UNITED NATIONS NATIONS UNIES
UN HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CALLS ON SOMALI LEADERS TO RESPECT PEACE COMMITMENTS
Nairobi (7 January 2003) -- Following continuing hostilities in some areas of Somalia, the United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the country is calling on all parties to the Eldoret peace declaration to respect their commitments to cease hostilities and ensure safe and unhindered access to communities in need throughout Somalia.
Despite commitments made last year by Somalia leaders to cease hostilities, violence and armed conflict within some areas of the country have escalated since the signing of the agreement. During this period, Somalis have witnessed either the resumption or continuation of fighting in Mogadishu, Las Anod and Baidoa towns and in the Bari, Bay, Bakol, Gedo and Lower Shabelle regions. Mr. Maxwell Gaylard, who also serves as the Designated Official for UN Security in Somalia, is particularly saddened by the killing of at least six children in an attack on a mini-bus in Mogadishu.
“It is a matter of deep concern that despite the promising commitments made in October, we have seen such an escalation in violence,” said Mr. Gaylard. “The humanitarian community stands ready to support peace and reconciliation, but without meaningful guarantees of safe and unhindered access, we cannot effectively deliver aid to those who need it most. This is now the case in many parts of the country.”
The provision of humanitarian assistance and protection to a significant proportion of Somalis -- who are already facing acute poverty, malnutrition and the lack of access to or absence of even the most basic social services -- has been increasingly disrupted by the ongoing hostilities.
On 27 October 2002, Somali leaders gathered in the Kenyan town of Eldoret issued a new declaration to end hostilities and set the guiding principles for the ongoing reconciliation process. They committed, among other actions, to cease fighting and guarantee safe access to humanitarian aid for all of the people of Somalia.
The UN and the international community are still waiting for all Somali leaders to honor these commitments.
For further information, please contact:
Kelly David-Toweh, UN Coordination Unit/ UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Tel: +254 2 4448433