AMISOM launches training on human rights protection for Somali security officers
As the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan takes centre stage, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has launched a training programme on human rights for Somali security forces to enhance their compliance with international human rights law. The training being attended by officers from the Somali National Army (SNA), Somali Police Force (SPF), National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and line ministries, both from the federal and states governments, will focus on child rights and the dangers of recruiting children as soldiers in armed conflict. “The training reflects the Somali government’s commitment to uphold the policy that children belong to school and deserve a peaceful and conducive learning environment,” said Warsame Mohamed Hassan, the Director General in the federal Ministry of Defence. Mr. Hassan said the federal government has a strict policy on the use of child soldiers and assured partners of its commitment. AMISOM has intensified training programmes on human rights to prepare Somali security forces to assume the country’s security responsibility as per the dictates of the Somalia Transition Plan and the UN Security Council resolution 2431 of 2018. The Head of the Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit of AMISOM, Kareem Adebayo, who represented the AU Special Representative for Somalia, noted that the one-week training is being conducted in accordance with the constitutional provisions of the Federal Republic of Somalia and AMISOM’s mandate from the African Union and the United Nations. “Central to those mandates is the fact that AMISOM should discharge its mandate with due respect to the International Human Rights Law and the applicable International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and key to this is that children will not be used as fighters in Somalia, either by AMISOM or by Somalia security forces,” Mr. Adebayo said. He noted that AMISOM’s main objective is to prepare Somali security forces to effectively take over the role of securing the country by 2021. “Central to the Somalia Transition Plan is that between now and 2021, AMISOM should have prepared the Somali National Army, regional forces who are part of the Somali National Army, Somali Police Force, NISA and all the line ministries, to take over the security of the country,” he observed. Unlike the past, the current training is being conducted by a pool of Somali trainers, trained by AMISOM on human rights and international humanitarian law. Apart from sensitizing the security personnel on human rights and child protection norms and standards, the training seeks to stimulate discussion on the role of Somali security forces in promoting and protecting rights of civilians particularly children and other vulnerable groups. AMISOM Human Rights Expert, Ulrike Kahbila Mbuton, noted that greater enjoyment of human rights can be achieved by ensuring Somalia’s security institutions comply with international human rights law in their role as protectors of the civilian population. During the training, participants will be taken through a number of topics including an overview of human rights, international humanitarian law, global and regional human rights frameworks, the Somali constitution and human rights and juvenile justice in Somalia. Others are Somali culture and Islam, gender and women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and gender-based violence and use of child soldiers. Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (RDCSI) Regional Training Manager for Africa, Musa Donald Gbow, pledged the organization’s commitment in supporting the federal government in its efforts to stamp out the use of child soldiers.