Skip to main content

Somalia: Armed Conflict

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Ethiopian counterparts on the recent violence in Mogadishu, Somalia. (202753)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with his Ethiopian counterparts on the recent violence in Mogadishu.

However, our ambassador in Addis Ababa raised the recent violence in Somalia at senior levels of the Ethiopian Government. Our officials in London and at the UN have also raised this issue with their Ethiopian counterparts.

The Government maintains close contact with Ethiopia on Somalia and we continue to urge Ethiopian forces to show restraint, proportionality and respect for the local population in Somalia.

We are working with Ethiopia and our international partners to find a way for Ethiopia to withdraw as soon as possible, as Ethiopia has said is its intention, without allowing a security vacuum to emerge.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Ethiopian counterparts about the conduct of Ethiopian troops in Somalia; and what steps he is taking to support respect for human rights in Somalia. (202755)

My noble Friend the Lord Malloch-Brown raised the issue of human rights in Somalia with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in late January.

Our ambassador in Addis Ababa has raised respect for human rights in Somalia at senior levels of the Ethiopian government. Our officials in London and at the UN have also raised this issue with their Ethiopian counterparts.

The Government maintain close contact with Ethiopia on Somalia and we continue to urge Ethiopian forces to show restraint, proportionality and respect for the local population in Somalia.

The UK continually insists that human rights are fully respected by all parties in Somalia and has joined its international partners in clearly saying so in UN Security Council Resolutions, Communiqu├ęs of the Somalia International Contact Group and Resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council.

Insecurity in Somalia means that monitoring human rights and gathering reliable information is very difficult. However, if breaches of international human rights law are proved then we will condemn them unreservedly and expect those responsible to be held to account.