Somalia: UK Works With Somali Forces to Respond to Sexual Violence in Conflict

The UK-supported 4-day workshop drew participants from Somali National security institutions across the country, Ministries of Defence, Internal Security, Justice and Women and Human Rights Development in both the national and federal government.Those trained will now go back to their institutions, and train their colleagues on what they have learnt

This is the fifth training course to be conducted for the Somali National Security Forces on preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence. Similar training has been conducted in Jubbaland, HirShabelle, Galmudug, and Southwest states.

During in-depth discussions on the importance of promoting compliance to International Humanitarian Law in areas of operation, participants noted with concern that sexual violence remains a key protection issue for women and girls in Somalia. Participants identified conflict, insecurity, weak legislation and law enforcement, gender inequality, and displacement, as major contributing factors.

Speaking during the opening of the course, British Ambassador to Somalia, Ben Fender observed: "Conflict-related sexual violence destroys families and communities, as well as the victims' mental health, so if we want the Somali security forces to be the pride of this country, we have to ensure that they put the protection of civilians at the heart of what they do".

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He said the UK was proud to support the development of Somali security forces as part of our commitment to peace and security. The skills you will acquire this week will enable you to identify these crimes and take action against perpetrators.

Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia said, "it is critical to train Somali security forces on how to support survivors of sexual violence, in a manner that does not further harm but ensures that their needs are met and that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice."

The UK through the Conflict Security and Stability Fund has so far trained 925 members of the Somali National security forces and line ministries on conflict related sexual violence, eradication of child soldiers and protection of Human Rights in areas of operation.

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