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Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions deteriorate

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In 2008, humanitarian and human rights conditions became worse than in previous years. The recent fighting in Mogadishu has added more challenges to already poor conditions on the ground. 

An estimated 1.1 million people have been displaced and more than 475,000 have fled to neighboring countries in the past two years.

Human rights groups and Somali observers estimate more than 22,000 people have been killed over the past two years. Civilians, humanitarian workers, journalists, and human rights advocates have been the primary targets of the insurgents, TFG, and Ethiopian security forces. According to Amnesty International, "rape, killings and looting have become widespread. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed." A number of Somali journalists covering the crisis in Somalia have been assassinated by insurgents and security forces over the past eighteen months.

Dozens of humanitarian and human rights advocates have been killed, injured, or imprisoned. Because of these targeted attacks, many human rights advocates and journalists have fled Somalia to neighboring countries for safety. Somalis working for international NGOs and foreign media have also been attacked by insurgents and TFG/Ethiopian security forces.

According to the May 2009 Complex Emergency report by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an estimated 3.2 million people are in need of emergency assistance. In the first two weeks of May 2009, an estimated 27,500 people have been displaced due to the recent fighting in Mogadishu. The United States has provided an estimated $177.6 million in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance to Somalia in FY2009. In FY2008, the United States provided $318 million in assistance to Somalia. The Obama Administration has requested $103 million for FY 2010. The United States has also provided material support in support of TFG forces.

Source:Ecoterra, June 30, 2009

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