UN independent expert calls for a halt to plight of Somali boat people

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People hoping to make the Gulf of Aden crossing queue to board a vessel off the coast of Somalia.

"The plight and suffering of Somali boat people must stop," says the UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari.

His call follows a recent boat disaster in the Gulf of Aden, which claimed the lives of 55 Somali refugees and migrants.

He says "This tragic incident shows the level of desperation of the people living in areas of Somalia which are still stricken by insecurity and the lack of enjoyment of basic economic, social and cultural rights."

The human rights expert says "Despite the recent security developments in the post-transition period, it is critical to find lasting and sustainable peace in Somalia to stop people from putting their lives at risk by undertaking dangerous journeys across the Gulf of Aden."

Mr. Bari urged "Somali authorities at the national, regional and local levels to renew their efforts to address the root causes of the smuggling and trafficking in persons in Somalia, with the collaboration of the international community and the United Nations."

The 55 people from Somalia and the Horn of Africa drowned or went missing on December 18, after their boat capsized off the Somali coast.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’02″

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