Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

An Open Letter To The Speaker Of The SOMALI Parliament, Mr. SHARIF HASSAN

Mr. Speaker, I was very disturbed by the statement you made in an interview with BBC Somali branch on Tuesday October 18, 2005, where you have stated that “Somalis have reconciled and forgiven each other.” This was a very grave statement from a man whose constituency has always been treated as second class citizens in Somalia.
Mr. Speaker, I wouldn’t mind you to advocate for the release of your delegate member by the Swedish government; it will be your own personal decision and nobody else and no one should be assumed guilty until proven. However, what struck me was your insensitivity and lack of understanding to the issue of human rights violation.
Mr. Speaker, let me remind you that those who pretended to have reconciled were the warlords while zilch has been shared with the Somali public. A speaker of a parliament from a minority tribe of Somalia characterizing human right violation as a trivial issue is pathetic and inconceivable.
Mr. Speaker it should be you and the non- militarized clan members in the parliament to press the issue of human rights, so that justice can be served one day for those orphans whose parents were killed for no reason. Your statement has added insult to the existing pain and injury to those who lost their loved ones.
Likewise, it has added an insult to me who have lost family members for no reason. As a matter of fact, in 1991 my uncles from my mother side and many others were killed because an aggressive group who planned to takeover their farms has labeled them as FAQASH.

When you state publicly that Somalis have reconciled and forgiven themselves in a very trivial tone, could you please tell the public who were the representatives of the ASHARAF orphans, the Afgoi orphans, the Benadiri orphans, the Bantu orphans, the Baidoa orphans, the Mashunguli orphans, etc.?
Mr. Speaker, I don’t know if you are aware of it, but you are becoming the mouth piece of the Somali warlords and this will have a catastrophic impact for the future of the oppressed Somalis. I am also not sure whether you are aware of the warlord’s plan to keep Somalia in perpetual fear and serfdom. It is pathetic and heartbreaking for most us to read every morning in the Somali media the unending ordeal that is continuously taking place in the South of Somalia in general and in particular, the lower Shabelle.

The daily life and destiny of the Somalis in the south have become telling stories of bloody and tear-jerking events. Because of the prevailing anarchy and lawlessness founded by the warlords, the country is today a prime haven for terrorists, pirates, international toxic waste dumpers and war profiteering enterprises masquerading as legitimate businesses; warlords controlling the nation’s infrastructure such as ports, airports, and highways. The revenue generated from illegal taxation, drug harvesting/trafficking, charcoal and fishing is then used as a financial source for maintaining the illegal occupation.

Illegal taxation has been a major human rights issue in the lower shabelle and elsewhere in Somalia. People are being taxed for every trivial item they posses. The power to tax is the power to destroy and, in milder forms, to punish. Taxes raise revenue and enforce illegal system. Mr. Speaker, I would like you to checkout part of a recent UN report dated 5 October 2005 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia addressed to the President of the Security Council that emphasize the reality in the south. Mr. Speaker below is the part of the report I would like you to read and heed:

“Sheik Yusuf Indohaadde is in charge of the local administration of Lower Shabelle; he assumes the role of governor. Indohaadde’s headquarters and state house are located at Buulamarer, situated on a large, active banana farm north-west of Marka.
The geographical area under his control includes the seaports of Marka and Baraawe. He has his own fishing fleet- and an airport at Marka. The local administration also includes prime agricultural lands- including numerous “drug farms” on lands that were taken from the local farmers. In order to exercise control over his geographical area, Indohaadde has his own militia, made up of men from his clan, and other militias from the same clan group. Indohaadde also has a large number of personal bodyguards, individuals who are most trusted from his own clan.
Revenue for Indohaadde’s arms purchases comes from traders, businessmen, the Marka and Baraawe seaports, the airports, checkpoints, farms, NGOs, the fishing fleet and other sources. Indohaadde’s representatives collect taxes on a weekly basis. Every month, from the moneys collected, he pays militia members, his “inner circle” (advisers and closest associates) and the elders of the clan and makes purchases of arms. After those payments are made, the remainder, which is approximately equivalent to $50,000, reverts to Indohaadde himself.
Indohaadde collects revenue from NGOs that want to operate in the area under his control; they must obtain Indohaadde’s permission and must pay him a sum of money to conduct their activities. He receives at least 15 per cent of any NGO benefits that are offered to the local population. The fees paid by an NGO for the buildings they use are split between the owner and Indohaadde.
He has a say in the question of which Somalis work for NGOs - members of his own clan- and gets part of an employee’s salary. He also has a network of people that monitor the activities of NGOs to ensure their compliance with his financial interests. If an NGO does not comply with his requirements, he forces it to leave his area. Indohaadde also owns drug farms in the area under his control, including at Janaale, Shalambood, Qoryooley, Buulamarer and Kurtun Waarey; the exact number of farms is unknown, but Monitoring Group sources estimated that as many as 10 may be spread throughout his area.
He is alleged to be dealing in marijuana (probably in the form of hashish). Indohaadde’s drug farms are a sophisticated operation involving irrigation systems, fertilizers and herbicides.
The workers on the farms are experienced in the drug-growing business and receive a good salary to maintain the high quality of the drugs. The drugs undergo a drying process and are packaged and concealed to avoid attracting attention. The product is graded: poorer-quality product is sent to Mogadishu and neighboring countries for local consumption, while the higher quality product is put into trucks and transported to airstrips or the Marka seaport for further transport to the international market.

There are about six harvests per year. Indohaadde is expanding his drug farming operation, by increasing either the number of farms or production per farm. He allegedly receives a total of approximately $100,000 per harvest for all of the farms. Indohaadde has a “special representative” who handles drug-farm operations on his behalf and uses his militia to guard his drug farms”.

Mr. Speaker as the UN report indicated this so-called Sheikh is using the revenue he generates from his illegal occupation to buy arms so that he can abuse poor Somalis and keep the country hostage. There is a huge human rights violation that is occurring in the vast territory he controls. The issue of human rights violation is a very sensitive issue; people are forced into slavery; there are kept in perpetual fear; they have no future. May be you should seek advisers who will help you in handling and understanding human rights issues.
It is really not as simple as you have publicly characterized it. Mr. Speaker, this should be a wake up call for you because you are really losing your base and tending to turn into a real enemy for the oppressed Somalis. Let me conclude my letter by this quote of Albert Einstein: “The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything”.

By Dr. Ali Said Faqi Alifaqi@yahoo.com

UN Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty to visit United States


UN Press release
18 October 2005

Dr. Arjun Sengupta, Independent Expert of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, will visit the United States of America at the invitation of the Government from 23 October to 8 November 2005.

The Independent Expert will analyse some of the lessons learned in the United States in addressing the different components of extreme poverty – such as income poverty, human development poverty and social exclusion – and identify examples of good practices and obstacles encountered.

The Independent Expert will meet with Government officials, at the Federal and State levels, as well as with representatives of civil society, including organizations working with and for people living in poverty, members of the media and academics.

The Independent Expert will present a report on his mission to the Commission on Human Rights at its sixty-second session in March-April 2006.