Famine as a crime against humanity

Abdi Ismail Samatar, “Famine as a crime against humanity,” Al Jazeera, 01 Dec 2011

Drought does not necessarily lead to famine: The catastrophe in Somalia was man-made.

The coordinator of the Monitoring Group recently published an article in which he claimed that the Somali famine is not only a catastrophe, but that identifiable individuals and groups engaged in the production of the famine and therefore have committed crimes against humanity. This bold statement by the coordinator of the Monitoring Group demands careful assessment.

It has been common wisdom for decades that droughts do not by themselves lead to famines, and the cause of the latter is the failure by national and international authorities to take action long before people run out of food. There have been 10 major droughts over the last 50 years in the Horn of Africa in general, and in Somalia in particular.

The evidence gleaned from this climatic record show that most droughts did not produce famine. …
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