Target: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia
Goal: Halt evictions in Somali capital
Somalia, a country devastated by two decades of civil war, seems to finally be finding hope. The country has a new government under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and is planning reforms including a new constitution and 2016 elections. International negotiators have proposed a “New Deal” to finance Somalia’s reconstruction. However, this optimism for the future does not extend to the 370,000 refugees who are huddled into makeshift tent settlements in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu. In the name of rebuilding, they are being displaced by the thousands.
Amnesty International has charged that not only is the relocation of refugees being done haphazardly and without any regard to their best interests, it is also encouraging “large scale human rights abuses.” These include razing shelter homes with little warning and relocating people to insecure areas. The organization noted “preparation work at the chosen relocation site, Daynille, north of the city is on hold because of security concerns, yet forced evictions have continued and gathered pace in recent months despite the failure to find an alternative safe location.” In one shocking incident in August, an eight-year-old child and a woman were killed when state security forces opened fire on a protest by settlers.
With the continued presence of militant rebel group al-Shabab in many areas, much of the refugee population has no home to go back to. Moreover, Amnesty explained, security is weak within the camps themselves and the Afgooye corridor where many of the evictees are resettling is considered unsafe.
The Somali government should not be displacing thousands of refugees without any concern for their rights or lives. By throwing out thousands of people with no plans to help them resettle, they are condemning them to continued poverty and potential death at the hands of militants. By signing this petition, you will demand Somalia halt forced evictions in Mogadishu.
Dear President Mohamud,
I am writing to you out of concern for the thousands of refugees currently being evicted in Mogadishu. About 370,000 people currently live in camps inside the city, the result of famine and a two-decades-long civil war. Though your government states it wishes to relocate them to rebuild the city, it is doing so in a way that disregards their safety and basic human rights.
Amnesty International has noted that currently no relocation site exists and that many are being forced to resettle in the Afgooye corridor where al-Shabab militants are active. Moreover, shelter camps have been razed with little warning. In one shocking August clash, a woman and eight-year-old were killed by security forces during a protest against eviction.
While Somalia wishes to rebuild from years of war, it should not be doing so in a way that jeopardizes the welfare of thousands of victims of that conflict. I ask you to halt evictions in Mogadishu until a plan is created to ensure safe relocation and rehabilitation for the city’s refugees.
[Your Name Here]
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