II. Key Recommendations

To the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG)

  • Immediately issue clear public orders to all TFG security forces to cease attacks on and mistreatment of civilians and looting of civilian property, and ensure that detainees have access to family members, legal counsel, and adequate medical care while in detention. 
  • Ensure humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need, including by facilitating the access of humanitarian agencies to all displaced persons in and around Mogadishu.
  • Investigate allegations of abuses by TFG forces and hold accountable the members of the TFG forces, whatever their rank, who have been implicated in abuses.
  • Take all necessary steps to build a competent, independent, and impartial judiciary that can provide trials that meet international fair trial standards. Abolish the death penalty as an inherently cruel form of punishment.
  • Invite the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to increase the number of staff monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses in Somalia and request technical support for the judiciary and the establishment of an independent national human rights commission.

To the groups comprising the insurgency

  • Cease all attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including government officials and employees not directly participating in the hostilities. Cease all attacks that cause indiscriminate or disproportionate harm to civilians or civilian objects, including attacks in crowded civilian areas, such as busy roads, village or city streets, markets, or other public gathering places.
  • Avoid locating, to the extent feasible, insurgent forces within or near densely populated areas, and where possible remove civilians from the vicinity of such forces. Avoid using populated areas to launch attacks and cease threatening civilians who protest the use of their neighborhoods as launching sites. Never purposefully use civilians to shield insurgent forces from attack.
  • Publicly commit to abide by international humanitarian law, including prohibitions against targeting civilians, using indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and using civilians as “human shields.”

To the government of Ethiopia

  • Cease all attacks that deliberately target civilians and cease using means and methods of combat that cannot discriminate between civilians and military objectives. Civilian objects such as schools, hospitals, and homes must not be attacked unless currently being used for military purposes.
  • Cease all indiscriminate attacks and attacks in which the expected civilian harm is excessive compared to the concrete and direct military gain anticipated. In particular, cease the use of area bombardments of populated areas of Mogadishu.
  • Issue clear public orders to all forces that they must uphold fundamental principles of international humanitarian law and provide clear guidelines and training to all commanders and fighters to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.
  • Investigate and discipline or prosecute as appropriate military personnel, regardless of rank, who are responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law including those who may be held accountable as a matter of command responsibility.

To the European Union and its member states, the European Commission, the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, the Arab League, and the government of the United States

  • Publicly condemn the serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict in Mogadishu in 2007, and call on the Ethiopian government and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to take all necessary steps, including public action, to ensure that their forces cease abuses against civilians.
  • Support measures to promote accountability and end impunity for serious crimes in Somalia, including through the establishment of an independent United Nations panel of experts to investigate and map serious crimes and recommend further measures to improve accountability.
  • Publicly promote and financially support civil society efforts to provide humanitarian assistance, services such as education, monitoring of the human rights situation, and efforts to promote national solidarity. Promote and support TFG efforts to improve the functioning of the judicial system and to establish a national human rights commission. Provide voluntary contributions to support an expanded OHCHR field operation in Somalia.