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Thursday, 15 November 2007 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution of 15 November 2007 on Somalia

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Somalia,

–   having regard to the previous statements made by the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, Javier Solana, and by Commissioner Louis Michel,

–   having regard to the Statement of Concern regarding the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia, signed by 40 international and national NGOs,

–   having regard to the plan for national reconciliation put forward in Resolution 1744 (2007), adopted by the UN Security Council on 20 February 2007, in the aftermath of Ethiopia's victory over the Union of Islamic Courts,

–   having regard to the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon on 8 and 9 December 2007,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas at least 80 people have been killed in the recent fighting between the insurgents of the Union of Islamic Courts and allied Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops,

B.   whereas Somalia has not had a functioning government since the overthrow of the Said Barre regime in 1991, and whereas since then the political situation has been one of anarchy, marked by inter-clan fighting and banditry,

C.   whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that at least 100 000 people have been displaced as a result of recent fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and allied Ethiopian and TFG troops; whereas this fighting has resulted in the death of numerous civilians; whereas the safety of the remaining population is a matter of grave concern,

D.   whereas the worsening security situation in the capital of Somalia, namely Mogadishu, has prevented national and international NGOs from coping with an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe and responding to emergencies,

E.   whereas, according to the Food Security Analysis Unit, approximately 38 000 children under the age of five among the rural population are estimated to be acutely malnourished and 10 000 are estimated to be severely malnourished and at risk of death if they do not receive appropriate care,

F.   whereas cases of cholera have been confirmed in the region; whereas, therefore, urgent measures to provide safe water and sanitation facilities for internally displaced persons must be taken in order to contain the spread of the disease,

G.   whereas according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – Somalia, about 450 000 people have been displaced as a result of fighting in 2007, bringing the total number of displaced persons in Somalia to more than 850 000, including about 400 000 displaced persons since the civil war began in the 1990s,

H.   whereas out of a population of 10 million inhabitants, approximately 1.5 million Somalis are in need of international aid,

I.   concerned by the prolonged civil war in Somalia and its implications for the peace and reconciliation process in that country as well as for the security and stability of the Horn of Africa as a whole,

J.   whereas Ali Mohamed Gedi, the Somali Prime Minister, has resigned after a feud with the President, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed; whereas this has aggravated the political impasse in the country,

K.   whereas the insurgents of the Union of Islamic Courts boycotted a reconciliation meeting sponsored by the transitional government last month; whereas the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, has said that Ethiopian troops will withdraw once African Union peacekeepers arrive in Mogadishu,

L.   whereas insurgents of the Union of Islamic Courts have ruled out all political contact with the TFG for as long as the Ethiopian army is present in Somalia; whereas prolongation of Ethiopia's intervention is further complicating the situation in the region, as is other countries' alleged support for the Union of Islamic Courts – with specific reference to Eritrea,

M.   whereas the perpetrators of most of the killings of individual journalists in 2007 remain unknown and whereas, to date, Somali Government officials have consistently failed to condemn the killings, much less investigate, arrest, or prosecute anyone in connection with them,

1.  Strongly condemns the serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict in Somalia; calls for an immediate end to hostilities; demands that all warring factions refrain from indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and calls for an independent panel to investigate war crimes and human rights violations;

2.  Recalls that the international community and all parties to the present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers; demands therefore that the right conditions be immediately created for an adequate response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia;

3.  Warns that, unless strong measures are quickly taken by the international community to stabilise and gradually improve the situation, there is a clear risk of the Somalia conflict growing into a regional war affecting the entire Horn of Africa;

4.  Calls on the international community to step up and sustain diplomatic efforts to end the ongoing violence and propose a standing mechanism for the purposes of negotiating and monitoring an immediate ceasefire;

5.  Calls on the TFG to engage with key Somali stakeholders in a consultative process leading to the appointment of a new Prime Minister; urges all Somali stakeholders to renew their efforts towards political dialogue and to remain focused on resuming the process outlined by the Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic of 2004; stresses that successful dialogue and reconciliation is critical to ensuring free and fair elections in 2009 and establishing lasting peace and stability in Somalia;

6.  Calls for an end to all foreign military intervention in Somalia;

7.  Calls for a strengthening of the role of civil society – particularly women – in the process of national reconciliation;

8.  Welcomes efforts by the African Union to assemble a peacekeeping force to help with the process of national reconciliation but deplores the fact that so far only 1600 soldiers out of the 8 000 that the African Union had agreed to send have actually been deployed; calls therefore on the African Union to encourage its member states to honour their commitments to contribute to the peacekeeping force; calls in this connection on the EU to increase its efforts to provide the requisite political, financial and logistical support to the deployment of the African Union peacekeeping troops, as well as to take all other steps conducive to the facilitation of the peace process;

9.  Calls on the international community to strengthen diplomatic efforts towards peace and stability in Somalia and to avoid simplistic perceptions of the terrorist threats in the Horn of Africa, at times used to divert attention from internal problems and pave the way for foreign military intervention;

10.  Reiterates its call on the International Somalia Contact Group, consisting of the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Tanzania and others, to encourage positive political developments and engagement with actors inside Somalia, with a view to supporting the implementation of the Transitional Federal Charter and Institutions, establishing effective governance and stability and addressing the international community's concerns regarding terrorism;

11.  Calls on the international community, and the EU in particular, to increase the provision of humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons and people in need;

12.  Urges strict and renewed application and monitoring of the arms embargo against Somalia imposed by the UN in 1992, for which scant respect is paid; calls for the violators of the Somalia arms embargo to start being held accountable;

13.  Stresses in particular the urgent need for journalists to be protected and condemns the TFG's systematic harassment of journalists, its closure of media outlets and its failure to investigate the killing of journalists, all of which have deeply damaged independent reporting in Somalia; calls on the TFG to investigate these attacks as well as to cease its own harassment of the media;

14.  Calls on the EU-Africa Summit to give urgent consideration to the grave situation prevailing in Somalia;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Secretaries-General of the African Union, the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the Government of Ethiopia and the Pan-African Parliament.

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