Oxfam Australia want Government to Play Key Role in Somalia Talks

Oxfam Australia is calling on the government to play a key role in the international conference on Somalia, to be held this week in London. The meeting, to discuss that ordinary Somalis are at the centre of any future Somalia strategy, will see Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd speak at the London conference. Oxfam is urging for a new international approach to a country where over 2 million people are still in need of emergency aid.

With over 300,000 children suffering from malnutrition, and nearly a third of the overall population in crisis, Somalia is still in the grip of its worst humanitarian episodes in decades. James Ensor, Oxfam Australia’s director of policy, is asking for the international community to increase its focus on both the short and long term needs of the people of Somali.

Having contributed more than $141million to the Horn of Africa food crisis, Australia was well placed to encourage other foreign leaders to commit to a new direction for Somali. Continued fighting throughout Southern Somalia is stopping the delivery of vital supplies to those who are in desperate need.

Mr Ensor said –

As an increasingly important and respected international voice on Somalia, we encourage the Australian Government to use its growing influence to remind the world that Somalia still faces a catastrophic humanitarian emergency. Any international strategy agreed in London must address how to best ensure unrestricted, independent humanitarian access to those in need, as well as ensuring the safety and protection of Somali civilians. Any future strategy must be led by the interests and wishes of the Somali people, including regional authorities, civil society and women’s groups.This is critical in order to end the current humanitarian crisis and support Somalia to achieve the development and security that has eluded it for so long.

If the international conference can put greater emphasis on peaceful and sustainable long and short term solutions, then hopefully the decades long conflict in Somalia will not still affect the country as a whole. Now is the time for talk, followed by swift action, if the mess that is Somali is to be fixed for good.

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