Aid workers and rights defenders under attack in Somalia

Stories from Somalia seem to be the hot topic for Amnesty this week.

We began the week by flagging up the tragic story of the 13-year-old girl who was stoned to death, and today’s blog once again throws the escalating crisis in Somalia into the spotlight.

Amnesty released a new report today focusing on the increasing number of attacks on aid workers and human rights defenders across southern and central Somalia.

The report highlights how at least 40 humanitarian or human rights workers have lost their lives this year alone, and dozens of others have received threats for carrying out their duties. Just yesterday BBC News Online reported how four aid workers had been kidnapped.

The threat of attack, abduction or death is a very real threat for these activists and the consequences for the country are devastating. Many aid agencies have been forced to suspend their programmes and withdraw staff.

The consequences of withdrawal of aid workers and silencing rights activists are far-reaching and is particularly concerning for a country already embroiled in an intensifying conflict and where more than three million Somalis are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

As Amnesty points out in its report today, the international community has to take concerted action to address the crisis in Somalia and to ensure the protection of civilians and human rights and humanitarian workers alike.

Keep an eye out on the Telegraph's blog for what Amnesty’s UK Director, Kate Allen has to say about this – should be up shortly

And while we’re on the subject of Somalia, this month’s edition of Glamour magazine has an interesting feature story about a Somalian supermodel called Ubah Hassan, who talks of her experiences of living in Somalia before having to flee the conflict and became a refugee in Kenya and then Canada. Fascinating story.

Well, if this week’s stories about Somalia have captured your attention and you’d like to know more, feel free to come along to the Human Rights Action Centre next Tuesday to hear from a women’s rights activist visiting from Somalia. Details can be found here.

That’s all from me today.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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