Global charity decries sharp rise of forced evictions in Somalia

MOGADISHU-International charity on Tuesday decried sharp rise of evictions of families fleeing drought and conflict in Somalia.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said more than 204,000 people were forcibly removed from their homes this year, nearly double the number during the same period last year, with many people made homeless multiple times.

Evelyn Aero, NRC adviser for information, counseling and legal assistance said in a statement that more efforts are needed despite the government taking note of the crisis.

“These include developing policies and laws on land, improving access to land for displaced families, and strengthening protection for people displaced,” she said.

The charity said last year’s drought and conflict, plus flooding this April, led to a massive migration to urban areas.

It said displaced families who occupy dilapidated public buildings also risk being forcefully evicted, as many are being rebuilt, noting that most evictions are done without due process, including without prior notice.

According to aid agencies, majority of the victims were women and children who had arrived only months earlier, often after traveling long distances to escape drought and conflict.

Aero called on Somali authorities and landowners to protect citizens’ rights to adequate shelter and housing, noting that the displaced families should not be forced from their shelters with nowhere to go.

“They should follow due process, and be given sufficient advance notice to relocate with dignity. These families must be resettled to locations where they can access decent shelter and humanitarian aid. We also urge international donors to increase shelter and housing funding, so more displaced families will have secure homes,” said Aero.

Source: Xinhua