Visiting UN official calls for respect of human rights during military operations

Kismaayo, 12 February 2017 - The visiting United Nations Assistant Secretary General (ASG) for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, urged the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Federal Government of Somalia to uphold the observance of human rights by its forces during upcoming joint military operations against the militant group Al-Shabaab.

Mr. Gilmour made the comments during a visit to the Jubbaland capital of Kismaayo and was accompanied by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Francisco Caetano Madeira, and the Director of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia, Amadu Kamara.

“We discussed efforts being made by Somali authorities to bring back security and the importance of it being done in compliance with human rights standards, and also the paramount importance of doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties,” Mr. Gilmour said after a closed-door meeting with Jubbaland State President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe.

The ASG thanked President Madobe for allowing the UN to open a human rights office in Jubbaland State.

President Madobe expressed his gratitude to Mr. Gilmour for visiting Jubbaland and described his talks with the visiting delegation as fair, frank and honest.

“We discussed a lot of issues focusing on human rights, military operations by AMISOM, the resumption of Operation Jubba Corridor and also issues of social development. There was consensus on all the issues we discussed,” said President Madobe.

The SRSG for his part voiced the hope that the election of Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will galvanize efforts to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the country such as security, the continuing drought crisis and the need to strengthen the capacity of state institutions.

“We have also been talking about the partnership between the UN, African Union and the Jubbaland authorities as well as some of the things that we can try and achieve together in the coming months with the new President in Mogadishu. We also looked at how we can work together to contain the threat posed by Al-Shabaab here in Jubbaland,” Mr. Keating observed.

SRCC Madeira echoed Mr. Keating’s sentiments, stating that the meeting had identified critical areas that need immediate attention with a special focus on security.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done in this country and in Jubbaland, but we have identified security as the number one priority. Second is the need for state institutions to have the capacity to respond to the will and aspirations of the people. Thirdly, we have to ensure swift response to emergencies, and one of the current emergencies is the ongoing drought which is threatening to turn into a famine situation,” said Mr. Madeira.

During his election campaign President Farmajo promised to work with all stakeholders to improve the country’s security and consolidate peace and stability.