Annual Report: Somalia 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Somalia 2011

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Head of state of Transitional Federal Government: Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Head of government of Transitional Federal Government: Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo (replaced Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke in November)
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 9.4 million
Life expectancy: 50.4 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 186/174 per 1,000

Armed conflict between armed Islamist groups and pro-government forces continued in southern and central Somalia. Thousands of civilians were killed or injured as a result of indiscriminate attacks and generalized violence, and at least 300,000 were displaced during the year. Access by aid agencies to civilians and the displaced was further restricted by armed groups and insecurity. Humanitarian workers, journalists and human rights activists remained at risk of killings and abductions. Armed groups controlled most of southern and central Somalia and they increasingly carried out unlawful killings, torture and forced recruitment. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) controlled only part of the capital Mogadishu and there was no effective justice system. Serious human rights abuses, including war crimes, remained unpunished. In semi-autonomous Puntland, there were clashes with an armed group. In Somaliland, a new government was appointed following presidential elections.

Background

The TFG struggled to extend control over Mogadishu, faced with persistent attacks by the armed Islamist groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, and internal divisions. On 15 March, the TFG signed a framework agreement with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ), a Sufi armed group, formalizing a military alliance and recognizing the group's control of parts of central Somalia. However, an ASWJ faction later denounced the TFG's failure to implement the agreement. In May, tensions surfaced between the TFG President and the Prime Minister, who resigned in September. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo became the new TFG Prime Minister on 1 November. Consultations over a draft constitution started in July.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for suicide attacks, including at the Muna hotel in Mogadishu in August, which killed 33 people. The armed group also claimed responsibility for bombings in Kampala, Uganda in July (see Uganda entry), saying they were in revenge for civilian casualties caused by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

AMISOM, mandated to protect TFG institutions, increased its troops, composed of Ugandan and Burundian soldiers, to 8,000, partly in response to the Kampala bombings. AMISOM denied accusations that they responded to armed groups' attacks in Mogadishu with indiscriminate shelling and shooting, resulting in civilian deaths. However, AMISOM apologized for the killing of two civilians on 23 November in Mogadishu, saying it had opened an investigation and had arrested soldiers involved in the incident. On 22 December, the UN Security Council extended AMISOM's authorized troop strength from 8,000 to 12,000.

International support for TFG security forces continued, despite concerns about their lack of accountability. In May, the EU started training 1,000 TFG soldiers in Uganda. The UN Monitoring Group highlighted continuous violations of the arms embargo on Somalia. In April, the UN Security Council imposed a travel ban, an assets freeze and a targeted arms embargo against nine individuals and entities in relation to Somalia.

In August, the new UN Special Representative for Somalia announced that the UN presence in Somalia would increase. The human rights situation was raised in reports by the UN Secretary-General, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and in a special session on Somalia at the UN Human Rights Council in September. However, despite continuing calls for an end to impunity for crimes under international law, no mechanism to investigate such crimes was established by the end of the year.

The international community co-ordinated further military responses and explored legal options to address piracy off Somalia's coast, as hijacking of ships and kidnapping of maritime crews expanded in the Indian Ocean. The Puntland government reportedly approved an anti-terrorism law in July.