Published September 13, 2013
MOGADISHU (AFP) – The forced eviction of thousands of Somalia's poorest from makeshift camps amid rebuilding efforts in the war-ravaged capital Mogadishu has led to "large scale" rights abuses, Amnesty International warned Friday.
More than 300,000 people live in basic camps across Mogadishu, often in the ruins of once grand buildings and consisting of little more than plastic sheeting or cloth draped over stick frames.
But since Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters fled city trenches two years ago, bands of labourers have been rebuilding Mogadishu, with the vast tented camps being cleared for development.
Some residents have been forced to shift to often dangerous areas on the city outskirts, outside the effective control of security forces, Amnesty added.
"It is completely unacceptable for people who have fled to the capital for protection to be forcibly evicted," said Amnesty's Somalia researcher Gemma Davies. "It has resulted in large scale human rights abuses."
Thousands of people have long lived amid the ruins of the seaside capital, which became a byword for anarchy after the collapse of the government in 1991, but tens of thousands more flooded the city two years ago fleeing extreme drought and famine.
"For decades, Somalia's people have been pushed from place to place by conflict, famine and drought," Amnesty said.
"Now the country finally has a central government, it's high time to focus on a durable solution for Somalia's displaced that allows them to be part of the country's reconstruction."
Somalia's new government, selected last year by clan elders in a United Nations-backed process, is working to restore stability after two decades of chaos.