Responding to harm in Somalia

by Sarah Holewinski

Southern Somalia is a hell for civilians living there, and that was true even before the famine that hit the country this summer. Mogadishu, 2011

When I was in Mogadishu a few months ago, I saw bombed out buildings in every direction, families huddled in ill-equipped hospitals, and -- in one case -- a group of kids startled by an Al-Shabaab mortar blast not 100 feet from where they were standing. This is the reality of war, but it doesn't have to be.

CIVIC and its partners have worked with the African Union toward better civilian protection. And today, we released a report on civilian harm in Somalia that details pragmatic solutions for responding to civilian losses.

The author of the report, Nikolaus Grubeck, spent time in Mogadishu, its outskirts, and the displaced persons camps near the Kenyan border interviewing civilians impacted by the conflict. We hope these insights from Somali civilians and our analysis of what can be done for them will help convince the parties to the conflict to be better and do more for the people caught between them.