In Somalia, the civilian population continues to suffer the consequences of Somalia’s long-running conflict, despite the fact that the government of Somalia has made strides toward improving governance. The U.S. State Department’s 2016 Human Rights Report on Somalia underscores the need for the government of Somalia to do more to ensure that its citizens live a dignified life.
Federal and regional security forces, often acting independently, continued to arbitrarily detain and recruit children. Large-scale forced evictions of internally displaced persons, including by government forces, continued in 2016. The government of Somalia must focus on human rights training of its security forces, respect for internally-displaced persons and accountability for those government officials who abuse their power.
The worst violations of human rights were committed by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. The group perpetrated targeted killings, beheadings, and executions. Within the territory it controls, it administered arbitrary justice, forcibly recruited children, and severely restricted basic rights.
In 2016, Al-Shabaab targeted civilians and civilian structures, resulting in numerous casualties.
Al-Shabaab has conducted attacks on employees of nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations, and diplomatic missions. It also blocked humanitarian assistance, conscripted child soldiers, and restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and movement.
Al-Shabaab has banned independent media from reporting in areas under its control, and threatens and targets journalists in government-controlled areas.
There were also reports that AMISOM troops also committed sexual abuse and exploitation, including rape of women and girls.
As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote in the introduction to this year’s Human Rights Report, “Standing up for human rights and democracy is not just a moral imperative but is in the best interests of the United States in making the world more stable and secure. The 2016 Human Rights Reports demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to advancing liberty, human dignity, and global prosperity.”