Monday June 24, 2019
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Special Representative Of The United States Asked To Leave Somalia

No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations

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Then the top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Feb. 18, 2015. VOA

Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, has been asked by the Somalia government to leave the country.

“The decision came after the highest U.N. diplomat in Somalia violated the agency’s standards and the international diplomatic norms by intervening the national sovereignty of Somalia,” according to the statement published by the government-controlled media.

The statement gave no further details.

Human rights a concern

On Monday, the U.N. ambassador urged the Somali government to safeguard human rights.

hunger, health care, somalia
IOM delivers emergency and essential health services to Bulla Gaduud and Gobweyn, areas recently liberated by the government in Lower Juba region of south-eastern Somalia. VOA

In a letter, Haysom urged Somali authorities to “exercise its authority in conformance with the law and provide explanation about the atrocities committed in Baidoa last month and the detention of Mukhtar Robow.”

Robow, a former al-Shabab leader, was arrest by the Somali government security forces last month. He also was excluded from elections in the South West Region of Somalia.

During his arrest, and the protests that followed, allegations came up that U.N.-supported regional police forces were involved in violence that left 15 civilians dead.

Analysts believe Haysom’s earlier letter and the subsequent Somali government decision to expel him shows the relationship between the two sides has been unstable.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Haysom as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in September 2018.

hunger, health care, somalia
Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

UN compound attack

On Tuesday, just hours before the Somali government’s letter of expulsion was released to the media, two U.N. staff members and a contractor were injured after seven mortars landed inside the U.N. compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The staffers’ nationalities were not immediately available, but the officials at the compound said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Also Read: Video: Withdrawal of US Troops From Syria May Move Slower Than Expected

“Today’s indirect fire attack on the main U.N. compound in Mogadishu may amount to a violation of international humanitarian law, and I deplore this unwarranted act of aggression against our personnel,” Haysom said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

In a statement posted on a pro-al-Shabab website, the militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations who are supporting the consolidation of peace and the strengthening of governing institutions in Somalia,” Haysom added. (VOA)

Next Story

UN: 5.4 Million Face Food Shortage in Somalia Due to Climate-Related Droughts

This latest disaster comes just as Somalis were beginning to recover from the devastating impact of a two-year drought that ended in 2017

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global hunger
Somalis fleeing hunger in their drought-stricken nation walk along the main road leading from the Somalian border to the refugee camps around Dadaab, Kenya. VOA

The United Nations Refugee Agency warns an estimated 5.4 million people affected by worsening drought in Somalia will likely face severe food shortages by next month without immediate lifesaving assistance.

The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that climate-related droughts are occurring with greater frequency in Somalia. This, it says, is making things worse for the millions of people already displaced and deprived of essential necessities by the country’s chronic instability and conflict.

This latest disaster comes just as Somalis were beginning to recover from the devastating impact of a two-year drought that ended in 2017.

somalia, food shortage, drought
FILE – A Somali family who lost most of their livestock because of severe drought pose for a picture in Wajaale, Somalia, June 2017. (UNHCR/Mustafa Saeed) VOA

That event forced more than a million people to flee their homes in search of food, water and work. The UNHCR reports the current drought has displaced nearly 50,000 people so far this year.

Agency spokesman Babar Baloch says food shortages already are biting. He warns time is running out to help those affected, as the impact of the worsening drought is likely to peak by next month. He said the condition of some 2.2 million people is particularly severe, and they likely will need urgent emergency assistance.

“The risk of death and the dangers that the displaced population or the affected population are facing are real,” he told VOA. “If aid is not provided in time, people could start losing their lives. Let us not forget that in the past years that with efforts of the international community, local authorities and everyone else, famine has been avoided.”

somalia, drought, food shortage
Women who fled drought queue to receive food distributed by local volunteers at a camp for displaced persons in the Daynile neighborhood on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in Somalia, May 18, 2019. VOA

But not every year. In 2011, drought and famine in Somalia killed more than one-quarter of a million people, half of them children under age five.

U.N. agencies agree many lessons have been learned from that tragedy. Baloch says many of the support mechanisms that since have been successfully used to combat such disasters could be quickly reactivated to deal with this crisis.

ALSO READ: Somalia Drought: 2 Million at Risk of Starvation

But he says this can only be done if the money needed to contend with this humanitarian emergency is forthcoming.

Unfortunately, he says the Somali operation remains severely underfunded. He says only 20% of the U.N.’s $710 million appeal for Somali drought relief has been received. (VOA)