The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations have reiterated their commitment to help develop capacity of the Somali national security forces to address all forms of human rights violations.
The two organizations promised to continue mobilizing resources and providing specialized training to the Somali national security forces, during the transition period, to prepare the officers for the handover of security responsibility as per the UN Security Council resolution (2372) adopted last year.
The commitment was made, on Monday, at a joint AMISOM-UN trainer of trainers (TOT) workshop on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence for the Somali national security forces (SNSF), which is being attended by participants from both federal and state governments.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the four-day workshop, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, described sexual violence as a weapon of war, reiterating the urgent need to build the capacity of the security forces, both at the federal and regional states level, to tackle the vice.
"AMISOM is happy to support the Somali national security forces, the regional states and the Federal Government of Somalia to ensure the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children including conflict-related sexual violence," Ambassador Madeira noted.
AMISOM, the SRCC added, has taken concrete steps to end sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia by working to prevent its occurrence, facilitating response to incidents and advocating for the availability of resources to meet the needs of survivors.
"The deployment of Women Protection and Child Protection officers to AMISOM is a significant step to ensuring that the security forces and the government of Somalia are supported accordingly," Ambassador Madeira said.
Describing sexual violence as a crime against humanity and violation of women and children's rights, the SRCC noted that Somalia has not been spared the brunt of conflict-related sexual violence, adding that the training must focus on the nature of the vice and how to respond to it.
His remarks were echoed by the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (DSRSG), Peter de Clercq, who described conflict-related sexual violence as a critical protection concern in Somalia, which needs to be tackled decisively.
"As part of the transition plan, Somali security forces need to be ready and able to address all security issues including human security, hence, understanding how to address conflict-related sexual violence is vitally important," Mr. de Clercq noted.
The DSRSG said the workshop reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government of Somalia to curb sexual violence and also contribute to the development of acceptable and accountable security institutions.
"This is particularly important in the context of the transition of security responsibilities between AMISOM and Somali security institutions," he observed.
The DSRSG noted that the training is part of the measures to guard against violations, in line with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
The training is aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of participants on human rights crimes to enable them roll-out the same trainings to their colleagues in their respective regions.
During the training, the participants will be taken through a number of topics, among others, an introduction to human rights, definitions and characteristics of human rights; the national legal framework for protection of human rights; human rights in Islam; the changing nature of armed conflicts and grave violations; children and armed conflicts and the child protection legal framework.