AMISOM troops in Mogadishu
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Soldiers serving and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been told to guard against sexual abuse and exploitation in the course of their duty.
Ambassador Maman Sidikou, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, sounded the warning on Saturday.
“AMISOM is duty-bound to diligently respect and implement the mandate entrusted to the mission by the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) and authorized by the United Nations Security Council in line with applicable policy guidelines on gender and human rights,.” She said at a workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Like any other human undertaking, AMISOM must continually seek to improve our systems and processes in order to respond to the dynamics of the mission, particularly on issues that affect the most vulnerable in society, such as those of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls,” she stated.
The three-day workshop aimed at strengthening AMISOM’s instruments and approaches towards preventing and addressing the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation.
The training is intended to ensure that the AMISOM leadership is well-equipped to address potential cases of sexual abuse and adopt effective and victim-friendly services.
Ambassador Sidikou such training was critical in enhancing the AMISOM’s transparency and accountability, conduct and discipline of the civilian, police and military personnel.
Participants at the workshop were from the Somali government, Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the AU Commission, AMISOM, United Nations (UNSOM and UNSOA), and civil society.
The special envoy of the AU Commission Chairperson on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop and former Nigerian President and Chair of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, Olusegun Obasanjo, participated in the training.
Obasanjo commended AMISOM forces for their role in the peace process in Somalia but appealed to the leadership to pay attention to and guard against cases of sexual abuse.
Peacekeeping troops have made major advances on key Alshabaab strongholds in Somalia under Operation Indian Ocean that started in September, ending years of rights abuses by the militants. ENDS