No state no problem? Alternative mechanisms to the state-centred approach of protecting and promoting human rights : the case of Somalia as a failed state

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Bahta, Tewelde
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The thesis challenges the traditional state-centred approach of human rights protection and proposes that it is ill-suited for failed States. This hypothesis is tested through a case study on Somalia. The study distinguishes between three Somali territories which each display special cultural, legal and political features: (1) rural Somalia, (2) urban cities of Southern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, and (3) the de facto administrations of Puntland and Somaliland. It is argued that three different yet interrelated alternatives exist which suit these three territories respectively. For rural Somalia customary clan law, the Xeer, may be used to substitute the formal treaty based or statutory mechanisms. In the urban areas of Southern Somalia, Islamic law and its Sharia Courts have proven to be potentially capable of maintaining rule and order, thereby facilitating human rights protection. The de facto regimes of Puntland and Somaliland may be used as a third alternative in the absence of any functioning central authority. After analyzing strengths and weaknesses of the alternative mechanisms, the author concludes that future international initiatives should be based on these three alternatives rather than adopting a one-fits-all mechanism that prioritizes the installation of a central government over effective human rights protection.
Second semester University: University of Vienna
administration of justice, Somalia, human rights, international status, law