SOMALIA: Reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by AMISOM increased

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
RBC Radio
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Human Rights

In its annual report, the Human Rights Watch organization released on Tuesday blasts that Women and girls in Somalia face alarming levels of sexual violence throughout the country.

Internally displaced women and girls are particularly vulnerable to rape by armed men including government soldiers and militia members. In January, a displaced woman, who alleged that she was raped by government soldiers, and a journalist who interviewed her were prosecuted in a deeply flawed and politicized judicial process.

The report said that Somali Government Security forces have also threatened individuals who have reported rape, and service providers.

Human Rights Watch also mentioned reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by AMISOM increased in Mogadishu. In a March 2013 resolution, the UN Security Council called on AMISOM to take measures to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation and address allegations of abuse.

In August, a woman alleged that she was abducted by soldiers and then transferred to AMISOM soldiers who raped her. A joint Somali and AMISOM high-level task force was established to investigate, during which AMISOM publicly denied the allegations.

The alleged victim and witnesses were intimidated by government intelligence agents during the investigation.

There is no response from the head of the African Union Mission command in Somalia on this report.