Date: 20th May 2010                                           Ref: OHRC/PR2/0510

PRESS RELEASE

PUNTLAND: PERSCUTION OF AND TRADING IN REFUGEES FROM THE OGADEN: ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL

Recently, the pro-Ethiopian clan based entities of Puntland and Somaliland have stepped up their unlawful and inhumane acts against civilians hailing from the Ogaden. As usual, the two Ethiopian satellites are outbidding each other on maltreating and repatriating of the refugees against their will. (See Puntland: persecutes and repatriates refugees from the Ogaden ref: OHRC/PRM/0108).

Human rights instruments provide protection against refoulement. The UN Convention against Torture, in Sub‑article (l and 2) of Article 3 states that:

 “1. No State Party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.”
Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that:
“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution

Nevertheless, for the last 13 years, many Somalis from the Ogaden were detained, tortured, their private properties confiscated and then forcibly handed over to the Ethiopian government against their will, in exchange for ammunition and other materials. Most of them were traders, residents and visitors, who were not involved in any illegal activities and have no any political affiliation whatsoever.

Many refugees from the Ogaden who were forcibly returned to Ethiopia have since disappeared in the notorious military detention camps throughout Ethiopia and were never seen again by their loved ones while others were tortured to death.

On 19th October 2009, five Somali refugees from the Ogaden who were deported from Yemen were arrested upon arrival at Bosaaso port by members of Puntland militias. They were subjected to constant interrogation under torture in the form of extensive and indiscriminate beatings. On 26th  October 2009, one of them namely, Abdi Hassan Yusuf also known as Terso, was handed over officially to the Ethiopian security forces and then transferred to Wardheer Military Barracks. On 01st November 2009, another detainee Abdullahi Hassan Ali was subjected to extensive physical and psychological torture in his Bosaaso detention. He was denied medical treatment and passed away in his cell.

The three remaining detainees are:  Faseh Atab Olad, Muhumed Sheikh Badri and Abdi Mohamed Deq. They are in detention at the time of this writing and their fate and whereabouts are unknown to their families and relatives.

To the best of the Ogaden Human Rights Committee’s knowledge, they were not involved in any illegal activity. They were refugees deported from Yemen. The Ogaden Human Rights Committee calls for them to be either charged with recognizable criminal offences and be given fair trials or immediately and uncon­ditionally released. The OHRC is also concerned about their safety and well-being, particularly in view of torturing one of them to death.

On the 28th of October 2009, the Puntland Administration which tolerates no dissent detained Chief elder Suldan Abdulaziz Yusuf Mohamoud also known as Afguduud, a Somali elder from Bosaaso after he confirmed the detention of the Somalis from the Ogaden in an interview with the VOA Somali Service.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee is concerned about the safety and well-being of this elder, Suldan Abdulaziz Yusuf Mohamoud, and urges Puntland’s Administration his unconditional and immediate release.

According to reliable reports received by OHRC, persecution and other acts of aggression against Somalis from the Ogaden are unabated, and are going on in Puntland and Somaliland on a daily basis.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee condemns these acts of killing, torture, arbitrary arrests and forcible repatriation of refugees from the Ogaden from the neighbouring countries.

 

Ogaden Human Rights Committee
www.ogadenrights.org
E-mail: ohrc@ogadenrights.org