Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somali authorities have signed an agreement to release all child soldiers serving in the country’s national army and stop further hiring of children.
The agreement was signed during an international Contact Group meeting in Rome, Italy, the UN’s Special Envoy to Somalia said Tuesday.
Somalia’s Defence Minister Hussein Arab Isse signed the action plan with the UN Special Envoy Augustine Mahiga pledging to end child recruitment by the Somalia national army
“The Action Plan outlines steps to be taken by the Somalia authorities to ensure a child-free national army. Full compliance with the Action Plan will result in the Government of Somalia being removed from the UN Secretary-General’s list of parties who recruit and use children,” the UN said.
Under the pact, Somalia commits to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the armed forces.
The UN will support the reintegration of all children released from the Forces, and the government will criminalise the recruitment and use of children through national legislation.
Somalia will be required to provide the UN with unimpeded access to military installations to verify the presence of children.
Somalia was listed in the UN Secretary-General’s list of countries in conflict using child soldiers since 2007.
The UN Action Plan responds to the UN Security Council’s call, in resolution 1612 (2005), for concrete and time-bound action to halt the recruitment and use of children by parties.
“The children of Somalia have witnessed so many horrors in this decades-old conflict and have grown up in war. The Government firmly believes that today’s children and future generations must spend their childhood in schools not in barracks,” said Isse.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 3July2012