Political Promise

Justice for Somalia’s Oppressed Minority

In Charlie Edwards on October 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Charlie Edwards writes about the torture of Somali minorities in Human Rights atrocities in Somaliland.

In a protest outside Downing Street, a hundred Somali protesters gathered on Whitehall. When I enquired what they were doing, a girl no older than me told me with the straightest of faces that her cousin had been raped and killed by the criminal regime in charge in Somalia.

The slogan on the hastily-produced leaflet I was handed read: ‘Over 100 years of slavery’. In the 21st century, with a global liberal world we live in where basic human rights are extended around the globe, it is chilling to think that the torture of these people has been ignored by governments and media alike.

Described by a recent Guardian article as “the capital of internally displaced people”, the small strip of Somaliland where these native tribes have been persecuted is one of infamy. “It is an area the world has hardly heard about. Journalists don’t go to the corridor. International aid agencies can barely reach it.” It is worth mentioning that this article argued economic forces were the cause of a swelling of the urban population, which hides the true reason: the pillaging and destruction of the villages of the minority tribes.

The leader of the group, (who I refuse to name: you never know who might be reading this small-time politics blog) answered a few questions for Political Promise about his protest. It was the Gabooye People of Somaliland who feel this torture and ethnic cleansing on a daily basis, funded by aid given to Somalia by the UK.

What are you doing here?

“It is a demonstration to raise awareness for the continual suffering of Somaliland, and the minority tribes in Somalia. There is continued rape, kidnap, murder and all sorts of torture.
To be quite frank, this is getting out of hand. The last straw was two women who were kidnapped and raped by members of the Military. They have suffered serious injuries, and the government keeps on covering up this issue. The government is run by one family, if you are a Jew, if you are from a minority, they run you over. And this is what we are trying to highlight today. We are asking the British government to stand up and say, this is wrong. Parliament has a role in protecting the world’s citizens.”

So this is the first time you have campaigned, have you had any success?

“We have had a lot of success, the response has been good. A number of MPs came down and other representatives of Government. We have also handed in a thousand-page petition, trying to raise awareness and get these criminals brought to justice. This is a tribal issue, they do not allow inter-marriage, we are not allowed to eat with these people, completely isolated from society with no representation in government at all.
Right now as I am talking to you, there have been three men who have been kidnapped, arrested by the police for speaking out.”

Do you visit the country regularly?

“The situation is so tense at the moment, that people like me trying to raise awareness of this issue would not be safe. No, and I wouldn’t plan on going.”

What can the British government do?

“The main donor of aid to the regime is the UK. Somalia are trying hard to become a developed country, a democracy, recognised internationally. Turkey, for example, have been trying to enter the EU for years, yet have not been able to because of human rights abuses of the past. If Somalia wants international recognition as an independent country, it should also treat it’s people with human rights.

At present, the President’s uncle is the foreign officer, a cousin is the Security minister, an uncle who is deputy President and it’s a family that takes care of each other. So there is little chance to get any justice on our own in Somaliland.”

Foreign aid is abetting the criminal activity in this country. Development is not achieved, only tyranny. These people need our support.

Their website -www.gabooye.org has been removed, but the Gabooye Minority Organisation is strong and determined. Let’s hope our government can intervene. For a start, they can stop funding these criminals in the form of direct aid: which is spent on oppressing rather than developing the regional economy and alleviating poverty.

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