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UN human rights expert welcomes Somali accord

20 August 2008 – The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights in Somalia has welcomed Monday’s signing of a peace agreement between the country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and an opposition group, calling it “a hopeful sign” in the war-torn nation.

“The Djibouti agreement offers hope,” Shamsul Bari said in a statement issued by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “Now both sides have to seriously commit to it so that civilians can be protected and lasting peace can start to take root.”

But Dr. Bari added that he remained deeply concerned by the continued escalation of violence and the deterioration of human rights in Somalia, evidenced by last week’s killing of innocent civilians on two buses between Afgooye and Mogadishu. Each party to the conflict has blamed the other for the attack.

Dr. Bari appealed for calm and the immediate implementation of the ceasefire agreement, and urged all parties to the conflict to abide by the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights. He encouraged the Joint Security Committee and the High Level Committee – both established by the Djibouti agreement – to address these violations, the culture of impunity and national reconciliation.

Under Monday’s agreement between the TFG and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, both sides committed to ending all armed confrontation between them and to cease making inflammatory statements. The agreement was brokered by Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991.


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