SOMALIA: Stop supplying Somalia with arms: Amnesty

Published: January 21, 2010

International donors should end weapons and other military supplies to Somalia’s embattled government as lack of safeguards risks worsening the violence and human suffering, Amnesty International said.
The London-based rights group voiced concern that war-wracked Somalia’s government was receiving weapons while “issues of vetting, accountability, arms management and respect for human rights by Somalia’s police and armed forces remain largely unresolved,” according to its report.
“Without adequate safeguards, arms transfers may threaten the human rights and worsen the humanitarian situation of Somali civilians,” said the report: “Somalia: International Military and Policing Should be Reviewed.”
The watchdog said until safeguards are in place “the international community should end all supplies of weapons, military and security equipment and financial assistance” to the transitional federal government.
It also called for the proper enforcement of a 1992 arms embargo on the Horn of Africa state.
Despite international backing, the Somali government has largely remained ineffective in the face of relentless attacks by Islamist rebels who have pared its control of the capital Mogadishu to just a few streets.
It also has no control of large swathes of the country, much of which is in the hands of the radical Islamist Shebab fighters, who together with the more political Hezb al-Islam militants have vowed to topple it.
Alliance-shifting fighters also pose the risk of arms ending up in the hands of the extremists, exacerbating Somalia’s conflict which erupted in 1991 with the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre.
“Unless effectively regulated and monitored, such material assistance could be used in committing serious violations of international humanitarian law,” warned the rights group.

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