems that this one has a different tone and it
might work out.
/// END ACT ///
The Djibouti peace initiative emphasizes the role of
civil society, institutions, and traditional leaders.
It also makes the clan leaders accountable for crimes
against humanity and recommends they be prosecuted in
an international tribunal. (SIGNED)
02-Dec-1999 10:18 AM EDT (02-Dec-1999 1518 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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