Somalia

SACB statement on the humanitarian situation in the southern regions of Somalia

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An upsurge in violent attacks and continued militia and factional rivalries, as well as increased militarization, are seriously impairing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in increasingly desperate need throughout many areas of southern Somalia. The prospect of escalating conflict amongst contending militia forces in some of those regions could lead to even greater suffering amongst civilian populations, and compound the considerable difficulties humanitarian workers already must face.
The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), comprising the UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and donors, is extremely concerned about an increasing number of attacks upon humanitarian workers and convoys carrying relief assistance. These attacks have already prevented considerable assistance from arriving to needy villages, as the normally used corridors for delivery are being shut down.

The SACB is compelled to note that those who claim to hold authority in these regions have an obligation under International Humanitarian Law to ensure that humanitarian organisations are given full and unencumbered access to populations in need of life-saving assistance. At the same time these authorities are also obliged to ensure the security of humanitarian workers as well as humanitarian supplies.

The international community will continue to do all that it can to provide humanitarian assistance. To do so, however, all local authorities must make every effort to cooperate fully with relief organisations and workers, whose only interest and concern are the well-being of innocent civilians in Somalia.

In the final analysis, the SACB assumes that local authorities, businesses and others who play an active role in the affairs of Somalia's southern regions will recognise their moral and legal responsibilities to those whose lives depend so desperately upon timely and appropriate humanitarian aid.

Somalia Aid Coordination Body Executive Committee

PO Box 61950 Nairobi
Tel: 254-2- 441225
Fax: 254-2- 448123
E-mail:sacb@undos.org