Somalia, AU urge troops to protect kids in combat zones

World Sunday 20/October/2019 23:39 PM
By: Times News Service
Somalia, AU urge troops to protect kids in combat zones

MOGADISHU: Somalia and the African Union Mission (AMISOM) have called on national security forces to strive to protect children in combat zones as they fight Al Shabab militants in the Horn of Africa nation.

Hassan Ali Mohamed, defence minister who closed a five-day training on human rights and child protection for 26 officers from the Somalia National Army (SNA) in Mogadishu reiterated the government's commitment to ensuring the protection of children. "Our message is loud and clear. Violations of human rights should end, especially recruitment and use of child soldiers," Mohamed said, according to a statement.

"This is in line with the relevant United Nations Resolution relating to issues of child soldiers, as well as respect for human rights," he added.

According to the minister, ending such violations is part of the Somali National Army's goal to preserve human rights in times of war and peace. "Children should not be recruited as soldiers, and this is our message," he said and urged the focal persons to take personal initiative to gain more knowledge in human rights and child protection.

The five-day training, organized by AMISOM in collaboration with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (RDCSI) was aimed at enhancing Somali security forces' compliance with the International Human Rights Law.

According to the AU mission, the recruitment and use of child soldiers as combatants in armed conflict by militant groups such as al-Shabab remains a key concern in Somalia.

AMISOM is currently implementing a conditions-based, gradual transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces under the Somalia Transition Plan.