Calls for Urgent Action On Surge In Rape Cases In Somalia

In 2020, 400 civilians, primarily girls, were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence in Somalia. This represents an almost 80% increase compared to 2019.

More than 100 cases of sexual violence against girls were verified by the UN in the first quarter of 2021. Perpetrators often exploited the vulnerability of displaced girls, targeting them when they left camps to perform domestic chores, the reports noted. The report linked sexual violence to the prevailing conditions of insecurity in Somalia.

This was marked by political tensions in the run-up to national elections, inter-communal clashes related to land-based disputes, and a surge in extremist militant group Al-Shabaab's activities, which intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic. "We urge all parties to the conflict in Somalia to immediately cease these violations", Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten said in a statement.

The two senior UN experts also expressed serious concerns that over 15% of all cases of sexual violence verified, were attributed to the government's security forces.

InFocus

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